By DURO ADESEKO
Founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, has expressed disappointment over the comments by former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ahmadu Ali, who described Yoruba people are most ungrateful people.
After analysing the circumstances in which Ali made the statement, Fasehun concluded that he must be confused. He faulted the retired colonel for making a sweeping statement about a whole race. Also, he said that Yoruba people have no reason to be grateful because they have always been marginalised.
Fasehun said, Obasanjo has not complained that his people don’t appreciate him, wondering why Ali was crying wolf where there is none.
He also spoke on the formation of the Unity Party of Nigeria and the state of Nigerian democracy.
Recently, Col. Ahmadu Ali described Yoruba as the most ungrateful people. What is your take on it?
My position is that medical doctors don’t make wrong, sweeping statements like that. My own comment is that Ali must have been confused. He didn’t know who to accuse of ingratitude. What does he expect the Yoruba people to be grateful for? Does he expect Yoruba people to be grateful for being marginalised? Or, they should be grateful for being kept out of Nigeria’s lifeline? Does he want us to be grateful for being kept out of the presidency; Senate, House of Representatives, the judiciary, police, EFCC, NUC or what is he talking about? That is why I said he must be a confused man.
He also said Yoruba don’t appreciate Obasanjo despite what he did for the country…
What has that got to do with him? Obasanjo is a Yoruba through and through. Obasanjo himself did not complain that his people do not love him. If we don’t love Obasanjo, we wouldn’t have fought for him when Ali and his group wanted to impeach him. We came out to say, don’t try it. Ali has no locus standi in this matter. He cannot be more Yoruba than Obasanjo. I insist he has no locus standi.
He described Yoruba as funny character for saying that Awolowo was denied the chance to serve Nigeria as president in 1979. What’s your take on this?
Ali became a pariah to Nigerian students because he mismanaged education and 10 of them died. To be in the management that recorded the death of 10 Nigerian youths, I think it is he that should be accused of ingratitude. The nation put him in a responsible position and he proved unable to live up to the responsibility.
He said most of the self-appointed Yoruba leaders are failures in all ramification…
If he has the courage to say such nonsense, he should also have the courage to mention names.
Why did you decide to resuscitate the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN)?
We resuscitated it when Nigerians were feeling nostalgic about the contributions of the UPN to influence our national life. All the others have failed. We remember Ambrose Alli, Onabanjo, Jakande, Bola Ige, Papa Alayande and the contributions of people, like Olu Falae. We realised that only UPN has refused to earn itself a name in Nigeria’s black book. There is none of these people we have mentioned that left with blemished name after service. So, we remember the contribution of the UPN. If UPN can be resuscitated to reenact what these important Nigerians did at that time, there may still be a future for Nigeria. The new UPN is coming up to salvage Nigeria. Nigeria is moving very fast, very rapidly to the brink. There is mismanagement, bad leadership, corruption, insensitivity and so on and so forth.
You remember that the Americans predicted, a few years ago, that by 2015, Nigeria might not be in existence. When you look at what is going on now, there is so much insecurity in the North of the country, so much that no politician of southern origin will have the courage to campaign in the North in 2015. In the same way, northerners will not feel free to come to the south to campaign. In other words, Nigeria would have quietly splintered by 2015. We don’t want that to happen.
These other political organisations have been in existence while Nigeria has been gradually slipping to the brink. That is why we are asking UPN to come and salvage Nigeria and salvage the situation.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has a policy that moribund organisations that existed in the First and Second Republics cannot be registered as political parties.
What is the meaning of moribund? INEC cannot declare a popular political organisation moribund. That would be a paradox. If a political platform is popular, it cannot be moribund. I can show you messages from various Nigerians who are registering their membership with the UPN that is yet to be registered by INEC.
You used to be a presidential aspirant in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). Now, SDP is also seeking registration.
You are wrong. SDP is not seeking registration. It is SDMP (Social Democratic Mega Party) that is seeking registration. SDP was popular and we want the best for Nigeria. We don’t mind if SDP is resuscitated. The more the good political parties we have, the merrier. If SDP wakes up and UPN wakes up, Nigeria would have woken up.
What of the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC)?
I am not a member of NPC. I can’t speak about it. But I can speak about the integrity of the UPN. I cannot speak for any other political platform whose integrity I cannot vouch for.
How far have you gone with the registration the new UPN?
I understand they have increased the amount for registration. They want to kill corruption in our political life and they are making political participation so expensive. That is making political parties subject to moneybags. Before you know it, moneybags would hijacked this nascent political system.