The Oodua People’s Congress may go into partisan politics if the conditions that warranted its setting up are not in place in the country in the next few months.
The National Coordinator of the OPC and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, dropped the hint at the 25th anniversary celebration of the organisation on Thursday in Lagos.
Adams, at the well attended ceremony, said since the establishment of the OPC on August 13, 1995 was for the revalidation of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and good governance in the country, the purpose cannot be taken as having been achieved.
He said the demand for the restructuring of the country still remains valid, without which no meaningful progress can be achieved.
He said: “Without mincing words, let me say categorically: the next few months will determine whether we will remain politically neutral or partisan. Do not forget that what gave birth to the OPC was the struggle for the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 presidential mandate of the late Bashorun Abiola. From there, we went on to demand for a total restructuring of the country.
“Till date, that has not been achieved. And, unfortunately, we have not seen any tangible evidence or sign that we are moving in that direction, with all of us knowing that the way the country is presently structured can only bring nothing but disaster. The most recent minimum irreducible for those who have followed this agitation on restructuring is for the government to implement the recommendations of the National Conference convoked by the Administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“It is in this light that I say that if in the next few months there is no tangible evidence that the country will be restructured, then OPC will become partisan. The details we are still keeping to our chest. But with a membership of over six million, even if it is members of the legislature at the States and Federal levels that we are able to produce, we will be in a position to influence what happens in the government at all levels. Time for ‘siddon look’ is over.”
Adams said the OPC has come a long way in its 25 years of existence, transforming from a group largely formed for the June 12, 2993 struggle, to one now deeply entrenched in the Yoruba cause, ranging from the security of the people to the protection of its culture and peaceful co-existence among people of the race both within and outside Nigeria.
He said to achieve this agenda, OPC now has several offshoots, including the Olokun Festival Foundation, Gani Adams Foundation and Oodua Progressive Union, which now has presence in 87 countries.
He said: “The progress we have recorded has shown in the number of recognitions we have received, the highest being my emergence as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland.
“In the letter of award by Iku Baba Yeye, Alaafin of Oyo, it was stated that my involvement in the OPC Olokun Festival Foundation and OPU, which was then in 77 countries, earned me the highest honour and title in Yorubaland, the Aare Ona Kakanfo.”
Speaking on how OPC began, Iba Adams said: “I tremble in awe of God when I look back at what started 25 years ago as a movement for the validation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by our own irrepressible Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, but which today has blossomed into the proverbial Iroko tree that, still by the grace of Olodumare, can no longer be uprooted. From a gathering of just 10 men on August 13, 1995 at number 110, Palm Avenue Street, Mushin, here in Lagos State, the Oodua Peoples Congress has grown into an organisation of over six million members spread not just across the South West States but to all parts of Nigeria.
“I recall with nostalgia how my humble self and late Dr. Frederick Fasehun, Evangelist Kunle Adesokan, Silas Alani, Tony Ngrube (late), Alhaji Ibrahim Abobanawo (late), Mrs. Idowu Adebowale, Ibrahim Atanda (late) and Olumide Adeniji (late) sat in the law chamber of Opeyemi Bamidele, who was to later become a Commissioner in Lagos State and now senator, to deliberate on the way forward following the annulment of the freest and fairest election in Nigeria by the Military Junta.
“This came after several efforts to revalidate the election had failed.”
Adams added that as the association is progressing, so also are the members.
He said OPC has gone from being an association of a few to a gathering of over six million.
He said it is now seen as a rallying point for the Yoruba race, with the OPU a force to be reckoned with, adding: “OPC has grown from the previous outlook of largely illiterate members who are regarded as back benchers. About 30 per cent of National Coordinating Council are graduates. Over 96 per cent of OPU members are graduates. So, the future looks great. And we will explore it. To the fullest.”
Among those who attended the event were the Inspector General of Police, represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 11, Leye Oyebade; the Deputy National Leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin; Founder of Women Arise, Joe Okei-Odumakin; members of the Aare-in-Council; traditional rulers; and activists.