BY DAPO AKINREFON
THE Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, has said that it was not a terrorist organistion urging that the group should not be equated with the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
In a statement by OPC’s National Coordinator, Otunba Gani Adams argued that the OPC remains a visible organisation just as faulted those trying to equate the group with Boko Haram.
Otunba Adams said “it has come to the notice of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) that some prominent people from the Northern part of the country who are not happy with the determination of the Federal Government to put a stop to the wanton killings in the north have decided to cast aspersion on the OPC by equating it with the Boko Haram sect. We have decided to remain neutral and maintain our peace since the orgy of killings started. But we have taken note of statements credited to some prominent Northern leaders, especially since the crack down on the Boko Haram sect.”
He added that “the OPC is a visible organisation, with known addresses all over the country. Its leaders are also known and accessible to all Nigerians, including security agencies. We draw our strength from our membership of more than seven million. It is also on record that we don’t engage in clandestine activities, since our activities are known to all and recorded for history by the vibrant and courageous Nigerian media, and therefore in no way a security threat to the country.”
Setting the records straight, he said the group has consistently frowned at the killings and wanton destruction of properties.
According to him “it has become necessary for us to come out and speak on this very serious and controversial issue, since our silence may be interpreted to mean admission of guilt. To most discerning Nigerians, nothing can be further from the truth than this statement credited to the former police boss. The activities of the OPC in the last ten years in the south-west of the country speak volume of the peaceful nature of our group.”
On the activities of the group, Adams said the OPC is in the fore-front of the “promotion and propagation of the cultural values, ideals and rich history of the Yoruba race, even beyond the shores of Nigeria. At this juncture, let me list some of the prominent Yoruba festivals that our organization has put on the global cultural map with our involvement. They include the popular Osun Oshogbo festival in Osun State, Oke Ibadan festival in Oyo State, Okota festival in Ondo State, Olumo and Lisabi festivals in Ogun State, Oranmiyan festival in Oyo State and Oya festival in Kwara State, among several others.”
“Lets us remind Nigerians that the OPC remains committed to the promotion of the rich cultural values of the Yoruba people, with a view to a peaceful co-existence with other ethnic groups in the country. Therefore, let nobody make attempt to drag us into an unnecessary conflict in order to make a scapegoat of the OPC. As leaders, those seeking to drag the OPC into their conflict should direct their energies at efforts that will bring to an end the killings, hostage taking and kidnappings in the north and other parts of the country”, he stated.