THE National Leader of Afenifere Ayo Adebanjo has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not as popular as Sunday Adeyemo, South-West self-determination activist, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
He said the Federal Government was after the activist because of his large followership, which he said unsettled the Nigerian presidency.
The nonagenarian stated this on Wednesday when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show.’
“When they see the crowd that Igboho is pulling at every meeting, that is what is terrifying them. Can Buhari summon the crowd that Igboho is summoning each time he holds a meeting, even with the fact that he (Buhari) gives money to who will attend the meeting, that is a rented crowd?”
The leader of the South-West socio-cultural group said Igboho was clamouring for what the people wanted.
According to him, Igboho was not popular until he rose to the defence of his people after Fulanis allegedly attacked them.
“They kidnapped the Oba (monarch) there. They kidnapped the children, and they raped the women.
“And the man rose in retaliation because all those people who did these havocs, neither the Federal Government nor the state government came to their aid and arrest the culprits.
“That was the action that caused the reaction of Igboho. Nobody knew Igboho in this country. I didn’t know him until this incident came about,” he said.
Adebanjo said he remained committed to the unity of Nigeria, despite his opposition to Igboho’s arrest by the Federal Government and his attempted extradition from the Benin Republic.
He said Igboho did nothing wrong to warrant an attack on his house in Ibadan and his eventual arrest in the Benin Republic by the State Security Service (SSS).
He said Buhari had repeatedly proven he was ready to deploy state security apparatus against agitators for good governance and self-determination while pampering insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals in the country.
Speaking on the legality of the government’s action on Igboho, he said: “I have fought for the unity of this country in the last 70 years when Buhari was still in primary school. I have invested in one Nigeria.
“And my party has been leading the question of Nigeria that is united. Until Buhari came with this fraudulent constitution, and you want us to keep quiet. I will not keep quiet.
“Civilised people who know about extradition don’t extradite political refugees who know their lives are not safe in their country,” he said.
Adebanjo variously described Buhari as a dictator, whose actions, he said, worsened injustice, marginalisation and brought about calls for secession and other agitations in the country.
He argued that the invasion of Igboho’s house by the State Security Service (SSS) was an infringement on his rights, adding that the SSS was embarrassing the country before the rest of the world.
According to him, the SSS must explain the crime committed by Igboho that would warrant his arrest and extradition from Benin to Nigeria.
He maintained that the call for secession was not treason.
The Afenifere leader also said Igboho’s refusal to make himself available to the SSS was in order. “You’re looking for somebody’s life, and you’re asking him to come and surrender himself. Who will do that?”
Adebanjo said Igboho was a political refugee in Benin and that he didn’t commit any crime in Nigeria before he left the country.
“He didn’t commit any crime here. He didn’t waylay anybody. He didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t run away from anybody after committing a crime. He ran away for his life because of the power that wants to kill him because of his agitation.”
He said Buhari had muzzled everybody, including the press. “There is a limit to the question you can ask now without them probing you,” he told one of the programme anchors, Reuben Abati.
The SSS arrested Igboho on July 20 while reportedly attempting to travel to Germany.
His arrest and attempted extradition have resulted in various manoeuvrings by the Nigerian government and some heavyweights in the South-West.
Adebanjo had earlier described Igboho’s arrest as an attack on the South-West, which comprised mainly people of Yoruba extraction.
Igboho is one of the prominent leaders calling for the creation of a Yoruba nation out of Nigeria.
Yoruba is one of the three major tribes in Nigeria.
The leader of Ilana Omo Oodua Banji Akintoye, Igboho and 49 other Yoruba self-determination activists dragged Buhari and top members of his government to the International Criminal Court recently, alleging genocide to the people of the race.
The ICC acknowledged the receipt of the letter.
Some stakeholders in the region have also vowed to further push the Yoruba nation agenda through the 76th United Nations General Assembly coming up in September.
The ICIR had earlier reported that Igboho’s extradition would hold on Thursday.