LAGOS (DAILY TIMES, NIGERIA)--Lagos State was agog as the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) marked its 20th anniversary with a massive convoy of vehicles and members winding through the highways of Lagos.
The group called for a referendum on the resolutions of the just concluded National Conference, even as it demanded a stake in security votes enjoyed by South West governors.
Led by its founder and president, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, the motorcade of thousands of the organisation’s members moved from the Toll Gate area at the Lagos end of the Ibadan-Lagos expressway, through Ojota, Maryland, Onipanu, Ojuelegba and Lawanson and finally terminated at the premises of Century Hotel, Okota, owned by Fasehun, with feasting and music from a live band.
Lagos police had denied the group a permit to hold the event at the National Stadium, despite payment made to authorities running the complex, a situation that forced OPC to make do with Century Hotel.
OPC National Secretary, Comrade Dare Adesope, lamented that politicians and people benefitting from the group failed to extend recognition and compensation to a group he said was in the vanguard of the struggle for democracy in Nigeria.
According to Adesope, 20 years after its creation, the socio-cultural organisation is yet to have a befitting National Secretariat or operational vehicles.
While expressing appreciation to President Jonathan for fulfilling the wishes of Nigerians, including the OPC, for a National Conference, Fasehun, warned that gains from the dialogue would be lost except its conclusions were subjected to a referendum, rather than modification or ratification by the National Assembly.
Warning that OPC’s role in the provision of security should not be taken for granted, Fasehun said state governors in the South West must find a way of disbursing security votes to informal security apparatuses, like his own.
“While people are sleeping and snoring, OPC watchmen are out in the dark and in the cold, keeping the night watch to guarantee that citizens sleep in peace. These keepers of peace are beaten by the rain and hunted by marauders, sustaining injuries in the front and never at the back. Many have lost life and limb – without condolences even from the people we protect,” he said.