The Are Onakankafo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, has said that the Odua Peoples Congress may switch from being a socio-cultural entity to become a full-fledged political organisation.
Adams, who is the Coordinator of the OPC worldwide, said this during an event held in Lagos on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Yoruba organisation.
He said, [i]"Without mincing words, let me say that the next few months will determine whether the OPC will remain political, neutral or partisan.[/i]
[i]"From seeking the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, we went on to demand total restructuring of the country. That has not been achieved till date.[/i]
[i]"Unfortunately, we have not seen any tangible evidence or sign that we are moving in the right direction."[/i]
Adams added that the only thing that could stop the OPC from going partisan is for the present Federal Government to heed the call for the restructuring of the country, failing which the organisation would proceed with its plan to evolve into a political organisation.
He said, [i]"We have tried our best in the last 25 years. There is no group in the world that started as a civil society, even as a revolutionary group, that will not metamorphose into a partisan organisation.[/i]
[i]"In all honesty, our members are becoming tired of agitation. We have made enough sacrifice for the liberation of this country. If you are not among the people who play the politics , there is no way you can change the society for good.[/i]
[i]"What started 25 years ago as a movement for the validation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was won by late Chief Moshood Abiola, had blossomed into the proverbial iroko tree that can no longer be uprooted.[/i]
[i]"I recall with nostalgia, how the late Dr Frederick Faseun, Evangelist Kunle Adesokan, Mrs Idowu Adebowale, Ibrahim Atanda, and myself, among others, sat in Opeyemi Bamidele's chambers to deliberate on the way forward, following the annulment of the freest and fairest election in Nigerian history by the then military junta.[/i]
[i]"This came after several failed efforts to revalidate the election. Did we fail or succeed in that assignment? I will leave that question for Nigerians and the rest of the world to answer."[/i]
Adams also acknowledged the efforts of the founding fathers of the OPC, as well as the roles played by traditional rulers, civil society groups and other Nigerians in the struggle for democracy in the country.
Meanwhile, a faction of the OPC, New Era, has berated Adams for organising the 25th year anniversary of the OPC.
The group in a statement by its President, Razak Arogundade and National Public Relations Officer, Adeshina Akinpelu, described the 25th celebration by Adams as ill-conceived and an attempt to further destabilise the Yoruba pressure group.
[i]"It came to us as a surprise that Gani Adams will once again come out to hoodwink Yoruba people into believing that he founded OPC by organising its anniversary.[/i]
[i]"Here is a man who never accorded the late founder of OPC, Chief Fredrick Fasehun any respect while alive. It is the sweat of late founder that he is trying to reap from today,"[/i] the statement read