The National Coordinator of the Odua Peoples Congress, OPC, Gani Adams, has stated that the actions of the Nigeria Police made him popular.
Mr. Adams said his arrest and treatment by the police during the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency brought him to stardom.
“I thank the 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,” the group leader told PREMIUM TIMES. “The unnecessary publicity brought me into limelight.”
Speaking at his Lagos residence, Mr. Adams said he was in hiding for weeks, before he eventually turned himself in to the police. The 45-year-old OPC leader said his offence was fighting for the interest of Yorubas which made the administration uncomfortable.
He said the “unnecessary publicity” by the police made him an hero and compared his imprisonment with that of Obafemi Awolowo, Wole Soyinka, and Nelson Mandela.
Mr. Adams, one of the major supporters of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the South West, said he has forgiven those who contributed to his persecution, as well as those who abandoned him when the road was rough.
“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.”
Mr. Adams was arrested in September 2001, about one and half years after the police declared him wanted for the alleged murder of Afolabi Amao, a Divisional Police Officer of the Bariga police station in Lagos. He was also accused of being responsible for a series of violent ethnic clashes blamed on the OPC in the south-west. He was held in prisons in Lagos, Abeokuta and Abuja, before his release.