Amotekun: The upgraded-updated version of OPC, By Mike-Nifty Ayodeji

Posted by News Express | 11 March 2020 | 1,279 times

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•Mike-Nifty Ayodeji

When the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) kicked off their operation in 1994 when it was established, they started at a slow pace and, gradually, they operated under the guides of the South-western states with the stipulated rules and regulations after the bills were passed in the various houses of assembly of each of the Yoruba states. Today, we hope the Amotekuns won't get to the stage of when the OPC wanted to take over the job done by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), which eventually led to the rancour between the NPF and the OPC as well as the OPC and other ethnic groups.

Essentially, then in Lagos, when some OPC members massacred two policemen: one inspector and a sergeant.

According to reports, the sergeant had pleaded with them earnestly to spare their lives and he even wanted to die heroically by accepting to lay his life. He had pleaded with the OPC men that they should rather take his own life and spare his boss, the Police Inspector. They refused and went ahead to kill him; offended, the sergeant tried to fight them in combat but as they were more in number, they over-powered him and killed him also.

That led to a non-stop fracas and chaos within some communities, most especially in Lagos, because the above incident happened in Lagos State one of the South-western states the OPC emanated from. The Oodua Peoples’ Congress is a Yoruba nationalist organisation in Nigeria. The Yoruba people, who live in the south-western part of Nigeria and in neighbouring countries such as Benin, are a large ethnolinguistic group. The majority of them speak the Yoruba Language (ede Yorùbá). It is also known as the Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM) or the Revolutionary Council of Nigeria.

The OPC was formed when a group of Yoruba elite, including Dr Frederick Fasehun, decided to form an organisation to actualise the annulled the mandate of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, a Yoruba who most people believed to be on his way to winning the presidential election of June 12, 1993, which was subsequently annulled by the military government before vote tallying was complete.

Although the founding president of the OPC was Frederick Fasehun, in 1999 a faction led by Ganiyu Adams broke off from the main organisation, but continued usage of the main party's name.

Until his death in 2018, Fasehun was widely held by the Yoruba to be the leader of the OPC. In December 1999, the newly-formed Arewa People’s Congress said it would begin full self-defence training for northern residents in reaction to attacks on Hausas by the OPC. After Faseun’s death, Oodua People’s Congress elected a new leader, Prince Oshibote. This was in line with Faseun’s wishes before he died.

The culprits who disguised under the OPC faction that massacred the police operatives were eventually apprehended in a full-loaded two Molue buses in Lagos by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Many other staunch members of the OPC were also arrested and sentenced to death. The Molue in which the OPC members were loaded then was a popular means of mass transit known for over-loading of commuters. It was an integral part of transportation in Lagos for decades until the emergence of the BRT luxury buses.

 

In 1999, when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was inaugurated as the President of Nigeria, he abolished completely the operations of the OPC. It didn’t go down well with their head of operations, Ganiyu Adams, now the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, but he later accepted defeat.

We really do hope it does not get political again in the long run with the updated version, today’s “Operation Amotekun” when the current ruling party’s tenure ends. When another party comes one hopes they don't abolish it politically, as it was previously done, leading to the exit of the OPC.

The operation Amotekun operatives should not go overboard the containment of the bills passed to legalise it and provide operational guidelines. If it does, even constitutionally, the current government can exhibit federal veto power to stop its operations.

 

•Mike-Nifty Ayodeji, public affairs analyst, can be reached him on: nifty.mics@yahoo.com

 


Source: News Express

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