The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams has said that the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) will become partisan if restructuring is not implemented in the next few months.
He gave the hint Thursday at the 25th Anniversary of the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) held in Lagos.
Adams explained that this action will be taken due to the ‘disastrous nature’ of the country’s present structure.
“If in the next few months there is no tangible evidence that the country will be restructured, then OPC will become partisan.”
“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,” he said.
According to him, “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.”
He said that 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.
Meanwhile, Adams noted that the partisanship details would not be divulged, assuring that the commendable lettered six million members of the Congress could occupy the position of influence at the legislative level of both states and federal.
According to him, “We are still keeping the partisanship details 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.”
“OPC has grown from the previous outlook of largely illiterate members who are regarded as back benchers. About 30 percent of members of the National Coordinating Council (NCC) are graduates. Over 96 percent of OPU members are graduates. So, the future looks great. And we will explore it to the fullest,” Adams said.
Delivering his lecture titled, ‘ 25 years after: transformation of OPC’, Tunde Babawale, a lecturer at the University of Lagos, expressed sadness over the persistence of ethnic marginalisation after 25 years of the formation of the group, advocating the encouragement of the group along the lines of cultural nationalism and diplomacy.
“Quite unfortunately, 25 years after, the fears of ethnic marginalisation still persist in Nigeria. Organisations like OPC can only be encouraged to continue along the path of cultural nationalism and diplomacy when the country is able to genuinely institute democratic governance, promote social justice and economic equity, entrench innovative and productive politics, respect individuals and group rights and restructure Nigeria to make it a federation in word and indeed,” he said.
Babawale, however, emphasized the hypocrisy and pointlessness of unexpected resistance from organisations like OPC when violence is visited on the people.
He noted that OPC emerged in response to the authoritarianism of military rule that culminated in the criminal annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, largely believed to have been won by the late Moshood Abiola.
The lecturer added that the threat of internal colonialism, domination and subjugation of the Yoruba nation within the context of Nigeria further gave impetus to the formation of the organisation.
In a goodwill message on behalf of the royal fathers at the celebration, the Olowa of Igbara-oke, Oba Francis Agbede advocated for the continuance of the struggle for the ratification of community policing by the National Assembly.
“Community policing will remain a word of mouth until the National Assembly blesses it. I believe with the struggle of those who have the struggle in mind, it will be achieved. People still need to stand up and fight for it to come to reality. Without community policing, the grassroots will be alienated,” Olowa said.