By Ola Ajayi
The rivalry between factions of Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, has become almost a daily occurrence.
But each time the feuding factions clash, they leave in their trail blood stains, injuries and at times, death.
The battle for control of the group has been ongoing before the installation of Otunba Gani Adams as Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland.
Soon after his installation, rather than the crises abating, it is assuming a more frightening dimension.
In Oyo State, two factional leaders have emerged laying claim to the leadership of the group.
Mr Rotimi Olumo, who is believed to be sympathetic to Gani Adams, controls a faction of the group in the state while Mr Sina Akinpelu, a close associate of Adams has the ace of the other faction in his kitty.
He calls his group New Era OPC.
Supremacy battle claims one
In the latest crisis, which the police confirmed had claimed one life, it was reportedly triggered by the leader of one of the factions, Olumo.
The clash followed the claim by Olumo, who allegedly felt insulted when a member of a rival group refused to accord him due respect when they met at a function.
But, Olumo distanced his members from the latest bloody clash saying he was called upon by a local government chairman to quell the crisis.
Olumo said: “What Sina Akinpelu is saying is mere propaganda. OPC members are law-abiding people who would not be involved in anything that would soil their image. I don’t know any New Era OPC. Sina has been expelled from OPC. Go and find out if any of my members was arrested by the police. So, it was not between OPC but gang groups.”
In a statement he signed, Rotimi Olumo declared that the crisis was between two gangs of thugs from Foko and Oke-Ado areas of Ibadan.
He said: “I received a distress call from the local government chairman, asking OPC to come and assist the police to put the situation under control. I then called the chairman of our group in the local government, Comrade Akin Osa, to assist the police at the scene.”
He then wondered why members of the Gani Adams- led OPC in the state, who have remained law-abiding, would be associated with the violence.
He promised that OPC in Oyo State would continue to assist in sustaining the peaceful environment in the state, and would not fold its arms and allow some hoodlums to disturb the peace that has been reigning in the state for about seven years now.
This denial was, however, faulted by the other factional leader, Akinpelu who said the crisis did not involve the OPC.
When speaking with Vanguard in a telephone interview, Akinpelu said the fight had been a recurring issue.
He insisted that “it was Olumo who felt insulted when my boys did not greet him at a function. He ordered his boys to bring weapons to the scene.
“Up to now, we are still looking for a boy, Muri, since the fracas ended. The police arrested four of our boys who were in their houses. I have told the police that I didn’t like the way they handled the matter.
“It was not the police that initially arrested the boys. It was Olumo and his group members that went to the houses of those boys to arrest them and later handed them over to the police.
“You too can consider that. When two factions are fighting, a leader of a faction now arrests members of the other faction, leaving his own members. Some of my boys arrested by police are Hammed, Saheed, Adebayo and one other,” he said.
Sina took exception to the alleged partial role of the police in the crisis noting that each time a crisis occurred; they appeared to be in favour of the other faction at the expense of the New Era OPC group.