For a man that has the courage of his convictions and that is prepared to stand for his people and, if need be, sacrifice all, including his liberty and life, I have nothing but admiration and respect.
Chief Sunday Adeyemo, who is better known as Sunday Igboho Oosa, is such a man.
Like Lord Babington Macauly’s ‘Horatious’ in his famous prose titled ‘Lays of Ancient Rome’ he has sought to defend the people of South Western Nigeria from the barbarians at our gate and he has openly resisted and rebelled against the seemingly unbeatable and irresistable forces of slavery, nepotism, subjugation, racism, tyranny and terror that have sought to overwhelm and consumme us.
When they killed our leaders and our people, raped our women, kidnapped our children, stole our land, plundered our treasure, robbed us of our resources and turned us into what can be best described as worthless servants and slaves he said “no more”.
He sought to shatter the chains that have held us captured and bound for the last 60 years. He sought to restore our pride, self-respect, dignity and honour and make us men again. He is indeed a warrior with a cause and a roaring lion in the front line of battle.
Whilst others have remained cowards out of fear for their lives and future, he has danced where angels fear to tread. He has risen like a mighty giant and a gargantuan colossus and opely and publicly dared the ancient and satanic forces of hegemony and bondage with their murderous power and homicidal disposition.
Our very own Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, proclaimed many years ago that “the man died in him who remained silent in the face of tyranny and injustice”.
In the case of Sunday the man refused to die but instead insisted on justice, liberty, fair play and freedom for his people.
Like the most celebrated prisoner of conscience and martyr in English history, Sir Thomas Moore, who stood up to the profane vanity and utter madness of King Henry V111, he is a “man of all seasons” and one whose profound sense of righteousness, justice, chivalry and courage dwarfs his compatriots and all those that lay claim to leadership in the nation of Nigeria.
It is therefore not surprising that since the day he was arrested and detained in Cotonou not a day has passed that many from the South West have not expressed concern about him.
The truth is that every Yorubaman and every lover of justice worth his salt is deeply pained, moved and wounded by these events. We do not view him as a criminal and neither is he a terrorist.
We view him as a freedom fighter who protected his people in their time of need, who delivered and liberated his community from the hands of wicked, evil and bloodthirsty men and who had the courage and strength to say “enough is enough” and demand that the killing and kidnapping of our people by the savages and barbarians had to stop.
By doing this he inspired the spirit of every Yoruba man, woman and child and none of us will offer any apology for that.
He also believes in the establishment of Oduduwa Republic which is a dream and a belief he is entitled to harbour even if all do not share.
He has not taken up arms against the state or killed anyone as far as we are aware and he has always chosen the path of peace and dialogue when he was asked to do so.
More important is the fact that he has become the symbol for the struggle for Yoruba liberation and the total emancipation of the people of the South West and the more he is persecuted the stronger he will get.
Even if, God forbid, Sunday is killed or jailed it will not stop the agitation for Oduduwa Republic. Rather it will make it even stronger, greater and louder and it will transform Sunday into one of the greatest martyrs or prisoners of conscience that our country has ever known.
Those who mock him and pour scorn on him today as a consequence of the ordeal that he is going through and the challenges that he is facing are shallow and shortsighted and shall eventually bow their heads in shame.
For the Bible says “if the Princes of this world had known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”.
If only Sunday’s traducers knew that they are enhancing his cause, lifting his profile, strengthening his hand and turning him from a local South West champion to major international figure and subject of discourse and discussion in the Government Houses, Parliaments, National Assemblies and capitals of the most powerful nations in the world, they would not have embarked on this futile, counterproductive and unprofitable path.
Quite apart from that every great leader faces persecution and incarceration at some point or the other in his life.
This is a divinely orchestrated path and process: it is a pre-requisite for greatness and it helps to refine and prepare the individual concerned for leadership.
The truth of the matter is that for those of us from the South West this whole affair is not about politics, political party affiliation, who you support, who you do not support, who you like or who you do not like: it is about humanity. It is about decency. It is about fairness. It is about justice. It is about survival.
It is about protecting ourselves and our loved ones from an existential threat. It is about being our brothers keeper. It is about preserving our culture, our values, our freedom, our way of life, our bloodlines and our race.
It is not about whether you are pro or against the Federal Government but about equity, compassion and fair-play.
It is therefore not surprising that every Elder Statesman, former Head of State and former President, former and serving Governor, former and serving Minister, former and serving Senator, former and serving Member of the House of Representatives, Traditional Ruler, Religious Leader, Traditional Title Holder and notable personality from the South West and the Yoruba-speaking parts of the Middle Belt are also praying for the release of Sunday and are expressing angst, outrage and deep concern behind closed doors about his situation.
On this issue the South West is totally and completely united and we stand as one. To the Yoruba people Sunday is now a legend and a folk hero. They sing songs about his courage and they tell tales about his heroism.
He is far more compelling than any politician or political leader from the South West in our entire history simply because he speaks from the heart, he reflects the purity of nobility, he has redefined the meaning of the word courage, he has displayed the chivalry of the Middle Age Knights of Europe and he has jumped into the ring against a formidable foe.
Again it is because he is dancing in the arena of fire, he has dared the devil, he has trusted God, he has saved the lives of the innocent, he has spoken for the weak, he has helped the poor, he has fought for the defenceless, he has rekindled hope in the hearts and minds of the people, he has birthed an irresistible vision, he has risked everything he has ever worked for and he has proved that he is prepared to sacrifice his life and liberty for his people.
This is the stuff of which great men and true heroes are made!
He shall live long and prosper. He shall rise up to where he belongs. He shall be great. He shall be vindicated and he shall excel beyond measure.
I am with you in spirit aburo mi and so are millions of others. The chains they have put on you and the cell they have put you in cannot hold you forever and your enemies cannot kill you becaus the Lord is with you.
You restored the dignity and honor of the Anago nation. You gave hope to the other oppressed ethnic nationalities in our country. You rekindled the spirit and soul of our people and restored our confidence and faith in ourselves.
You reminded us that we were once a great people with a noble heritage who bowed to no-one and that we were never destined to be serfs and slaves.
Like William Wallace, the father of Scottish liberation who stood boldly against the tyranny and wickedness of English rule, you have now joined the pantheon of reverred leaders, great deliverers, gallant warriors and nobel liberators.
Like George Washington, the father of American independence, who defied the might of King George 111 and the mighty British Empire, you stand tall above all others.
Because you spoke and fought for the weak, the voiceless, the oppressed, the poor, the rejected, the vulnerable and the defenceless, our Lord and SaviourJesus shall speak and fight for you.
Because you called His name and invoked His spirit, He will never leave you or forsake you and the 80 million sons and daughters of Oduduwa that reside on earth today together with hundreds of millions of our reverred ancestors and kinsmen that have passed on to glory and gone before us are watching you from heaven with pride, honor and joy proudly proclaiming:
“Behold our son and our hero! Behold our very own Horatius who bravely stands against the barbarians at the gate!”
The price you are paying and the sacrifice you are making, you make for future generations of our people. They shall forever be grateful and we shall forever be indebted to you.
I speak to your spirit: stand strong brother. Never bow to them or flinch and always remember who and what you are: a warrior and a lion that fears nothing and no-one but Almighy God Himself!