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2023 polls: OPC in disarray  over Tinubu’s alleged N70m gift

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Olusesan Laoye

The Odua  Peoples Congress (OPC),  which is known as an organisation  fighting  for the  protection of the  Yoruba people of the South West, Nigeria, is now in disarray due to the  purported  suspension of some of  its state  coordinators.

It was alleged that the State Coordinators of  Oyo and Osun States of the organisation, collected N35 million  each  from the  President- elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu,  for the presidential election. This allegation is now causing serious ripples among  members of the group.

The State coordinators so accused, are Comrade Rotimi Olumo of Oyo State and Prince  Aladesawe Adedeji of Osun State. The affected coordinators were accused by the National  leader of the OPC,  Iba Gani Adams, who is equally the Are Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, of collecting the money  to facilitate  the election of  Tinubu in their respective states without recourse to the leadership.

The  allegations against these coordinators  and their subsequent suspension, sources said, has led to palpable  fears  among members, across the South West, as there were speculations that other coordinators of Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti States are likely  to be affected, as investigations are still going on to find out about their activities regarding the presidential election of Tinubu.

With this development, the leadership  of the OPC has been warned  that  if proper care is not taken,  it could lead to the total  disintegration  of the body, which began during the leadership of  the late Dr. Fredrick  Fasehun.

It was argued that this  kind of  issue  led to the OPC, founded by Dr. Fasheun to be fragmented  and, which gave room to the  Iba Gani Adam’s faction of  the organisation.

Before Iba Gani Adams  became the leader of his own faction, he was the Director of Organisation and  Strategy, under Dr. Fasehun  and it was the  deep crisis between  them that made  Are Adams to  break away. Before  the death of  Dr. Fasehun, OPC had operated under two leaderships of Adams  and Fasehun.

Even right now, those in Fasehun’s group operate with its own leader and coordinators, without anything  to do with the Gani Adam’s group. Even while Dr. Fasheun was alive  the Gani Adams’-led group had  already gained the  ground, as it was known to be more militant than the Fasheun’s faction.

Though efforts to reconcile Dr. Fasheun and Gani Adams, before the death of the former, severally collapsed, the two had coexisted. But now, there are fears that the group may further implode with the present crisis.

The argument  going on now, is that if the current  crisis is not  controlled  and handled carefully,  it  could a threat to   Gani Adam’s leadership  of his faction. Aladesawe  and Olumo are the most vocal and active of the coordinators, who have drawn the battle line.

Not that alone, they were said to be the closest  to Gani Adams and the notion spreading like fire, is that if Gani Adams could be that ruthless  with the duo, his confidants and loyalists, then, it means that  others  could be dealt with at anytime and if the trend  continues, there is  likelihood  of a serious revolt within the group, which would be difficult  for Gani Adams to handle because there are now, more sophisticated and educated members, who are likely to  kick  against what some of them described  as authoritarian nature  of his leadership.

They argued that it was the same feelings they now have, that Gani Adams  had against Dr. Fasheun,  which led to his break away and founding of his faction of OPC.

What is baffling to people of the south West and the irony of the whole thing, is  that,  the President-elect Tinubu, who was at the centre  of  the crisis  between  Gani Adams and  Dr. Fasheun, is also at the centre  of the ongoing  crisis  in Gani Adam’s OPC.

The then Gani Adams, after he emerged from hiding, allegedly  teamed up  with Tinubu, who was then the governor of Lagos State and, who was not in good terms  with the then President  Olusegun Obasanjo, against Dr. Faheun, who was alleged to have  tilted towards Obasanjo.

But  later, their relationships, went sour,  and Gani Adams allegedly  accused Tinubu of  “use and dump’ tactics, a situation, which made him to  later distant  himself  from Tinubu.
For a  long time now,  the synergy  between  them  has never been the same and at a stage,  Gani Adams was opposed to Tinubu.

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Sources hinted Business Hallmark  that  some Yoruba leaders and even the late Oni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade and the late Alafin of Oyo,  Oba  Lamidi Adeyemi III had   intervened. But the animosity  never disappeared  totally, as both of them operated  epileptic  relationship and a game of cat and mouse.

Sources further hinted that  at a stage too, Gani Adams allegedly  detested  anyone that  had something to do with Tinubu directly,  among his members.

What was said to had doused the tension between  Tinubu and Gami Adams,  was the title of the Are Onakakanfo, which is the greatest title any Yoruba man could hold.  The title is not  just for anybody but a for gallant and brave man with activities that promote the Yoruba heritage.

The past Are Onakakanfo  are great men, such as the  late  premier of the Western Region, Chief  Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) and late Chief Moshood Kashiwawo Olawale Abiola (MKO).

With that title, Gani Adams could not be seen in disagreements  with notable leaders  and elders in Yorubaland,  as such, he had to soft pedal  with Tinubu.

It would  be recalled that due to the frosty  relationship  between  Tinubu and Gani Adams, the OPC leader  did not back President Buhari, presidential candidate of the APC  in 2015 but pitched  his tent with the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

With this situation with Tinubu, Gani Gani had always been suspicious of  anyone,  who has a link with Tinubu.  It was further argued that this suspicion, informed  the accusations that both the Oyo  State coordinator and his Osun State counterpart, allegedly  collected  N70m from  Tinubu during his presidential outing and election.  The allegations have so far been  debunked  by them.

Both Olumo and Aladesewa  claimed  in a separate  exclusive  interviews with Business Hallmark, that they have  never met Tinubu in their lives not to talk of having close contact with him that could warrant their being  given N35m, to do what?

Narrating  their ordeals and subsequent  suspensions,  they challenged  their leader and whoever is involved in the allegations,  to come out with evidence in their custody to prove that they got N35m from Tinubu.

On his part, Comrade Olumo of Oyo Oyo State, explained  to  Business Hallmark that he could not believe the allegation because of the respect he has for Gani Adam’s.

“You see, I serve  both the organisation and Iba Gani himself wholeheartedly. I became the OPC member in 1997 and I rose through the ranks from zonal, Local, Deputy State coordinator to State coordinator  in 2016. What baffled and depressed me  was that I put too much trust  in our leader and his action and allegations confirmed the adage that no one  should put  his hope on human being”.

“When he first accused me and  Prince Aladesawe, the Osun State Coordinator, we  told him that we knew nothing about the  money. He even asked us to go on oath on the matter, which we did and we thought that would convince him but to our surprise,  he was not convinced. He said he would carry out an investigation  on the matter and we should give him three  weeks, which he never did.”

“Before the  expiration  of the three weeks,  he just came out with the order  that he has suspended us. Though he gave Prince Aladesawe letter that he has removed him, he never sent mine because my men in Oyo State tackled him at a general meeting, that he has no right to suspend me as I did nothing to warrant  that and that they were solidly behind me”

“What also amazed me was the allegation that we engaged in anti-party activities as I don’t know when OPC turned to a political party. The development  in Oyo State now, is that my men are 100% behind me and have vowed that they may not have anything  to do with Gani Adams’ OPC anymore.

Also the Osun State  coordinator, who Gani Adams claimed he has removed, Prince Aladesawe  Adedeji, said that since December  2022, when the matter  began, Gani  has never been consistent.

“I want  to say that  on  December 2022,  he accused me and Comrade  Olumo of wanting to collect N10 million each,  from Tinubu after he had already  warned us that none of us should have anything to do with Tinubu. From N10m  he said it was N30m and lastly, he said N35m,  you can see the inconsistency  in his actions against us.”

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“When we even asked him to prove the allegations, he said that  his  new personal Assistant (PA)  told him that it was his former PA  Segun Akanni now in Canada, that linked us with Tinubu, which was not true  because as far as I am concerned, since he parted ways with Segun, over the same allegations that Segun was in contact with Tinubu and collecting money, against his instructions, he,  has never set his eyes on Segun nor discussed  anything  with him, since the past four year  that Segun has been in Canada.

“I have never met Tinubu and, on which platform  would I have to see Tinubu. I therefore,  called on well meaning Yoruba leaders   and traditional rulers,  to wade into the matter, to save OPC from total collapse  because  it would be disastrous  if politics is used as an instrument  to split the OPC, which the entire  Yoruba race look up to towards  protecting them”.

Following the clarion  call from Olumo and Aladesawe  that the  Yoruba leaders should step  into the matter,  Business hallmark found out that  despite the entreaties made by some of these leaders,  that Gani Adams  should take things easy, he has refused and still very adamant.

Some of the traditional rulers in Yoruba land, who warned Gani Adam’s  according to sources, are  Arigbabu of Agbamu land in Kwara State, Jagun of Oyo town in Oyo  State,  Basorunn of Oyo town, the late Olokinni of Okinni in Osun State, who died two weeks ago,  the Osemawe of Ondo, Oba  Akinrefon,  in Ondo State, the Olugban of Ile  Igban in Ogbomosho  land of  Oyo State and some other notable leaders.

It was learnt  that the Olugban  told Gani Adam’s that he should be very careful not to cause the crisis he won’t  be able to curtail. It was further learnt that the Oba said that he was the one that coordinated  the  traditional rulers for Tinubu and they never received  a kobo and how come Gani Adams’  accusation that his coordinators, who had no access to Tinubu would get N35m.

The Oba, it was said, told Gani Adams frankly not to do anything  that would make the Yoruba people to turn  against him as he would not  eventually  find it easy should that occur.

He also warned him  to  be careful    not to give room for  any  division now, in Yoruba race, because he should  realise  the race is not in the mood   and in  a situation  to accommodate any disunity among  them.

The Monarch,  further  told  Gani that as the Are Onakakanfo,  he  would be held responsible, if there is no cooperation among OPC  members, which could spread to other similar organizations in the land.
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Business Hallmark  was also told that Gani Adams  told one of the traditional rulers that he should not mix the  activities of OPC with  his position as the Are Onakakanfo, as they are two separate  institutions.

Meanwhile, all efforts to get the Information officers  and the  Personal Assistant of Gani Adams for reaction was abortive. All the calls put through to him were either  not picked while ringing  or not reachable.

But  a source  told Business Hallmark,  that Gani Adam’s has instructed all members of the group,  especially  those, who have the authority to speak on issues affecting the OPC, not to talk or comment on the  matter,  which according  to him, is already causing  serious controversies and disaffection among members.

According  to the source, “the development is already a very serious issue, which some leaders have waded into.”

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