The Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, has asked the Lagos state publicity secretary of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Joe Igbokwe, to apologise within seven days for his comments on OPC or incur the wrath of Yoruba gods.
The director of media and publicity of the OPC, Yinka Oguntimeyin, said Mr. Igbokwe while speaking with newsmen over OPC’s withdrawal from the pipeline protection contract had described the Yoruba group as “hoodlums and outlaws”.
“Why should hoodlums be used in securing pipelines…using OPC is a primitive way of securing pipelines. You don’t give sensitive jobs like pipelines to outlaws,” OPC quoted Igbokwe from PUNCH.
OPC said the contract was a duly-signed one between the OPC and NNPC and was supposed to last between March 15 and June 15, 2015.
“Igbokwe needs to take a tour to the communities where the pipeline runs through and speak with the residents on their experience since the OPC started watching over the facilities. Our men have brought some sense of safety and security to the people of the areas where these pipelines pass through.
“On this note, I wish to say that Mr. Joe Igbokwe withdraws his comments and apologize to the OPC within seven days or risk the wrath of all the deities in Yorubaland. Igbokwe’s latest statement is seen as an insult on the entire Yoruba race and would be punished by Yoruba gods and our ancestors if he fails to apologize within seven days”.
“In our land, it is an insult to speak to an Oba in that manner. Even if the Oba makes a mistake, you do not stand in the public gallery to insult him” the group said.
OPC said the statement coming from Mr. Igbokwe was not only shocking, but also regrettable. It however said it is not surprised that he would insult and cast aspersions on members of the OPC.
“Though it is easy for him and others like him who are benefiting from the struggle to enthrone democracy in our country, he needs to tell us where he was when members of OPC, alongside other activists like Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, took on the military after the annulment of the June 12 presidential election.
“Igbokwe should tell the world what role he played in the struggle to revalidate the annulment of the election and subsequently enthrone democracy in our country. We need to know where Igbokwe was in 1995 when civil society groups in the country, under the command of NADECCO, organized what was called the ‘mother of all rallies. Where was Igbokwe in 1996 when Olisa Agbakoba led a rally against the military,” OPC asked.
The pan Yoruba group said it is on record that most of these activities were led and indeed commanded by members of the OPC.
OPC referred Mr. Igbokwe to a judgment of Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja, delivered on December 19, 2006, during the detention of Gani Adams and Fredrick Fasehun.
“In the judgment, the revered justice ruled that the OPC was not an illegal organization, and ordered that nobody should refer to it as an illegal body.
“Aside from this very important ruling on the status of the OPC, we would have expected Igbokwe to know that, as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, every Nigerian has the right of association and the freedom to associate with one another without molestation.
“It is not on record that Igbokwe suffers from memory relapse. But I would like to refresh his memory, hoping that it would do him some good.
“Among our members are medical doctors, lawyers and technocrats among others. Also, across Yorubaland, we have initiated and organized more than 18 cultural festivals as part of the efforts to promote Yoruba culture and traditions,” the OPC said.