Comrade Rotimi Olumo is the coordinator of the Odua Peoples Congress (Gani Adams) in Oyo State. He played a prominent role in curbing the invasion of the Fulani herders terrorising the people of Oke Ogun and Ibarapa areas of Oyo State.
In this Interview with Olusesan Laoye of the BusinessHallmark, he spoke about how his command has been combating crime, what the government should do on security, how Amotekun would be effective and efforts being made to secure Lagos Ibadan express way to guarantee the safety of commuters on the road.
He also spoke on 2014 National conference and agitations for self determinations by various ethnic groups Nigeria.
What has OPC and other security agents been doing to curtail the activities of bandits and Fulani herdsmen said to be terrorising the people of the South West, particularly, Oyo State?
We have been able to curtail the activities of bandits, and.other criminals and reduce rate of kidnapping, through the efforts and stern directive from our leader Iba Gami Adams, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, who has been in firm control of operations in the region.
As the generalisimo of the Yoruba people, Gani Adam’s is always an advocate of adapting other means of securing the South West.
As a result, he has always been on the neck of all his coordinators and encouraging them not to relax and ensure that criminals in their areas are fished out and handed over to the law enforcement agencies for further actions. We do this without taking laws into our hands.
The collaboration of the OPC with the South West governors and constant meeting being held with them by Iba Gani Adams, also helped to boost our morale to work for the security of the region. To have directions on securing the region, all the coordinators attend weekly meetings presided over by our leader Gani Adams. I can even say that constant Interactions with the Governors by Gani Adams was in a way instrumental to the formation of the Amotekun Corps in the South West.
As a matter of fact, I would say Amotekun should be regarded as the baby of Gani Adams.
The cooperation between the OPC, Amotekun and other local security outfits, such as Agbekoya and the hunters Association, has helped in getting the South West secure. I want to say as well, that OPC did a lot on the issue of Fulani herders in Ibarapa, with particular reference to the case of Iskilu Wakilu, which led to the arrest of our men and this made the whole world to come out to defend the injustice meted to those who carried out the arrest.
The operations of Amotekun by using light weapons also contributed to why we have few cases of banditry in the South West because they can now use the weapons to face criminals.
On the issue of Lagos-Ibadan Express way, in which kidnapping was recently experienced, the OPC, Amotekun and other security operatives are working day and night and even keeping vigil to ensure the safety of commuters on the road.
With the formation of Amotekun and the cooperation enjoyed with other local security outfits and considering the wave of crimes in the country, don’t you think there is now the need for State police?
Honesty, I support State police.There is also nothing wrong in community policing because there are more criminals now all over Nigeria. There is no efforts too much to guarantee security of lives and properties. If the state and community police are established, the conventional police should see them as complementary to their efforts and not as competitors.
I believed that if Nigeria is well protected, and there is adequate security, the economy of the country would improve and Nigeria would attract more investors both foreign and local. It would even help the growth of investments and jobs would be created.
Adequate security would also help farmers who are now going to farms with the fear of being attacked to concentrate on their farming, which would guarantee sufficient food production and other agro allied raw materials for our manufacturing industries.
How can we curtail thuggery during the coming political activities in Nigeria and the youths being used by politicians to foment trouble?
Politicians now need to be warned.They should know that politics is not to be used to cause trouble, wreck havock or to destabilise the country but for development. The problem with Nigerian politicians is that they are selfish; they think about themselves alone without even considering the fact that they were brought to that position by the people who elected them.
The crises experienced all over Nigeria during elections are caused by politicians who engage youths as thugs.They empower them with weapons to protect them and these thugs later turn around to use the weapons to cause havoc. These time around, we in the OPC and other local security networks are determined not to allow these unscrupulous people and their masters to destabilise the country, especially the South West.
We are ready for them because we believe that any serious politician who wants to serve should not engage in thuggery and violence to achieve his ambition. We are going to do our best on our side but we are appealing to the government to put up machineries that will curb thuggery and violence during campaigns so that lives and properties would not be wasted.
What are your views on the agitations for restructuring?
I think the problems we are having now on the agitations for restructuring and self determination, are as a result of non implementation of the 2014 National conference organized by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The conference was the best thing offered Nigerians during the tenure of that President but we wasted it.
It was a conference which should have solved all the problems we are facing now.
It was a conference where the best in Nigeria put heads together to fashion a good report that favoured all sections of Nigeria. The hope then, was that if the report was implemented, it would cement the unity of the country because it more or less favoured restructuring and we are not going to be in the present mess we have found ourselves.
As far as I am concerned, the present federal government made the greatest mistake of not implementing the out- come of that confab because if it had done it, the issue of Boko Haram, banditry and other vices causing insecurity would not have been so rampant because all sections of the country and zones, would have found ways and means of securing their areas.
By now, the issue of state or regional police would have been resolved and Nigeria would have been a secure nation. The issue at stake now, is that people are no longer talking about restructuring. To many geopolitical zones, the issue of restructuring is now belated. That is why in the South West they are clamouring for Oduduwa nation, in the south East Biafra, the South South people too want to be independent. The impression is that if they are independent there would be a lot of development in their areas with the policies that would be initiated.
With your stand on self-determination, what do you want to say about Sunday Igboho on his stand for Odua Republic?
Well, in the first place Sunday Igboho came out as a brave person when there was too much cry over uncertainty about the lives of his people being attacked and raped by the Fulani herdsmen, who graduated into kidnappers terrorized the people.
He came out when the appropriate authorities failed to bail his people out of their predicaments. To me, I don’t think Sunday Igboho has committed any crime but the power that be, turned the case of his agitation against him.
With the situation of things now, I think what all the people in Yorubaland including all the traditional rulers should do now, is to rally round him, to guarantee his freedom because Igboho was not fighting for himself but the entire Yoruba nation.
As the coordinator of the OPC in Oyo State, what are the things you did to change the bad behaviours of your members and activities?
What I did was to give them new orientations through seminars and workshops. I also brought what I learnt from our leader Gani Adams into my operations. This made the organisation in the state to be rebranded. What I also did was to tell our people to find jobs to do and encouraged those who have their school certificate to go back to higher institutions.
Even as the coordinator I too have gone back to school. I am now doing my HND in Public Administration. Majority of our members are no more illiterates but highly educated, which has made OPC a rebranded organisation.