Nseobong Okon-Ekong holds a discussion with Prince Osibote, President of the Pan-Yoruba pressure group, Oodua Peoples Congress on the increasing possibility of a major violent conflict within the group that may lead to tragic loss of lives, like in the past
In how many states of the federation does the OPC currently have a presence?
The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) is very active in 11 states of the federation. These are Edo Ekiti, Ondo, Kano, Ogun and Plateau. The organization also operates in Kwara, Osun, Oyo and Lagos. We are active in the FCT, as well
Can the OPC conduct its activities outside the South-west of Nigeria?
Definitely. We have been carrying out our activities in two Northern states and the FCT.
We see, everywhere, signage of the OPC clearly stating ‘led by Gani Adams’, how effective is your disclaimer since some sort of legitimacy has been conferred on Adams following his liaison with and wide acceptance by leading and respected Yoruba Institutions and the establishment?
No legitimacy was conferred on him, Gani is an usurper and you know traitors and sell-outs always have their listeners and followers who sometimes are of like minds. Others have just come to accept him so or believe him so due to the constant and unrelenting propaganda he puts out claiming to be a leader of the OPC, when in actual fact he broke away from the OPC.
Also, please kindly note that Yoruba people are aware of the solid antecedence of the late founder of the OPC, Dr. Frederick Fasehun even before the creation of the OPC. Those who are peddling lies with Gani wittingly or unwittingly, are using him as a tool to achieve their own goals. Gani doesn’t have any control over OPC because he wasn’t anointed, but anyway we will sort that out very soon and people will see.
Are you saying Gani Adams has no claim to or stake in the OPC, why does he continue to use the name and paraphernalia so brazenly?
Gani Adams has no claim to the OPC founded by the late Dr. Fasehun, that l, Prince Osibote succeeded. The OPC remains one indivisible organization. Can a child who rebelled against his father lay claim to his inheritance? Otherwise, please tell me how. It’s not done in our culture.
What legal steps have you exploited to end the misuse of the OPC as exemplified by Adams?
All I can tell you for now is that various options are being exploited at the moment.
Is there a shift in the OPC, in terms of ideals and ideas? Where is it heading?
Yes. Fresh ideas are being injected into the organization. As a matter of fact, the group has just undergone a reform process to make it more effective, and this will be continuous. We do realize that the times are changing and we must become reflective of the present times whilst not losing our core values. We intend to be a more nimble, disciplined and a very focused group, with an eye on the future and the survival and thriving of our people and Nigeria.
Would you agree that the OPC failed Yorubas and other Nigerians in Yorubaland when it could not rise to defend the threat to their lives and scores were killed?
Have you suddenly forgotten our history? The creation of OPC was a reaction to the annulment of June 12 , 1993 general election won by Late MKO Abiola, a Yoruba man. The OPC has been defending the interests of the Yorubas and non Yorubas all together. In Okota where l live, the Igbos have the highest population. As a result of that, l am involved in every aspect of life there from settling disputes between Yorubas and Igbos; Igbos and Hausa etc. And again the OPC has been fighting and agitating for restructuring of Nigeria to the benefit of all, so OPC is useful to everybody.
This OPC (not that fake, gallivanting one) has been and is working quietly to secure the region in the face of the present onslaught and you might have noticed that there has been a slight mitigation, but there is so much more to do. We are ready to work with the authorities and are awaiting their reach out.
What is the nexus between OPC and other Yoruba pressure groups like Afenifere and YCE?
Afenifere is a social, political and cultural Pan-Yoruba organization whose aims and objectives are similar to that of the OPC in that they share a common understanding in the defence of the interests of the Yoruba race, and these two groups are at the fore front of calling for restructuring of the nation. There has always been a synergy between the OPC, Afenifere and other Yoruba pressure groups.
The OPC has been sailing for 25 years now, with some tragic instances in its history that looks set to repeat itself, how can this be avoided?
It is very simple, those people including their cohorts in Yorubaland who are claiming to be leaders of Yoruba people, distorting the history of the OPC, peddling lies about its founding and dragging the name of the organization in the mud in order to line their pocket should desist henceforth. The Yoruba leaders know themselves. We will not mention names now.
Is it unreasonable to think that ego of the leading personalities in the OPC is at the root of the conflicts within the group?
Yes it is very unreasonable, because the OPC founded by the late Dr Frederick Fasehun that is under my leadership is one and indivisible. There is no other OPC. Can those who are distorting history about the founding of the group just because of money and position be regarded as leaders? Like l said earlier, can a rebel son lay claim to his father’s inheritance?
No legitimacy was conferred on him, Gani is an usurper and you know traitors and sell-outs always have their listeners and followers who sometimes are of like minds. Others have just come to accept him so or believe him so due to the constant and unrelenting propaganda he puts out claiming to be a leader of the OPC, when in actual fact he broke away from the OPC