Yoruba socio-cultural group, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, has assured indigenes and non-indigenes in the South-West to entertain no fears over Saturday’s polls as their security was guaranteed.
OPC founder and president, Dr. Frederick Fasehun said this yesterday in Lagos, saying that he had mandated his members to ensure that no one was intimidated or molested before, during and after the polls.
Fasehun said anybody or group threatening violence against indigenes or non-indigenes would have OPC to contend with.
According to him, “OPC is a frontline group for the defence of Yoruba interests and the dispensation of social justice to sojourners in the South-West; and we shall be doing everything to make everyone feel safe throughout the duration of the electoral process, before, during and after voting.”
Fasehun’s statement came against the backdrop of recent statements by the paramount ruler of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, that Igbo people and other non-indigenes voting against the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, would incur his wrath and have themselves to blame.
The OPC founder said the organisation would cooperate with security agencies on Saturday to guarantee the safety of all voters, indigenes and non-indigenes alike within and outside Lagos.
“Yoruba cherishes its republican and cosmopolitan outlook, and this cannot be abridged by anybody and any institution.
“OPC will continue to maintain its position of defending people’s liberty, including the freedom to vote for parties and candidates of their choice.”
He said that any attempt to browbeat voters into towing a particular political path violated Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution, which guaranteed citizens the right to dignity of human persons, right to personal liberty, right to freedom of thought, right to freedom from discrimination and right to peaceful assembly and association.
“Yoruba people hold dear the adage that ‘we cannot all sleep and face one direction. Therefore, any attempt to make people think, decide and vote the same way is not only draconian, it is unrealistic and futile. The minority must have its say, but the majority must have its way.”
Fasehun said that rather than viewing the different people it harbours as a threat, Lagos needed to express pride in being home to many different tribes and cultures, as this puts the city in the league of international, multinational and cosmopolitan cities like New York, London and Japan.
He said: “Yoruba welcome strangers. Yoruba people are accommodating and hospitable, which is why land and business holding here is not discriminatory.
“And this reflects in our politics, where we have strong parties and candidates equally competing for public office. In the First, Second and Third Republics, key Yoruba politicians did not converge on one political platform, but had equal showing in the ruling parties as well as in the opposition parties at all levels. That is the beauty of Yoruba politics.”
According to Fasehun, politics must continue to accommodate a market place of ideas where the superior argument wins.
Recalling OPC’s role in the struggle for the current political dispensation since being founded in 1994, Fasehun said the group was committed to building a nation where no man was oppressed anywhere in the country.
“The tree of this democracy we enjoy today was watered by the blood of martyrs from all parts of this country.
“And knowing the sacrifices Nigerians equally made to cultivate this democracy, OPC will do all within its power to prevent anyone falling prey to any form of tyranny in the name of politics.”

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