The National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, has refuted the allegation that he collected N1.6 billion to campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan. Adams described the rumour as fallacious even as he accused the National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, of aggravating his quarrel with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Adams who made the statement at his Lagos office during the week said: “How can Jonathan give an organisation that is not a political organisation N1.6 billion. Jimi Agbaje who contested for the governorship position of a lucrative state like Lagos may not get N2 billion let alone a group. There were over 400 different groups. In that sense, much money cannot be given to one person or group. So the N1.6 billion is just an allegation from opposition. I have standing relationship with President Jonathan since he was vice president. Another thing is the confidence that Jonathan has in us. He recognised us and invited us to Marina, Lagos. He said he wanted to thank us for the 2011 elections and I went there with 70 of us. He shook hands with all of us personally. That one alone is more than N2 billion. If you noticed, we never had crisis with the government of Yar’Adua. They also alleged that we collected N9.6 billion to organise rally including billions in pipeline contracts. Majority of the stories are all propaganda. You will hear a politician who cannot boast of N200 million saying he has earmarked N2 billion. if I have collected such money, will you be seeing me in this office? Immediately news began to fly about that I have collected billions, people began to call me. I cannot sort out five percent of the proposals on my table because of the propaganda.”
On the stories that the OPC leader may re-unite with Tinubu after his group worked against the emergence of Buhari, the freedom fighter has this to say: “ There is no permanent friend or enemy. I have always said that I have no problem with anybody. Politics apart, Tinubu is a Yoruba man. He is well respected in Yoruba land. I am a freedom fighter. I should be bold to say what I know. The issue people are talking about shouldn’t have gotten to the extent it got to. Lai Mohammed caused all this. He accused me of what I know nothing about. I said I would vote for Jonathan at the airport on my way to Istanbul and Cyprus. Lai Mohammed lied that we destroyed billboards and brandished weapons. Nobody was harassed. Nobody was whipped. They concocted pictures accusing us of being responsible. I am fighting for Yoruba people. I don’t have any personal grudge with Asiwaju. After the presidential elections Oba Akiolu called me, I ignored it because if you go to the palace, you may be seen as a traitor but I promised Akiolu that I will not utter any statement as far as the governorship election was concerned and I maintained it. The APC chairman in Lagos, Ajomale, also called me and I told him the same thing. I don’t want to give any impression of compromise. Nobody discussed the issue of Buhari with me in the South West. When people talk about betrayal, I ask: ‘the one million vote Jonathan got in the South West, is it betrayal’? The Afenifere and Obas that voted Jonathan, did they betray the Yoruba race? We have 28 political candidates and 14 presidential candidates, we have freedom of expression. We have the right to vote for whomever we choose to vote. Most of Jonathan’s aides are my friends including the late Oronto Douglas. Even as it is, nobody can separate me from Aregbesola. We are still best of friends. We operate based on personality not party.”
On the way forward for the country, Adams said: “I can assure the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, that he will have my full support based on what he said concerning asset declaration of public office holders in the court of law before and after office. If you lie, you have committed perjury and that is seven years imprisonment. Many people will run away. Those who want to work will be eager to work. If we harp on Buhari’s statement, there must be real change. The issue of declaration of asset is key to transparency. It will reduce corruption. The simplicity of Buhari will reduce the cost of governance. Let us wait for Buhari to take over and see the personalities he will select. He promised Nigerians 30,000 jobs and will reduce the price of petroleum to N30. The money government is using in governance is about 65 percent and just 35 percent in projects. We expect free education, free health care and social security. When you give a person shelter, you have solved 50 percent of his problem because when you give shelter, you have given life. No matter the way Buhari wants to change Nigeria, he should implement the resolution of the confab so that his burden will reduce. Buhari is the father of all; he must correct all those perceived misinformation about him when he was in the military. Buhari should follow the law. Consultations and dialogues always bring peace to any nation. In governance, there is a limit of trust, if Buhari is sincere, what about his aides? He has to apply diplomacy sometimes.”
He also praised the statesmanship of President Jonathan for conceding defeat.
“For Jonathan to concede defeat when they were still counting votes, solved a lot of problems. Assuming he pointed out irregularities, which we all saw even where INEC officials were thumb printing, underage voters were voting, among others. Jonathan took the seat so simple. By now we would have been in war, if he did not concede defeat. Can you imagine how many southerners that would have been killed? There could even be a coup. The governors even did the same because we now have a template. African leaders should borrow a leaf from him,” he said.