Politics

#EndSARS: Crisis merchants stoke divisive tendencies

Seeking to take advantage of the #EndSARS crisis and perhaps make the headlines, UK-based secessionist activist, Adeyinka Grandson, bite more than he can chew as Yoruba and Igbo at home and Diaspora denounced his divisive call for the ejection of South-East nationals from Yorubaland. WALE ELEGBEDE reports

From the blues, a certain Adeyinka Grandson, got a rave review last weekend with a viral video he made social media but eventually found its way to the mainstream media, causing anxious moments among all and sundry. Grandson, who is a grandson of a former first class traditional ruler in Lagos, is based in the United Kingdom, and is the leader of an unknown separatist group, Young Yoruba for Freedom (YYF).

In a viral video he made from his UK abode on Friday, October 23, he warned Igbos residing in major Yoruba land especially in Lagos to move out in 48 hours or face consequences that will fallout.

He said “All the Igbos in Yoruba land, we are giving you Friday 23, October 2020 to Sunday, October 25, 2020, to leave Yoruba land. From Monday the 26th of October 2020, we will close the roads, stop all vehicles across Yoruba land, and every Igbo national will be dealt with accordingly. “What happened in Ore, Ondo State, in August 1967 is just a highlight of what we are going to do on Monday 26 October 2020.

“We are kind enough to give you 48 hours to pack your load and move to your own region peacefully. We will stop all cars, taxis and passenger vehicles and we are going to enter work places, business premises, security sites, and search everyone. Any Igbo who is found will be dealt with mercilessly.” He said that the group had requested the Southwest Governors to stop the influx of Igbo in Yoruba land but since they refused, the group will deal with it in their own way.

Grandson and his decoy group, the YYF, have had a thread of fanning embers of violence and tribal hatred in Nigeria and have in a series of viral videos made a controversial call for organized violence in pursuit of ‘Oduduwa Republic’. He was arrested on August 6, 2017, by the Scotland Yard Counter Terrorism Command, London over his known social media attacks on Igbos and Fulani. He was arrested on charges of “stirring racial discrimination and “encouraging terrorism,” and was grilled for 9 hours. His house was searched following a warrant granted by the Westminster Court. In one of his viral videos in April 2020, he threatened dissolution of Nigeria with chemical weapons to free Yorubas.

During the 2019 general election, he praised the violence against Igbos in Lagos and the burning of ballot papers in areas of Igbo and PDP strongholds. He also called for the killing of Igbos residing in Yoruba land for not voting candidates that top South-West politicians wanted in 2019.

He has positioned himself over the past eight years as an Oduduwa freedom activist but some analysts said it was a camouflage for his underlying hate propagation agenda against other indigenous tribes like the Fulani, Hausa and particularly the Igbo tribe.

On Tuesday, October 20, soldiers opened fire at #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos and several lootings and destruction of public and private properties had ensued in parts of the country. But cutting Grandson and his tendencies to size, pan Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, called for calm and mutual co-existence, in a joint statement with its Igbo counterpart, Ohanaeze, said it has noted the divisive attempt to use the violence to put a wedge between Yoruba and Igbo and destroy the new understanding built over the past few years.

“We reject this devilish attempt and ask the police to investigate and arraign suspected perpetrators of the violence. The essence of law and order is for individual citizens to answer for their actions. We appeal to our peoples to continue to live together in peace and harmony and not allow divisive elements to put a wedge between them.

Solidarity forever”, Chief Reuben Fasoranti and Chief John Nwodo said. Backing Afenifere, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, called on Igbo indigenes to ignore threats asking them to leave Yorubaland. The professor of literature said Igbo indigenes should avoid being threatened by some persons who seek to create disharmony in the country.

He said: “Undoubtedly in order to promote the video clip of an ethnic revanchist calling on Igbo to leave Yoruba land, this same lunatic fringe has exhumed, and embarked on circulating an ancient fabrication – several years mouldering in the grave – once attributed to me and vigorously denounced,” the statement read.

“That statement impudently expounds, as my utterance, what the Hausa want, what the Yoruba want, and what the Igbo want. Such an attribution – let me once again reiterate – is the work of sick, cowardly minds that are ashamed, or lack the courage, as the saying goes, “to answer their fathers’ names. At least the current ethnic rabble-rouser has the courage of his convictions, not so the sick brigade of identity thieves.”

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, however,urged Lagosians to disregard online videos sponsored by anarchists, whose plan is to create hatred and divisiveness for which Lagos is not known. A statement by Gbenga Omotosho, the state’s Commissioner for Information read in part: “The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to videos in social media and the online space, creating tension and encouraging ethnic conflicts.

“Inciting videos of this nature are not what our land needs now, following the loss of lives and destruction that fake news, misinformation and unfounded rumours have triggered in our dear state in the last couple of days.

“The government appeals to Lagosians to disregard the calls of eth-nic and religious jingoists as well as agents of destruction who are on a mission to destroy our State by pitching us against one another for yet to be ascertained reasons.”

Urging Igbo nationals to stay calm and not respond to provocations from any quarter, the Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, saying that this is a moment of retrospection for all and sundry in the country. He said: “All youths from every part of the country should keep calm at this moment because this should be a moment of retrospection. It should not be a moment of issuing threats. The future of the youths is at stake and we urge them not to be provoked.

“We can only appeal to all youths in Nigeria to sheathe their swords and ensure peaceful co-existence that we had in over 100 years. We have lost lives and the economy has drained over the last two weeks. Whoever is angry should please keep their calm and ensure that we all cooperate with government and leadership at all levels to address the challenges confronting our country.” On his part, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, dismissed ethnic or tribal colourations to the wanton destructions of public properties in some parts of Lagos, urging the purveyors of such misinformation to desist from spreading lies against the Igbos.

“It is sad that some individuals are now giving tribal and ethic colourations to the incident of destruction and looting across the state. Those, who hijacked the peaceful protest did that for their selfish interests and I think the state government must also investigate the whole events that played out during the last three weeks.

“Those hoodlums that engaged in the looting and destruction of public properties did that for their selfish end, stressing that some of the Igbos in Lagos also lost their businesses and properties to the ugly incident.” Meanwhile, a former National Secretary- General of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Mr Kayode Ogundamisi,has urged the UK Metro Police and Twitter to take up the group’s leader, Grandson, over his public post, stating that the Yoruba secessionist activist might have violated sections of the Crime and Disorder Acts.

In a tweet on his handle, @ ogundamisi, UK-based civil rights wrote, “@metpoliceuk My Adeyinka Grandson is a UK resident. He was a subject of police investigation for using his social media platforms to propagate hate crime. Mr. Grandson is at it again.

His post should sure be a violation of sections 28-32 of the Crime and Disorder Acts.” Grandson, who resides in UK, was arrested in August 2019 by Scotland Yard Counter Terrorism Command for allegedly “stirring racial discrimination” against the Igbo and Fulani ethnic groups and also “encouraging terrorism”, but was subsequently released. In the meantime, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, has described the call as a plot by desperados to create confusion and favourable grounds for the purported planned declaration of State of Emergency in Lagos.

This is as the apex body of Yoruba youths, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide (YCYW), condemned in its entirety the dreadful video, saying that it is confident that Afenifere and Yoruba Council of Elders will refute the video and douse the tensions and panic associated with the planned attack on Igbos. “We are using this medium call for the immediate arrest of Adeyinka Grandson by the Inspector General of Police through Interpol and United Kingdom (UK) law enforcement agencies.

“Based on this premise, we implore all Nigerians in entire Yoruba land to go about their lawful duties and living without any fear of molestation and attacks, while we call on Nigerians to be in love, peace and harmony,” the statement said. Similarly, the South-East Supports Frontier has said that Igbos are not going to be intimidated to hurriedly leave Lagos under 48 hours as “threatened by that “grandson” of a Yoruba.”

In a statement by its leader, Greg Nwadike, the group said Igbos have long enjoyed cordial relationships with the Yoruba real and direct sons, adding that a certain Grandson has no power or full authorities where real or direct sons exist.

He said: “While we shall continue to keep this threat from this lazy and over-milked and excessive toothed coward vibrating on the internet as one of those various scratches upon the rock, we shall not going to fail to do all legitimate needfuls to protect ourselves and our people from hungry Crocs and grandsons like Adeyinka Grandson.

“I hereby call on all Igbos residing in all parts of Lagos State to form caucuses of shield wherever you are. Get yourselves legitimately armed to protect every external attacks from anyone attacking you. Every form of defence you can raise is permissible before any form of danger.

“Do not panic into leaving Lagos when you can’t, even though it’s my humble wish that all Igbos leave their Lagos and invest in our region. But you see this threat from that boy (Adeyinka) in the UK, please stay put and resolute. Let him come with his gangs of ndi ihu abuo.”

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