Otunba Gani Adams, the national coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has a dream.
And it is a life changing of dream of global dimension, not just for a person, but a race.
And an unplanned encounter with the national activist revealed he has been quietly but passionately working towards achieving his dream for the past four years.
The dream is the global unity of the Yoruba people with Oodua Progressives Union – OPU.
The body with Otunba Adams as convener and visionary is said to have chapters in over 60 countries across the world, each launched personally by the emerging global leader.
Speaking with societynowng.com on Tuesday September 29 2015 in a chance encounter Otunba Adams traced the idea behind the life changing concept of global dimension ‘It is simply for Unity…Unity of the Yoruba race. The aim is to create a means to bring all Yoruba people across the whole together’ he responded to probe on what sparked off thoughts of the initiative.
He was attired in his traditional all white apparel, a lace material, without the traditional and official Agbada – but with a matching pair of white slippers.
And quite unusual he was not wearing his cap and eye glasses, the meeting occurred at a very informal environment, a setting the passionate promoter of culture was very much at home with.
He was at leisure with a plate of cashew nuts and Fantago fruit juice to match – it was a case of simple pleasure for him.
‘OPC is different from OPU…OPC is a cultural activism association while OPU is about cultural sensitisation and identity’ He stated differentiating the cultural activism organisation that brought him to world focus from the new association he is propagating.
He took a sip of his fruit juice, leaned back in his chair and went on ‘You’ll be surprised at the numbers of Yoruba people scattered all over the world without a unifying body…and many more that who associates with culture of the tribe, the response we are getting has been tremendous’
Another journey of some three nuts from the plate to his mouth, a quick interaction with one of his aides and he provided deeper insight into the kind of response heralding the launching of OPU outside the shores of Nigeria ‘As we speak we have about fifteen chapters to launch in fifteen different countries…those are the confirmed ones, not to talk about those that have shown interests’ he revealed and added ‘we can’t even finish those launching this year’
Another of his aides came for another round of quick conversation pertaining to details of two events for the next day, one in Osun state and the other in Ogun state. The meeting with societynowng.com held in Lagos state, somewhere on the mainland.
‘What are the challenges that come with setting up these OPU chapters and the growing expansion?’ we asked after he finished his conversation with his aide.
‘just everyday challenges that comes with setting such things, usually logistics’ stated and continued without missing a beat ‘at times you think everything is in place and on getting there you see that things are not yet as it should and naturally you deploy resources to put things in order..but those are to be expected, these are the early stages..we will get there’ he emphasised with conviction
‘What about funding?’ we threw at him, earlier information had revealed he attends each launching with entourage that include traditional rulers amongst others , he smiled and responded shunning his nuts and drink ‘Self help efforts and grace of God…grace of God, especially.’ he restated
He poured a bit of drink into his glass but continued without taking a sip ‘I believe God has ordained me to do something…and i am doing it, He will always provide the way’
He checked his phone after the conversation..called one of his aides for credit top up and turned to take the next question.
‘What influence do you bring to bear in the operations of the various chapters across the world and how do you ensure uniformity of purpose?’ we enquired
A nipple at a chew nut and he responded ‘ I am just the convener and coordinator of the activities of the chapters from Nigeria’ he defined his role and went on to reply the second part of the poser ‘ we have a constitution that serves as our guide book. There are the aims and objectives and rules and regulations and when and how to convene meetings…each chapter’s running is tailored round the constitution, with that we all operate on same page.
‘but the leadership of each chapter is determined by the members…each chapter has independence in choosing its leaders’
‘And what determines who a member is’ we asked immediately he paused
And he took the question headlong without a shift in stance and eye contact ‘every Yoruba man or women, everybody that can trace his or her ancestry to the Yoruba culture and all persons that identify with the Yoruba culture…I have seen foreigners deeply identify with the Yoruba culture, such individuals based on interests and identifying with the culture of the race are eligible members of the Oodua Progressives Union’
His response attracted a couple of off record chats and discussion before we veered back on course for the final question ‘ With growing expansion and success of the OPU comes threats of disunity and possible hijacking of your position as an emerging global leader as convener – what strategy have you put in place to ensure sustaining the bond of the association across different shores and your position as visionary?’
He smiled and stood up, stretching his full six feet length and responded ‘That is in the hands of God. I believe i am already doing what i should’