The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) yesterday berated a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, for comparing the group with the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram.
In a statement, the group’s newly-elected President, Mr. Wasiu Afolabi, said the former army chief displayed a dangerous level of mischief, prejudice and narrow-mindedness by equating what it termed a pro-democracy group like the OPC with a world-acclaimed terrorist organisation.
Afolabi maintained that the comments by Dambazzau were an attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, insisting that the move will not work.
“We shall not succumb to this cheap attempt at blackmail and negative profiling. OPC is not, has never been and will never be a terrorist organisation. Nobody should link us or liken us with terrorists.
“We have never been on the global radar of terrorism like Boko Haram because we have never even been remotely connected with terrorism. Dambazau and his likes should realise that there is no federal character in terrorism,” the OPC stated.
The group noted that the South-west has never bred any terrorist organisation, least of all OPC, adding that people like Dambazau felt that the tragedy they brought upon their part of the country should be replicated in the South.
According to Afolabi, northern leaders had treated Boko Haram like a “pet snake” and allowed it to grow stronger instead of killing it once and for all, saying that the OPC had continued to maintain excellent relationships with all the relevant security agencies.
“What they should realise is that there is neither federal character nor quota system in terrorism. The North should call a spade a spade and demand its leaders to bring this ugly Boko Haram insurgency to a close,” he stated.
The group’s helmsman stated that the OPC remained a progressive organisation, explaining that for instance, OPC operatives guarded the police stations and prevented several of them from being burnt down during the last EndSARS protests.
Pointing out that OPC, as a socio-cultural organisation formed in 1994, had millions of followers who fought for the entrenchment of democracy, Afolabi said the organisation had enhanced the welfare and security of Yoruba indigenes as well as settlers in the south-west.
“Where was Dambazau when people were dying for June 12 and democracy? OPC was part of NADECO. Hundreds of OPC warriors paid the supreme price for the democracy under which Dambazau became Chief of Army Staff (2008 and 2010) and Minister of the Interior (2015 to 2019),” OPC said.
According to the group, the OPC Founder, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, was a Scottish-trained medical doctor, who was, along with some of his members, severally detained by the military junta but were always discharged and acquitted by the courts.
On calls for an Oduduwa Republic, Afolabi explained that there was no true Yoruba person who was comfortable with the situation in Nigeria, stressing that agitations whether for Biafra or Oduduwa Republic were being fuelled by the rising scale of insecurity, unhindered killings by Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping and poverty.
Afolabi insisted that only the entrenchment of equity, justice and restructuring in the country would silence such agitations.