OPC honours Awolowo, MKO Abiola, Ajasin, 17 others with hero of democracy award
celebrates 25th anniversary, says journey tortuous
The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) led by Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has listed the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for special posthumous awards as the hero of democracy as the organization celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The event, which is holding in Lagos on Thursday, August 29th, 2019, with a public lecture, among others by Professor of Political Economy and International Relation, Prof. Tunde Babawale of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, will also witness 20 other prominent Nigerians, both living and dead, including the winner of June 12 Presidential Election, Bashorun MKO Abiola, being given Special Awards for same efforts at instituting democracy in the country.
OPC made this disclosure in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday by its spokesperson, Yinka Oguntimehin, saying the honour would be bestowed on the honourees at a dinner party for all the guests that would be gracing the event.
“Some of the big names and recipients of the OPC special posthumous awards, include Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Dr. Beko Ransome- Kuti, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Justice Adewale Thompson, Ambassador Segun Olusola, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Olumide Adeniji, Tony Ngrube, Prof. Sophie Oluwole, Ibraheem Abobanawo, and the founding father and Spiritual leader of the Congress, the late Dr. Fredrick Faseun,” he said.
“Other awardees are: Prof. Wole Soyinka, Barristers Femi Falana, Femi Aborishade, Kehinde Oluwole, Gabriel Akinadewo, Dr Joe Okei- Odumakin and Yemisi Shylon, among others,” he added, saying: “The awards is to appreciate all the recipients for playing different roles in the course of the struggle to liberate the nation.”
National Coordinator of OPC, Iba Adams, said the organization 25th Anniversary was worth celebrating, recalling the OPC’s journey through thick and thin, which he described as was tortuous, and the reason for celebration.
According to him, OPC formation was occasioned by the annulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, saying the struggle to liberate the Yoruba nation, following the annulment of the freest and fairest poll won by Abiola brought about the establishment OPC on August 29, 1994 by late Dr. Frederick Fasehun, himself and seven others.
“The zeal and patriotism of some Yoruba Nationalists to liberate Nigeria from the brutal, ferocious and savage hold of the military junta led to the thrusting of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) into national consciousness on August 29 1994.
“The late Dr Frederick Fasehun, myself and seven others took a critical and patriotic decision that the mandate of the late Aare Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (M.K.O.) Abiola, annulled by former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, must be actualised and Nigeria must be set free from the clutches of dictatorship.
“These and many other injustices from the then Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha, led to the formation of the Congress,” he recalled.
“Five years after the formation, democracy took a firm root in the country in 1999.”
“Today it is a thing of joy that we have 20 years of uninterrupted, participatory democracy in Nigeria,” he added.
Iba Adams said this development did not come without sacrifice, noting that the winner of June 12 poll, Chief Abiola, “alongside OPC leaders, fought for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 democratic wishes of Nigerians.”
He said that sadly, Chief Abiola Abiola died in detention in controversial circumstances during the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar on July 7, 1998, while many other notable Nigerians who were in same struggle, including Pa Rewane, wife of Chief Abiola, Alhaja Kudirat; Alhaja Suliat Adedeji, Admiral Tunde Elegbede, James Bagauda Kaltho, Shola Omasola, Oluwatoyin, Onagoruwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa, among others were killed.
“Many Nigerians that protested the continued detention of Abiola were shot on the streets by soldiers between 1993 and 1998.
“Activists and journalists, such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Olisa Agbakoba, Frank Kokori, Kunle Ajibade, Chris Anyanwu, Ben Charles-Obi, Onome Osifo-Whiskey, Babafemi Ojudu and others were detained and some others were jailed.
“Prof. Wole Soyinka, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others were forced to relocate from Nigeria.
“It was a period of persecution, victimisation and wickedness in high places,” he lamented.
“But today, democracy has come to stay. OPC is 25 years and we have every reason to remember Nigeria’s heroes and those who have been forgotten,” he enthused.
Adams further expressed regret that despite the death of a number of nationalists and sacrifices of the fallen heroes, not so much had been achieved with democracy.
He, however, said that with the determination of the group not to relent but continue pressing for a better change, Nigeria, and the Yoruba nation would be liberated.
“Though democracy is here, we are still faced with several challenges. Part of these challenges is the spate of insecurity in the country, but I am optimistic that Nigeria and the Yorubaland in particular, will get it right one day,” Iba Adams assured.