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Those calling for breakup of Nigeria are not serious minded people -Fasheun

Dr Frederick Fasheun is the founder, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). In this interview with INIOBONG IWOK, Fasheun says he has evident which could reveal more about Chief MKO Abiola’s death, he also speaks on the state of OPC, and his new party, among several other national issues.

You recently said you were in possession of a video tape were Yoruba leaders were collecting money from the government after the death of Chief MKO Abiola, is that right?
Yes, what I said was that there is proof of some Yoruba leaders collecting money, few hours after Abiola’s death. I don’t know why they collected money, maybe it was for one favour or the other, but when we get to the bridge we will cross it.

I would come out with the real identity of the people, but for now Mustapha’s case is still in court and may be this evidence could be used, so let us wait till after the judgement.

We don’t want to reveal the information that may be used in the ongoing trial at the Supreme Court. I have written a very voluminous book about that, but I have not launched it, I am waiting till after the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Mustapha case:

but if I am not there to release the book, my publisher would release it. The nation should wait till after judgement is delivered on the Mustapha trial, then I would release the book.

Are you saying that there is more misery to be unraveled about Abiola’s death?
Abiola’s death is a good point of suspicious. We know Abiola did not die in his sleep, but what happened? Let us wait till after Mustapha’s judgement. You know pictures don’t lie, so we will see all this when it is released.

But some of the Yoruba leaders that held that meeting with Adulsalam Abubakar have said that nobody else was in that room, they disputed any recording took place?
Mustapha is an intelligence guru, you don’t know what he may have done to obtain his information from his people that were in Aso Rock at that time. Mustapha is one of the most intelligent Officers the military ever had.

You founded OPC, so, some people still see you as a tribal leader how do react to such insinuation?
It is a wrong insinuation. The OPC was founded with some identical objectives: which was to defend, protect and promote the interest of the Yoruba Nation, and also protect the interest of other ethnic groups in Nigeria and we have been doing that.

I also founded the Coalition of ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and we came together to be fighting for the interest of ethnic groups in Nigeria since then.

If I did not believe in the unity of the country this would not have been possible. The OPC have been fighting for the interest of Nigeria also.

But some youths in the South West are advocating for Oduduwa Republic, are you in support?
I don’t believe anybody can divide Nigeria. Nigerians have inter-married, promoting division at this time is not the best thing to do. We have been together for about 60 years now, such relationship that stay so long cannot be easily broken.

We have the Igbo working in every part of the country, they are into trading, pharmacy, or you find them in agriculture. If the country is divided, so many things would fall apart, you may collapse the economy of the country.

I am not in support of the youths calling for division of the country: mind you all youths’ groups in the country are calling for the division of their region from Nigeria.

The Arewa’s have just rescinded their call for lgbos to leave the North. None of the groups calling for the division of Nigeria is serious about it.

What about the Biafra agitation, is it justified?
Such a call is stale. No nationality group is serious about dividing the country. What we are saying is that the country should be restructured.

That is what serious politicians are saying, let us have true federalism, let us restructure the country, we had conference on that with restructuring as the theme, unfortunately someone came and put the report in the shelf.

Are you surprised that the APC whose members were the major agitators for restructuring, but now in power have abandoned that?
Every political group fights to win election and not to defend the country. That is why most of them are jumping from one party to another. If Nigerian politicians like the country they would fight for true federalism.

They know what to do, let them do it, but they are only after their interests. The government in power knows what the agitations are about.

But they said the last Confab does not have legitimacy because President Goodluck Jonathan selected most of the delegates?
It is not true. It’s unfortunate that we have attached everything bad to Jonathan and his administration. Is this the way we have to pay him back. It is unfair, such is not good.

You founded the OPC, but there are divisions and factions, are you still in the OPC?
I am the president and founder of OPC, and if you remove me as the president you cannot remove me as the founder. I was at a meeting last week; we do not recognise any faction in OPC. And I don’t have any problem with Gani, he is the National Coordinator.

I relate with Gani Adams. We had some group of people, they said they should now be called OPC reformed, they were about 60 or 70 people, some of these people were suspended from the original group.

You are one of those who recently founded the Green Party and you are also the national chairman of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), why Green Party?
The party is out to achieve the greatness of Nigerian. We have decided to work together as coalition with the Unity Party and the Green Party of Nigeria. There is no much difference between the two parties.

And we want to better the life of Nigerians. Nigerians should wait; we know they are always anxious when it comes to political issues.

But I can tell you that Nigerians would see a different party from the ones on ground. The two parties would work together to bring better life for Nigerians.

Who are those in the party and do you have the finance to compete with others?
The former governors of Bauchi State, Issa Yuguda and all members of his cabinet have joined the party, and there are several other prominent Nigerians.

Impunity is bad; it is the problem in Nigeria. Even if we have money we would not encourage that. Nigeria has been bastardise with impunity, it is bad, it is a setback for the country.

The Green Party would guarantee true federalism, we would create jobs, provide good roads, affordable health care and other good things of life and we are determined to do this. We are against impunity because we know it is bad.

How do you assess the President Muhammadu Buhari administration?
If the Buhari administration was the best I would join the administration. I am not pleased with the administration: See what the various governors are doing to Nigerians. The Green Party would change things.

Do you still have confidence in the anti corruption war?
When he came, he started arresting people, but up till now we have not seen the result of his anti corruption fight. When you fight corruption with corruption it would fail, that is why it is failing.

What is your view of the recent constitution amendment?
The National Assembly is not a complete altruistic group to do that. Look at their salaries, we are complaining and they are allocating more money. But I believe in local government autonomy which would promote good governance.

What is your view of the governments’ move at checking the media and free speech?
What is the use of the Freedom of Information Act? And you want to fight corruption, the press has to be free, there are laws that can check excesses of the press. Allow those laws to work. Once you stop press freedom you cannot fight corruption.

What is your view of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)?
I have lost confidence in INEC; I don’t have confidence in INEC. They cannot conduct credible election in the country. Let us look for credible people to compose INEC.

Quote
If the country is divided, so many things would fall apart, you may collapse the economy of the country. I am not in support of the youths calling for division of the country: mind you all youths’ groups in the country are calling for the division of their region from Nigeria. The Arewa’s have just rescinded their call for lgbos to leave the North. None of the groups calling for the division of Nigeria is serious about it.

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