Ojudu, Sunday Igboho and the Sangba allegory

THE last one week has been very interesting, especially in the South West, where the story of the self-styled ‘Yoruba rights activist,’ Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, broke. A lot of people struggled to either cannonise Sunday Igboho or cast him in the mould of yet another political and sociological misfortune which bad leadership has thrown upon us. The most amusing of such attempts, to the best of my judgment, remains that of the once cerebral journalist, former senator and currently, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu. I have lost count of how many times I read Ojudu’s ‘The Sunday Igboho I Knew,’ where, like every political vulture wanting to take a chunk of the Igboho carcass, the Ado Ekiti-born politician, tried to do another character identikit for the Oke Ogun- born Igboho. I have equally read over and over again, many of the comments on Ojudu’s description of Sunday Igboho and his antecedents.

Dotting the various social media platforms too, are videos of Igboho denying Ojudu’s characterisation of his being and my goodness, that boy can curse! Each time I read Ojudu’s piece, the parable of Sangba Onifa Akikitan keeps coming to me, graphically.

The full name of the character, Sangba, in the Yoruba folklore is ‘Sangba Onifa Akikitan to ki ara re mo ohun elo ebo.’ The name is descriptive. I attempt a basic translation here: ‘Sangba, the one with interminable Ifa panegyrics who inadvertently recommends himself as an ingredient for sacrifice.’ The allegory of Sangba is a lesson in flippancy and garrulousness.

As a child, Sangba enrolled in his father’s Ifa divination class. But he had a problem; he was too garrulous, a chatter box of a child. He had no control of what to say and what not to say. A good Babalawo (diviner) knows that whenever a dangerous Odu (Ifa Corpus) comes up in divination, he must look for an alternative Odu that is less dangerous. Each Odu can be interpreted in sixteen different ways; so finding a less dangerous one should not be a problem. Without learning the complete rudiments of the trade, Sangba decided to go into the divination profession unsupervised; this was against the good counsel of his father. So one day, he packed his Opele (divination instrument) and left. The first town he entered happened to be in turmoil. A great pestilence had hit the town and nobody could find the solution. Sangba arrived and gleefully announced himself as a diviner, dropping the name of his father, whose fame preceded him. The people asked him to help them conduct divination for a solution. True to type, Sangba got the exact Odu that spoke to the peculiar situation of the people in no time and got working. His loquacious nature took over and he kept prattling. He listed all the ingredients that would be needed for the sacrifice to appease the gods. He ended by telling the people that they would need a stranger who newly entered the town as the final ingredient for the sacrifice. Confusion set in. The people could afford all the other items listed except a stranger who newly entered the town. Then, one wise chief signified to the king that he had the solution. “Ifa says we need a stranger who just entered the town?” He asked Sangba, who responded in the affirmative. The old chief asked again: “Who is the latest stranger in our midst? The whole town chorused: “Sangba”. Within a twinkle of an eye, the palace guards grabbed Sangba, bound him hands and legs and took him to the backyard, while they went about looking for the other ingredients.

Fortunately for him, his father couldn’t sleep well that night. He woke up troubled. He then decided to ask Ifa what the problem was. Diviners in those days consulted Ifa every fifth day. But Sangba’s father decided to break the protocol and consulted Ifa immediately, not waiting for the five-day circle. It was then Ifa revealed the danger his son was in. Trust the legend, he acted like the true diviner that he was and within a short time, he was in the town where Sangba was being held captive preparatory to being sacrificed. The people grabbed him as the newest stranger in town and threw him to the same backyard. He cast a spell on the people and in the ensuing confusion escaped with Sangba. Ever since, diviners consulted Ifa everyday and hence the saying: “Bi eni ti ri, ola ki ri be lo mu babalawo d’ifa ojojumo”- what is obtainable today may not suffice tomorrow, the reason diviners consult Ifa every day.

Now, let us return to Ojudu’s thesis on Sunday Igboho. That piece, no doubt, is the saddest commentary on the political shenanigans of the Jagaban political enclave. It is rather most unfortunate that like the tortoise, on whose head every bad tale ends, Tinubu’s name must come up in everything that is far below fair play. And whoever cast a spell on Ojudu that made him make those confessions must have done a wonderful job.  Is there something really wrong with our politics such that every reasonable individual turns to something else the moment he/she joins politics or becomes government functionary?  Whose interest did Ojudu think such a piece would serve? What was Ojudu thinking when he penned: “Tinubu summoned me to Lagos and said Femi, I have conducted a scientific (?) opinion poll . You people can win this election. The only snag however is they are deploying state security as well as thugs against you. State security men we can handle..”. Now take this again: “Security men and INEC officials had to appeal to me, sometimes through Tinubu, to release some rooms to them to stay”. When the umpire and the security agents were at the mercy of Ojudu, how impartial were they thereafter? A case of you scratch my back, and I scratch yours too? Like Sangba Onifa Akikitan, Ojodu has told the entire world that he was part of the 2009 shenanigans in the Ekiti governorship re-run. If Nigeria were a sane environment, he should have been kicked out of Aso Rock and back to his Ado Ekiti base, where his relations returned his Christmas rice weeks after he gave it out. In a country where things work well, Ojudu should, by now, be keeping dates with the security agents. How does a man allow the gall of hatred to becloud his sense of reasoning and openly confess to felony? Let us agree that Sunday Igboho came to Ado as narrated by Ojudu. With the ruling party then, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in control of the police, and the allusion to the menace called “federal might”, who was the ‘Assistant Inspector General of Police’ that would scare off a thug quartered in the Government House”? If Ojudu, who in 2009, was a political neophyte could control all the thugs from Ibadan to Ado Ekiti, can we just imagine what he must have wrecked now that he sits in the corridors of power?

Ojudu also said: “We reached out to both Ade Basket in Akure and Fada Geri in Ondo. Both were dreaded in political circles,” it is quite unfortunate and embarrassing that in an attempt to be politically relevant, he will descend from the grandiose to the buffoonery, to the extent that he forgot that Baba Lamidi Adedibu died months before the Ekiti 2009 re-run election. Little wonder that Sunday Igboho did not only deny him and his tale by the moonlight, but asked him to swear by the lives of his children if he, Igboho, ever met with him, Ojudu. When you are sure of your Ogun, you swear by hitting it on your head. That is the challenge Sunday Igboho has thrown and the silence from Ado Ekiti has been too loud.


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