By Rasheed Sobowale
The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), a Yoruba nationalist group, was recently in the news following the arrest of its security outfit’s personnel due to an alleged attack on a Fulani leader, Iskilu Wakili, at Ayete, in Oyo state. The personnel were taken to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, from Panti in Lagos.
The Fulani herders had alleged that OPC killed one Fatima Umar, the sister of Wakili during the raid. OPC on the other hand claimed reports of the notorious activities of Wakili were brought to his attention by the Baale and farmers in his domain.
Contrary to the claims by OPC that the 75-year-old Wakili was responsible for kidnapping and killing of Yoruba indigenes, the herders wondered how a 75-year-old blind man could be responsible for killings and kidnappings.
The members were however released after the intervention of the Oyo state government and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams.
Iba Gani Adams, in an interview with VanguardLive TV narrated his activism journey and how the popular Yoruba group, OPC, was formed.
Gani Adams who was a former leader of the group (OPC) said it was formed in 1994 during a struggle for democracy.
– Activism at age 23 –
Narrating his “activism” journey, Gani Adams said; “I started activism at the age of 23. When the election of MKO Abiola was annulled in 1993. I decided to join the crusade to reclaim MKO’s mandate. I started by campaigning for democracy.
“In 1994, we formed a group called Oodua Youth Movement. There was a man named, Tony Gurubi (name spelling not confirmed), an Ijaw man. He called Dr Fredric Fasheun, a patron of Oodua Youth Movement.
“He advised that in our campaign for democracy we should instead form an organisation that will incorporate the Yoruba elders; both male and female.
“That was the time we decided to form the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in August 29, 1994.
“It was in the chamber of Senator Opeyemi Bamidele that we held a meeting back then and decided the name for the organisation. There were two proposed names: Oodua National Congress and Oodua People’s Congress.
“Seven of us voted for Oodua Peoples Congress and two voted for Oodua National Congress.
– No regret –
The generalissimo of Yorubaland said he has “no regret” whatsoever in been part of the formation of OPC.
“I believe everything that happens in my life is part of my destiny. It is part of the assignment God gave me from heaven.
“At the same time, there is a reward in forming the group. Day by day, everybody can see how God is elevating me in my own level.
“We also saw the result of our struggle from 1993 to 1999. Even thou the person we fought for (Abiola) did not become president, today he is immortalised.”
“Post-humous award has been given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari even though we didn’t expect he (Buhari) can do that.”
“I believe that my struggle was not in vain.”
The 15th Aare Oona Kakanfo of Yorubaland also claimed his struggle and that of others clamouring for the return of Abiola’s mandate between 1993 and 1999 showed that “the Yoruba race are not cowards”.
Watch Full Interview Video: