A fresh crisis has rocked the Yoruba Nation secessionist agitation group led by Prof Banji Akintoye as Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the Nigerian lawyers of self-determination campaigner, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, resigned on Sunday.
Olajengbesi had faulted the threat by Akintoye that no governorship election would hold in Ekiti and Osun States later this year.
The 86-year-old don, in his 2022 New Year message, had said, “Among most Yoruba self-determination advocates worldwide, the determination exists and is growing that there shall be no State Governorship and House of Assembly election in our homeland in 2022. The next election that we Yoruba people will engage in will be the first election in our own new country.”
Reacting, however, in an earlier statement, Olajengbesi said Akintoye wasn’t speaking for Igboho and the Yoruba people of South-West Nigeria, noting that voting remained a human right.
Akintoye’s Ilana Oodua group subsequently disowned Olajengbesi in a statement, saying he was not speaking for Igboho and accusing the lawyer of trying to please the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Olajengbesi later in a statement on Sunday made available to The PUNCH, announced his resignation from Igboho’s legal team.
The lawyer said, “This is to officially announce my resignation as counsel involved further in any matter relating to Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho and the Yoruba Nation Agitators.
“As a firm, we are satisfied with our little best in contributing to providing legal solutions and representations to Chief Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) and associated Yoruba Nation Agitators as far as ensuring the protection and enforcement of their rights in this matter.
“We were able to secure the release of 12 persons brutally and unlawfully arrested by the State Security Service, and also secured the release of an innocent herbalist equally unlawfully arrested and detained by the SSS.
“We have two persons with ongoing terrorism trials at the Federal High Court and our firm will dutifully continue and close the trial having commenced their matter.
“While thanking everyone, particularly Chief Yomi Aliyu SAN for the opportunity, and freehand service, Dr. Olasupo Ojo for his fair leadership and Chief Femi Falana for allowing his industry to be tapped and for the moral support, I most respectfully wish to now step aside.
“I have stated ab initio that the scope of my work will only be within the purview of my professional duty as a lawyer to Sunday Igboho and his aides. I am a strong believer in constitutional democracy, civil liberty and human rights which includes the right to self-determination but I am not a Yoruba nation agitator nor a member of any like organization.
“My reaction to Prof. Akintoye was not to undermine the Yoruba struggle but is based on my personal convictions which I am entitled to. I do hope my friends in the struggle will allow me enjoy the benefit of my right to such a choice as a person of thought and conscience.”
For about six months, 49-year-old Igboho has been in detention in neighbouring Benin Republic since his arrest around 8pm on July 19, 2021 at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou. He was earlier declared wanted by the secret police for stockpiling arms under the pretext of Yoruba Nation secessionist agitation, an allegation he had denied.
Also, Akintoye has since fled Nigeria after he suspected that the Buhari regime plotted his arrest, saying he was in Benin Republic to secure the release of Igboho, even as the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) continues to push for the extradition of the detained agitator.