The Odua People’s Congress (OPC) yesterday got a new national president following the death of its founder and national president, Dr Frederick Fasheun.
The new president, Prince Oshibote Oodua, was announced at Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos, where members of the congress gathered in their numbers to mourn the passage of their former leader.
Dr. Fasheun died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH in the early hours of Saturday. According to the eldest child of the former OPC leader, Kayode Fasheun, the late OPC national president took ill briefly during the week before he finally passed on.
“He was sick for a short time and was taken to the hospital on Wednesday and discharged on Thursday. But then, we had to take him back, he hadn’t left the hospital for too long before a little relapse so we he had to go back. He was admitted at the ICU. He later became stable and we thought he was going to survive. But around 1.00 am today we got the sad news that he couldn’t make it,” he said.
Describing him as a caring father who wanted the best for everybody, Kayodesaidhislate father didn’t show any premonition before his demise, saying his death was sudden and shocking to the family. “I know that he lost a younger brother in March this year, he was the closest person to him but I don’t know whether that was a factor or it was old age. In fact he was very fine the whole of last week and the week before,” he recalled.
According to the young Fasheun, the late OPC leader is survived by a wife and six children; five sons and a daughter.
The Personal Assistant to the late national leader and founder of the group, Otunba Tunde Thompson, who also expressed shock at Dr. Fasheun’s demise said although the late OPC leader was 83 years old, he was still active, a development which he said made his death more surprising to the members of the group.
“Baba was 83 years-old going to 84, but be who he was, you either find him in his hotel, at his hospital or at project sites. So, we didn’t believe anything would happen to him at this point in time. The doctor advised him to rest and he was at home for two days and that was it,” he said.
Giving more insight on the emergence of Prince Oshibote as the new national president of the group, Otunba Thomson said, “ the Oodua People’s Congress, being a militant group has its rules that within the next 24 hours of the demise of its leader, a new leader must emerge and that was what they have done today. This, coupled with the instruction laid down by Dr. Frederick Fasheun that somebody must succeed him immediately, he had been in consultation with executive members on whom to succeed him and that is what has been done today. They have chosen Prince Oshinbote as Dr. Fasheun’s successor. They appointed him today and he has been shown to members of the sect who are present here today.
Although, Oshibote was not the highest-ranking chieftain of the group, Sunday Sun gathered that his emergence did not come as a major surprise to members of the congress.
The Lagos State Commandant of the group and Chief Security Officer to Dr Fasheun, Adewale Babatunde told Sunday Sun that although the late founder of the group did not publicly announce who should succeed him, he said the choice of Oshibote as Fasheun’s successor was never in doubt. “Many of us had thought Baba would announce Oshibote as his successor when we traveled to Ile-Ife in 2017 but we didn’t know why he failed to do so. But I guessed Baba did not announce him because the national officers had made Baba OPC life-President, so it won’t sound nice to have a national president side by side with the life-president. But I gathered that Baba left an instruction that Oshibote was in the best position to direct the affairs of OPC,” Babatunde revealed.
The Deputy National President of the congress, Alhaji Wasiu Afolabi in an interview with Sunday Sun said the late Fasheun, prior to his demise, had expressed the desire to have either him or Oshibote has his successor, but he claimed to have declined and suggested that Oshibote succeed him. “ I do not believe we should scramble over who to succeed Baba if we truly want the progress of the congress. We need somebody capable of steering the affairs of the congress. He had suggested to me before his death that he wanted either Oshibote or me as his successor but I told him I would rather support Oshibote as the new President. Baba is dead now and we have unanimously announced him (Oshibote) as the new national president. I promised to support him,” he said.
The new national president of the congress has promised to move the congress to the next level. Oshibote who lauded the contributions of the late leader of the congress was one of the founding fathers of the group and national leader of the group before his new appointment.
Meanwhile, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has described the death of Dr. Frederick Fasheun, as a great loss to the Yoruba race, Nigeria and the world at large, insisting that the late Odua People’s Congress (OPC) founder left behind a worthy legacy.
Adams, in a condolence letter he personally signed to commiserate with the family of the deceased, said that he received the news of the death with shock and disbelief.
“It was with great shock that I received the sad news of the passing on of our Papa and the founding the father of Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), which occurred today, December 1, 2018.
“This, no doubt, is a moment of great grief for the entire family of OPC, the Yoruba nation, Nigeria and the world at large.
“It is also clear that many people will share in the deep sense of loss which I feel at the moment following the demise of our beloved leader. That is the reason for this statement, which is to commiserate with the immediate family over this painful loss.”
Adams acknowledged that Fasheun really acquitted himself so diligently, and would also be remembered as a distinguished leader in all ramifications.
“The late Fasheun was greatly admired by the public and his peers as a straightforward and complete gentleman.”
The Aare Onakakanfo further noted that: “He was one of the good doctors trained in China. He was a former presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 90s. I see him as a father; I passed through him for a period of five years.
“Baba deserves all the tributes because of my relationship with him. He was my leader, father, and confidant for many years, and I appreciated him as a democrat.
“While alive, he demonstrated wisdom, honesty and good leadership. He lived his life to establish friendship, harmony and accommodated everybody who crossed his path. He was a community leader and a prominent patriot, with a track record of positive memories which the younger generations can learn from.
“He exhibited very good leadership qualities, wisdom and wealth of experience, which he put to use in the discharge of his responsibilities while upholding the traditional institution’s excellence.
“He would also be remembered for his invaluable contributions to building a better society. As a leader, he would be sorely missed by all of us. Therefore, on behalf of my family, the Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), I register my sincere condolences on the transition of our beloved leader and father and I pray that the Almighty God would grant his bereaved family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace,” he stated.
Similarly, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has mourned the passing of the founder of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr Frederick Fasehun, saying that the country has lost a major pillar democratic struggles.
Dr Fayemi, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, described the late OPC leader as an accomplished professional and a committed patriot who devoted his life to the struggle for the enthronement of democracy and good governance as well as in defence of the people’s rights.
Dr Fayemi recalled his relationship with the late OPC founder, describing him as a Yoruba man par excellence, a patriot who loved his race and country and did everything humanly possible to ensure that his people were free from tyranny and oppression.
Dr Fayemi said: “We have lost another strong pillar of our democratic struggles. Dr Fasehun would do anything to defend the rights of his people against any act oftyranny and oppression.
“Dr Fasehun fought a good fight as a frontline leader in the struggle for the democracy we now enjoy. He challenged and encouraged many of the younger generation with the way he fought for democracy with all his energy and resources.”
“We shall surely miss his amiable personality, simplicity, wisdom and courage.
“But we are encouraged by the fact that Dr Fasehun fought a good fight and left behind a good name and a legacy of selfless service that is worthy of emulation. This we believe should a source of consolation to the children and the entire family.
“Our prayer is that God grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and grant Baba eternal rest,“ the statement added.