The National Coordinator of the Odua Peoples Congress, OPC, Chief Gani Adams, has attributed his popularity to the actions of the Nigeria Police.
The OPC chieftain said his arrest and treatment by the police during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration brought him to limelight.
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Adams expressed his appreciation to then Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mike Okiro, “for declaring me wanted and subsequent arrest, because it turned out to be a blessing for me”.
He added that the unnecessary publicity (declaring him wanted) brought him into limelight.
Mr. Adams was arrested in September 2001, about one and half years after the police declared him wanted in connection with the murder of a DPO at the Bariga police station in Lagos, Afolabi Amao. He was also accused of being behind a series of violent ethnic clashes attributed to the OPC in the south-west. He was held in prisons in Lagos, Abeokuta and Abuja, before he was eventually released.
Speaking at his Lagos residence, Mr. Adams said he was in hiding for weeks, before he eventually turned himself in to the police.
According to the 45-year-old OPC leader, his offence was fighting for the interest of Yorubas, which made the then Obasanjo administration uncomfortable.
The OPC coordinator further compared his incarceration with that of Obafemi Awolowo, Wole Soyinka, and Nelson Mandela.
Mr. Adams, however, said he has forgiven those who contributed to his persecution, as well as those who abandoned him when the going became tough.
“I faced persecution for no just cause. I was detained in number of police stations, and prisons across the country, just because I believe in the rights of the people, and need to fight for the rights.
“But I must say this, I don’t have anything against all those who contributed to the persecution. Your worst enemy may become your best friends. How many people am I going to fight? I have to give thanks to God and Okiro who God used to turn my story for better”.