Prior to the June 12, 1993 election presumably won by Chief MKO Abiola, nobody knew who the National Co-ordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams was.
Infact, OPC was formed as a consequence of the perceived injustice meted to the Yorubas after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election by former Nigerian president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd.).
OPC was reportedly founded by the likes of Dr. Frederick Fasehun, who instantly became the National President of the fundamentalist group until relatively unknown Gani Adams capitalized on the detention of Fasheun in the early years of former president Olusegun Obasanjo to take over the activities of the self-determination group.
Since then, Gani Adams, who was trained as a carpenter in Mushin neighborhood in Lagos, assumed the leadership of OPC, and after some kind of reconciliation, he was named the National Co-Ordinator of the group, while Fasheun became the National President. That was how the then young Gani became a star and was celebrated as the leader of a Yoruba fundamentalist group as OPC was divided into two factions with one under Dr. Fasheun and the other under Otunba Gani Adams.
This continued until news filtered to town that Gani Adams has started going beyond his bounds and that he has received contracts worth millions of naira from President Goodluck Jonathan to provide foot soldiers amongst his boys to serve as guards for NNPC pipelines in the South West.
The news got to many people as a rude shock as they wondered if that was what OPC was created for.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back occurred on Monday 16th March, 2015, when Otunba Gani Adams, under the auspices of Coalition of Concerned Nigeria, led hundreds of OPC boys to protest against the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega against the expectations of many Nigerians.
According to a statement by the group, Jega must go on terminal leave and be replaced with a credible administrator before the elections.
The group alleged under its ‘7 Reasons why Professor Jega must be removed’ that over 5 million people were yet to obtain their PVC in the South West, over 2.5 million in South-South, and 2 million in South East, and added that Jega claimed to have recorded 90% distribution in the North despite the high level of insecurity present in North East.
“There were illegal registration of under-age in the North, registration of foreign nationals from Chad, Niger Republic and Cameroun. Over 1 million of PVC have been recovered from them by security agents yet Jega could not give explanation,” it said.
The group stated further that Jega is biased by creating 30,000 polling units now termed voting centres in the North against the South West.
The INEC Chairman was also accused of awarding the contract of sensitive INEC materials such as PVC and ballot papers to foreign companies traced to APC leaders.
“Jega should be removed for plotting to create chaos and national unrest in Nigeria by insisting to hold elections on February 14, when he is aware that 34% of Nigerians mostly from the South West, are yet to obtain their PVC, thanks to the 17 political parties that insisted on the election postponement saving the country from anarchy,” it said in the statement.
Sources close to Dr. Frederick Fasheun and Otunba Gani Adams alleged that they benefitted from the N9 Billion largesse released by President Goodluck Jonathan to some groups including Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Niger Delta boys under the leadership of Asari Dokubo and Tompolo Government, who are said to be working closely with the president on so many projects.
In his defence, Gani Adams said that the rally was not partisan, but a call for Professor Jega to be removed from office.
It was alleged that OPC boys that were armed with guns, matchets, cutlasses and charms during the March 16 protest attacked innocent members of the public, destroyed many cars and harassed passers-by.
As though in accordance with the warnings of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the previous Sunday, the APC claimed it had uncovered a plot by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to use ethnic militias to protest for the removal of Mr. Jega.
But Mr. Adams accused the APC and Lai Mohammed, its National Publicity Secretary, of peddling falsehood, adding that Monday’s protest was peaceful.
“Nobody was attacked. Lai Muhammed should stop peddling lies against our members,” Adams said.
“Nobody touched their bill boards. It’s the most peaceful rally I have seen. Even they, APC, cannot hold a peaceful and successful rally? As a matter of fact, over 30 Nollywood stars took part in the rally including myself,” he added.
A faction of the OPC responded swiftly and angrily the same day, accusing Gani Adams of betraying the group and the Yoruba people.
“We, the members of the National Co-ordinating Council of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, the highest ruling body of the organization, wish to disassociate ourselves from the shameful, destructive, violent and reactionary activities of the Gani Adam-led team which occurred in Lagos today,” the group said in a statement.
“What was witnessed today in Lagos was the highest level of political violence sponsored and funded by certain elements in the Jonathan government. “Gani Adams is on his own and he does not enjoy the support of a large size of our membership spread across the country. He is working for the sponsors of violence against our people who want the March 28 elections not to hold. Unleashing terror on innocent citizens and killing them is not the way of democracy. It is not our idea of a people-oriented advocacy.”
In another development, members of the Dr. Fredrick Fasehun faction of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) have appointed Comrades Dare Adesope and Odunayo Ogunmoye as President and Vice President of the association respectively. The action, it was learnt, was taken to reject the earlier executives announced by Dr Fasehun last October.
The aggrieved members who carried various placards with inscriptions like “Dr Fasehun is no more our leader, O.P.C is tired of bad leadership”, “Dr Fasehun is misleading the Yoruba race, O.P.C must move forward, enough of this stagnancy”, “Give us comrade Dare Adesope as our president, a lot of souls are being wasted without compensation”, “Enough of this slavery, Dr Fasehun has no right to expel any member of O.P.C”, among others, accused the founder of the group of hand-picking executive members, financial misappropriation, lack of rule of law, failure to keep to promises among others.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was said to have happened two weeks ago, when one of Fasehun’s executive member, allegedly ordered the shooting of some members which led to the wounding of one Biodun Oyepeju.
Fasehun was accused of financial misappropriation, stating that the national secretariat’s land was bought by a former governor of Lagos State and ever since, the land has remained under development and uncompleted. ‘’ For an association of over 20 years, nobody knows where the financial account of O.P.C is”, he said.
It was gathered from sources close to the inner circles of the OPC that Dr. Frederick Fasheun and Otunba Gani Adams might be shown the way out of the group very soon ‘as they have accused them of compromising and using the association to for selfish aggrandizement, and that it is a matter of time before credible people are chosen to replace them in the association.’
Those who know Gani Adams very well accused him of not showing gratitude to God, who took him from grass to grace.
They recalled how he started off as an illiterate, poor, struggling carpenter in Mushin, Lagos who did not even have a roof over his head.
According to them, “In those days, nobody reckoned with Gani even amongst his family members. He was a nonentity, he didn’t go to school and he was practically suffering before he joined the OPC as a member in Mushin in those days.”
A source said that Gani, who cruises town in a Sequoia Jeep and Hummer Jeep given to him during his 40th birthday bash in Blue Roof, LTV, Lagos by OPC in 2010, was reportedly taken to President Jonathan around 2013 by someone, who was once given a whooping N700 Million to start a printing press by President Goodluck Jonathan, and who has benefitted from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the past.
But, that is now history as “Otunba Gani Adams seems to be enjoying the moment and interfering in what does not concern him and romancing someone, who allegedly sideline Yoruba people in the scheme of things in his government,” said an OPC source, who pleaded anonymity.
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