Members of the Oodua Peoples Congress in Ekiti State have explained why they shunned the protest staged against the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, in Lagos on Saturday.
The Lagos rally was organised by the OPC National Coordinator, Gani Adams, who has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan for the March 28 presidential poll.
The Ekiti OPC members said they shunned the rally to protest the neglect of their leader, Niyi Adedipe, also known as Apase, who is on remand in Ado Ekiti prisons.
Adedipe is standing trial over alleged complicity in the murder of former Ekiti State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Omolafe Aderiye, on September 25 last year.
The State Deputy Coordinator of OPC, Olowo Oladele, said members were angry with Adams for attempting to coerce them into his personal agenda without supporting Adedipe in his trying times.
According to him, Ekiti OPC members cannot be lured with a “bogus and questionable” pipeline security contract to attend a jamboree in Lagos when their state leader was languishing in detention.
At the briefing were OPC State Secretary, Idowu Julius, and Adedipe’s Personal Assistant, Kamarudeen Lateef.
Oladele said, “Our members are not interested in any pipeline contract or any filthy lucre for that matter.
“What we are interested in is how our leader, Apase, will be released from the prisons because we strongly believe that he did not commit the offence for which he is being remanded.
“We all resolved not to go to Lagos when our leader is inside prison because neither Jonathan nor Adams has offered him any support and they did not bother about his plight.
“In fact, we all entered into an oath that nobody should attend the Gani Adams rally in Lagos even if they offer us N1 million each because the freedom of Apase who is an innocent man is very important to us.”
Lateef said: “All the 16 local government coordinators in solidarity with Apase decided to stay away from the anti-Jega rally.
“We dissociated ourselves from the anti-Jega rally because we don’t want to lose focus of why OPC was established which was to protect the interests of the Yoruba anywhere in the world.
“OPC is for Yoruba interests and not for somebody’s personal interests and that is our stand and we have no apology for that.”