The pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has described the statements credited to controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, and Prof. Yusuf Usman, as parts of the absurdities being taken too far in Nigeria.
A statement by Afenifere’s spokesman, Comrade Jare Ajayi, on Sunday, said although Gumi and Usman have the right to visit anywhere in the country and are entitled to freely express themselves,but “the circumstance of their visit to Igboho and what they said while in the town are not only provocative and inciting but also a way of mocking the people of the area and the person of Sunday Adeyemo.”
It would be recalled that in a widely circulated video, Gumi and Usman were seen standing by the signpost of a school in Modeke area of Igboho, headquarters of Oorelope Local Government Area of Oyo State.
While in Igboho, Gumi showed some cows grazing near a school compound in the area and said that it showed that anybody should be free to graze anywhere without being molested.
Afenifere said that it took serious exception to Gumi or anyone else from outside Yoruba land to come and declare the area as belonging to any particular religion.
“As is well-known, Yorubas are quite liberal and tolerant of one another when it comes to religious faith, cultural practices and related social activities. For Gumi to declare any of the towns in Yoruba land as belonging to a religious faith is a way of inciting adherents of other faiths. This is unacceptable. He should not bring that divisive tendency or proclamation to Yorubaland,” it said.
The group also stated that the allusion made to the cattle grazing in a school compound by Gumi without being disturbed also veiled the truth.
“In many parts of Yoruba land today, people are reluctant to confront herders grazing on their property, not because they are comfortable with it but because they are afraid of being attacked by the armed herders. And they know that if attacked and they complain to the authorities, they are not likely to get justice. This, among other reasons, was even what gave birth to agitations for a Yoruba nation out of the present Nigeria nation,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the description of Adeyemo as ‘the detaining in Benin who made Igboho popular’ by Gumi and Usman in Igboho was a mockery of the self-determination agitator, describing it as “too daring, provocative and uncouth.”
Meanwhile, Afenifere has described the announcement by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, that a naval base would be established in Kano State as a slap on the Southern part of the country.
Gambo had made the announcement when he visited the Kano State Governor,Umar Ganduje. He also announced the appointment of Captain Muhammad Abubakar Alhassan as the acting commander of the new naval base, with the governor donating 1000 hectares of land for the purpose.
But Afenifere maintained that naval bases are normally sited on the seaside for effective service delivery.
“So, of all the cities in the Southern part of Nigeria, nowhere was found suitable to locate additional naval base except where ships cannot berth?
“It is only in Nigeria that such an absurdity can happen! But it is an absurdity carried too far especially when considered against the background of highly disproportional military bases that are already in the northern part of the country,” the group said.