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Adams: Jonathan Is Our Man

National Coordinator of the Odua Peoples Congress, (OPC) Otunba Gani Adams opens up on last week’s protest against INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega in Lagos.
Excerpts:
What do you have to say about the controversial rally you led?
It is the opposition that is controversial which is condemning the rally. I don’t know how they are feeling pains about the rally which is not against them. The rally was specifically to register our displeasure about the activities of Professor Atahiru Jega on the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), the shortage of PVC.
Right now, South West has not gotten up to five million PVCs and the election is just 10 days away. In some parts of the South East, they haven’t gotten up to 80 per cent of their PVCs, likewise South-South. In the North East where you have the Boko Haram crisis, more than 90 per cent of their PVCs have been given to them. In the entire South-West, it is only Ondo State that has gotten up to 70 per cent of their PVCs and you want to run an election 10 days from now.
Second is the issue of registering of under aged people in the North. Many underage people were registered in the North, and we saw different pictures about the registration on the internet, and Jega has not made a categorical statement about it.
The third is the issue of 30 per cent polling units illegally created by Jega. Why are you creating polling units with just two months to the election? If you remember about two and half months ago, the Afenifere issued a statement that Jega should not create more polling units. The Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly too, did the same and other organisations lend voices to that issue but Jega systematically created those polling units and that was the beginning of rigging, it is as if the election has been rigged before it is held.
So, the only way to have peace and tranquillity in any country during and after election is by free and fair polls. Where there is injustice, violence is inevitable and I am just sending signals to the whole world. Our experience in 1993 is still fresh in our memories. We know how the 1993 incident happened and we do not want something like that to happen in this country again. If anything like that happens now, I don’t believe Nigeria can survive it. So, we must do everything to avoid crises, so that we can remain a nation. That was the reason for the rally. The platform we used was not only OPC, but a coalition of concerned Nigerians, coordinated by me. We cannot call it an OPC affair because we had a lot of Nollywood Stars.
Most of them were from Igbo land, South-South, South-West and so on. They were more interested in that protest more than we in OPC.
I don’t know why APC is referring to it as an ethnic mission;
they went to the internet and brought the picture of protest that was held by Dr Fredrick Fasehun group on 8th of December 2011. They sent it to media that OPC carried guns during the protest. What kind of propaganda is that? After all, APC was not the target; we were not protesting against APC, so, why are they defending Jega?
What is their interest to sustain the position of Jega?
They are sending a signal that the allegation made against them by the ruling party that they held a meeting in Dubai with Jega to support them.
I’m a freedom fighter. I started this struggle at a younger age, at the age of 23. If you choose propaganda and go to the internet, you will meet us there, go to the print media, you will meet us there. I’m not contesting election but we own this country together. I have a responsibility to protect the interest of good people of Nigeria and my people as a Yoruba race and I have the responsibility to defend the interest of six million members of my organisation.
You can not intimidate everybody because you have the media power.
The rally was a huge success.
What they are doing is to puncture the success of the rally.
We all know that APC has very good propaganda machinery but I want to tell them that I’m not PDP, I’m beyond that, and I’m not contesting.
APC is not our enemy; they are our brothers and sisters.
Not believing in APC as a party, not adopting Buhari as a Fulani should not make me an enemy. You can’t shout Jonathan much in the North; they would burn your house. What are you talking about? We own this country together; you can’t be intimidating those that support Jonathan in the North and be intimidating those of us who support Jonathan in the South. What is the sin of Jonathan that Tinubu has never committed?
What do you want from Jega now?
Jega should reverse the polling units. If Jega does not reverse the units, we don’t have confidence in him. He should not tell us that he should not be sacked. Is he the best person we have in this country?
Don’t you think the removal of Jega can trigger off crisis?
God forbid, assuming anything happens to Jega few days to the election, wouldn’t somebody else take it up to finish the election? We should not fool ourselves. I’m not praying for that, the election must move on. The Heaven would not fall.
He has shown that he has already connived with the opposition party. What is the business of Jega about Military? He should have allowed the parties to be fighting it out. If we agree not to use military, what of the
North East, can anybody come out to vote in the North East where there is no Military?
Can you organise election in Yobe, Borno, Bauchi and Adamawa without the Military?
You cannot, who will come out?
They would be slaughtered and even in Kano. I think the man is confused because I do not know why he is joining issues about military or no military.
There is a rumour that you were offered N9 billion gratifications by the government?
It is not a rumour; it is a statement from APC Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed. It is unfortunate that somebody at the age of Lai can issue a statement he cannot substantiate.
How can you mention a figure without concrete evidence?
One of the reasons Lai issued that statement 12pm on Sunday was to put our protest on hold.
By alerting the public that we have collected N9 billion, most of the people who wanted to join the protest would be weakened that it has economic interest. That was the reason. The pipeline contract is ordinary security, even the utility and some of the pipeline packages have not been included in the proposal, because they just gave the three months duration to secure it. After then, they would package it as a contract. That was what the NNPC did. You can imagine how much we are losing to vandals. What we lose to oil theft in a year is more than N1.3 trillion, the money that would be given to secure these pipelines will not be up to N4 billion in the six places they are vandalizing in a year.
The contract is another way of empowering the youth. It is a way of job creation. We gave our leaders mandate to bring 4,000 persons per section, we asked them to bring 3,500 from Lagos and Ogun, the remaining 5, 000 from other states. Do you know many people that got to my house that day? More than 15,000 people. It was like a war. After we tactically dispersed them, we couldn’t cope with the registration on that day, we got the data of 3,500 but we don’t know how to cope with the remaining 500. Do you know how many calls we have received since them? People that are ready to do that job are more than 250,000. So, you can see the level of unemployment in the country. I was the one that criticised the ruling party that Jonathan did not create jobs and you can imagine how many people this petty contract would employ.
The government has used various security agencies and they have failed. What they decided now is to use the community policing. The engagement of OPC is because OPC has structure in all the communities in the South West. The instruction given to OPC is to make sure that we employ those who belong to the community where the pipeline passes through. It does not reflect to OPC per se.
I have been in this struggle for the past 22 years, we are in the South West and the South West governors shut their doors against us. We have been promoting the culture of the Yoruba people, sustaining it, to the extent that we formed another organisation in 55 countries abroad, Oodua Progressive Union (OPU). It is not as if I’m working against APC, but am telling the whole world that I’m not supporting Buhari, I’m not casting my vote for Buhari and my group is not casting their vote for Buhari. Our vote is for President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some riff-raffs have been paid to say that they are pioneer members of OPC, I do not have their names among the nine of us that formed OPC. It was nine of us that formed OPC, we lost four of them and five of us are still alive and out of five of us that are still alive, two of us are still in OPC. The remaining three have gone to other businesses.

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