Posted by By Chioma Anyagafu, Assistant Editor on
MRS. Iyaboh Fasehun, wife of the founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun knows it is time for her to make a quick adjustment in the absence of the her husband.
MRS. Iyaboh Fasehun, wife of the founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun knows it is time for her to make a quick adjustment in the absence of the her husband. And this she did. since her husband was arrested and detained. Chief Fasehun has taken over the running of the family businesses even as she confesses that it has not been easy.
How have your husbandís businesses been running since he was taken away?
Well, I have to make adjustments, to close my own shop. I have to keep the flag of my husbandís businesses flying. I have a supermarket but I have since locked it up because I have to be here (Century Hotel at Okota). I have not been able to open my shop since my husband was arrested. I come to the Hotel everyday to ensure everybody is comfortable especially with the fear the last police raid created in our staff. Some of the staff have gone. They refused to come back after the raid. The ones that still come around need encouragement and that is what I have been doing.
I had to clear up the mess they made of the place during the raid the first time and employed new staff to replace those that didnít return to work due to fear. But on December 3rd, the police came the second time. Around 5-6 in the morning. But this time around, they asked for the manager and he came out to meet them. That day, there were some church members doing their vigil at the hotel extension. Some of the buildings within the hotel complex are being used by churches. Three churches use this premises every Sunday and one of them was holding vigil the day the police came the second time. So, you can imagine the lie being told that people are being killed here. If that is going on here, how can three churches be using the hotel complex without knowing people are being killed here?
We are open for business. I had to replace some of the glasses damaged during that first raid. We cleaned up the mess and opened up for business. And they came again but they were civilized this time around, at least, they produced a search warrant and the manager took them round the offices. They took what they wanted to take from my husbandís office, they took a calabash on which was written OPC which they broke the first time they raided the hotel. This time around, they took it away. They took a book written by my husband on ďOPC, our mission, our vision.Ē They took some things and went round the rooms. We had some customers in the rooms.
Do you mean that people still patronise you after the raid?
Of course, people still come. They said they feel protected, safe in this hotel. People came for a wedding from Onitsha to Lagos and they were here. That was when the police came the second time. Business is still on and so, I locked up my supermarket to be coming here everyday to do some of the things my husband used to do. I stay for sometime here and then, I go to the hospital. You know, my husband is a medical doctor. I am a trained nurse. I need to be giving both the staff at the hotel and those at the hospital moral support. Like I said, some of the staff left. Those that didnít are so scared but when they see me around, they are encouraged.
How has it been at the home front?
I read somewhere that all our children are abroad. It is not true. My children are in Nigeria. It is only my daughter who is a medical doctor like her father that is living overseas. The children are all grown-up but they are still bachelors and spinster. I have to put in extra effort to co-ordinate the home-fromt and direct them. We need to stick together.
Itís not been easy. What would I have done without God being by my side? I donít know what would have happened to us. It is the Lord that is watching over the family. You see me looking radiant and you think itís my own making; no, it is God. It is the grace of God and it is this same grace that still makes it possible for people to patronise us despite the police raids. The other day, we had a wedding reception here. The young man who did his wedding reception was discouraged by people but he held on and nothing happened. No police invasion, no sporadic shooting in the air. They were here till night and nothing happened. Nobody was attacked. It would not have been possible but for God. He has been our comfort, our peace, our joy.
My husband will get worried if he gets to know that weíre not strong notwithstanding the travails. So, we have learnt to be strong. The children have learnt to be tough. There was a time my daughter came to Nigeria. She went somewhere and met armed robbers on her way. They gave her a hot pursuit and she lured them into the premises of Century Hotel and into the hands of the OPC. If you are a child of Dr Fasehun, you have to believe in his cause. The children know that and since his incarceration, they knew they have to carry on or their father wonít be happy where he is. So, we have to be strong.
How has she always coped with Dr. Fasehun being incarcerated from time to time?
From the time my children were younger, they have had to cope with this. You see, when a thing like this happens, you worry. When this OPC thing started, I did everything to discourage him but he said itís a cultural thing and when I couldnít stop him, I had to support him. He said itís geared towards maintaining and strengthening the Yoruba culture and something tells me this is his destiny and I could not stop it. So, who am I to stop him from carrying on? Do you know what has been done to stop the OPC? It is a divine arrangement.
You see, when they first took him to Abuja, they would have killed him by keeping him where they did; with hardened criminals. And you know what hardened criminals could do to a fresh inmate? They have all sorts of leaders inside the cell. But by the special grace of God, they respected my husband. Ordinarily, somebody doing the work of the devil does not give a damn. He just obeys the master but God intervened. On getting there, they respected him. The condition of the cell was a different story.
You can imagine, a man of seventy years. And barely a year ago, he had an open heart operation. He travels overseas for check-up but since they took him in, it has not been possible. So, let them release him for me. The court has already done that but he was re-arrested. He was arrested on the day he was to have his 70th birthday party. He did not attend his party. They should release him for Xmas.Ē
For a family that professes christianity, how did the police find coffin, charms and all that in his office?
Would you believe such lies? If they said they found those things, definitely not from this hotel. They know where they got them from. Let them show the coffin to the public. Why did they have to come again when they had all that? Anyway, he is comfortable where he is but as they say, no place like home. They should release my husband to be home for Xmas.
These terms and conditions contain rules about posting comments. By submitting a comment, you are declaring that you agree with these rules:
Failure to comply with these rules may result in being banned from further commenting.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice.
This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.
Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.
The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.
A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution
May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.