Category Archives: Interviews

‘Buhari Has Failed Woefully And APC Had Lost Its Goodwill’ -Oyo Former Attorney-General, Bayo Ojo

Chief Mutalubi Adebayo Ojo read Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, he later proceeded to the University of Ibadan to study Law. He equally served as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under late Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State. Last Tuesday, he appeared on Ayekooto On Radio, a magazine programme anchored by Olayinka Agboola live on Lagelu 96.7fm, Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State
 On one of your Social Media profile pages, you wrote that laws must be used as tools of social engineering, for economic development and poverty eradication. Why did you think along this line?
Lawyers are called legal luminaries all over the world especially in a democracy to lighten paths and ways of their fellow citizens so that they can see through and will not fall or slip from their ways. Law is an object to develop the country and engineer development and tackle poverty.
 Today, as we are speaking, do you consider yourself to be a full fledge politician?
I must not pretend about that. I am a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  I formally joined the party very recently during the revalidation exercise. When I was in government under our late leader, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, I was not a card-carrying member of the party.
 What was it like when you were the Chief Lawmaker in Oyo State?
It was all about service to humanity, contributing your quotas to your community, state and society at large. All of us cannot be satisfied to remain in our comfort zones because if it is something we are going to eat together with our family and how to educate our children, we do not have such problems. Let us think of others who are less privileged and who do not have the same opportunity like us.  In life there are basic amenities of life such as food, shelter and education and health. Let us strive to make life more meaningful to people, I believe that any aspiration to be in government and public service should be geared towards service. As a commissioner, I served to the best of my ability.
 States are at war with  Government on the issue of the Value Added Tax collection (VAT). What is your opinion?
I have a very different view and I have expressed it at different fora before. Value Added Tax (VAT) is not listed specifically in the exclusive list. We have already had in place a VAT act – since the era of the military. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been collecting it from individuals, company without any level of protest from any level of government. It will be wrong for any state now to enact another VAT law like Lagos and Rivers have done. We already have a federal act which has covered the field and that will be inconsistent with any law that is happening now.
During the second republic, we had a similar case between Attorney General of Ogun State and Aberuaba which was litigated up to the Supreme court that it was stated that Ogun State could not enact sales tax.
Also, during Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State, there was this law that was enacted by Lagos state government on hospitality and consumption tax. It happened that Eko Hotel took the state government to court that they could not be paying the same tax when they were already paying same to the federal government and they won the case.
 Now, as a lawyer and politician, you know the way things are in Nigeria today – insecurity and economic woes, where did we get it wrong?
Leadership is the major problem facing Nigeria. Our current president, Muhammadu Buhari has failed and has disappointed many people. He has failed woefully and the party, APC has lost its goodwill that brought it to power in 2015.
 But some observers said Jugdes/Lawyers, Policemen and Journalists are mainly responsible for the situation Nigeria has found itself…
I do not agree with that assumptions that Lawyers, Judges, Police and Journalist are responsible for Nigeria’s problems today. We have all failed. We cannot have a better country if we do not have a good family unit. A good community cannot exist if there is a bad local government and state. We have lost it all and all sectors are affected.  We are the problems and if people in the country agree to change and do the right things then Nigeria will be better.
 What do you think is the difference between APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
There is no difference between the two parties. Our political parties are not ideology-based. They are just platformS through which one can get elected to serve. There is nothing like progressives’ party in my understanding. Both parties are bereft of ideologies.
 So, what is the way forward ?
We cannot keep complaining that because politics is a dirty game. It is dirty because majority of the people participating in it presently are dirty. We must not leave it to charlatans, we must all participate in it to improve the system.
 What is your take on the ongoing agitation for Yoruba nation?
Looking at the rate at which we are going in this country, unless Nigeria is restructured, we may disintegrate. Things are not at ease and we have never been divided like this before. The Hausas are seeing themselves as different from the Fulanis. There is nothing like one north again, even the Hausas and the Fulanis are even more divided than the south. We need to sit down and find solutions to the myriad of problems we are facing. Independence of Yoruba Nation is just one of the valid options to be used to solve Nigeria’s problems.

Before Covid-19, Nigeria’s Media Already Had Covid-18 -Edward Dickson, MD, Nigerian Tribune

-Ayotunde Ayanda
Mr Edward Dickson, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief at African Newspapers Nigeria Plc, the publishers of the Tribune Titles has said that the country’s traditional media houses already had ‘COVID-18’ before the advent of COVID-19.
According to the newspaperman, the media houses were already being treated at what he called ‘the proverbial intensive care unit’ adding that it was increasingly onerous and difficult to stay afloat in the business’s murky waters.
Speaking further about survival strategies for the newspaper industry in Nigeria, Dickson said “specifically, it has been hectic running the Tribune titles. Running publishing outfits like this has been onerous. As a business, it is one that has been so difficult to understand. One can never be able to understand it. I will tell you that every copy of our publications out there is being sold at a loss. Go to any newspaper house in Nigeria and find out.
“And, you see, it has been those of us that God put in charge that are doing our very best to ensure that we keep publishing even if we have to burn fingers. The newspaper industry must survive. It must not crash because if it does, then, our society will be in deep trouble.”
Reason for this, according to the University of Ibadan’s master’s degree holder in Managerial Psychology, is because “the typical newspaper house has a constitutional role to play as the watchdog and the conscience of the society.
“So, an average media manager sees it as his or her cardinal responsibility to ensure that the newspaper under his care does not die”.
Edward Dickson made these submissions while featuring on a weekly radio show, ‘Ayekooto on Radio’ anchored by Olayinka Agboola and broadcast live on Lagelu 96.7 FM, Felele, Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State’s on Tuesday evening.
While speaking about his most embarrassing moment as a journalist, Dickson said “There was this day in 1994 during the struggle for the actualization of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election believed to have been won by Basorun MKO Abiola- that day, I was in a combi bus going to work at the Punch Newspapers. I was seated at the back and it was time for the noon news on radio and it was announced  just shortly before we got to Onipetesi Bus Stop in Ikeja that the Punch Newspaper had been shut down by the then military administration.
“The reaction of my fellow passengers in the bus shocked me. They said Punch’s wahala was too much. Some asked if Punch was the only newspaper in Nigeria adding that it was good that the government shut it down. I was so shocked. And these were the people the newspaper was trying to represent by fighting for their collective rights. I was embarrassed more because at that time, I was the newspaper’s correspondent that was covering MKO Abiola’s house and activities surrounding him.”
The Tribune Editor also proudly confirm that he feels quite fulfilled as a professional journalist.
He said “I have always wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer all my life. Added to this is the fact that I was also resolute that I would work at the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper. I have enjoyed every moment of my life as a journalist”.
When asked to define who a professional journalist is, he responded “a professional journalist is somebody that has gone through prescribed courses in Journalism at the university or polytechnic or the institute of journalism. This experience makes a difference between him or her and somebody who merely knows how to string one or two sentences together in English or whatever language.”
Dickson added that the dichotomy between the traditional journalists and bloggers as well as those who operate on the social media will soon disappear.
“This is because we are at the infancy stage of this development. If you take a cursory look at the names of the people behind the numerous online publishing outfits, you will find out that they are mostly our colleagues who worked with the traditional media outfits who have moved on to establish their own newspaper platforms online. All our traditional newspapers also have online platforms.
While speaking about ‘fake news’, he said “Only those who seek fake news get fed with fake news. I belong to a generation of ‘old school’ journalists. Yes, I feel bad when I see folks publishing fake news. But then, if you see or read fake news, you will know. Most fake news stand only on one leg. It is a taboo to publish fake news or one-legged story at the Tribune House. The reaction of the other side must also be published. If you are interested in authentic news, you know where to go, even, online.”
On the issue of regulation, Dickson submitted “the media in Nigeria remains one of the most regulated.”
When asked about how he reacted when he heard about the demise of David Ajiboye, one of his former staff members who went on to become a management staff at Yinka Ayefele’s Fresh FM Radio, the top journalist said “the news of David’s death got to me as a shock. I met him in 1998 when he came in to serve as an intern at the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper. He was able to make a name for himself and before long, he became more known as an entertainment reporter and he went on to work with Dr Yinka Ayefele as his publicist. He later rose to become a manager of one of Fresh FM’s branches in Ado Ekiti. His death is a huge loss to the profession.”

‘What I Learnt From MKO Abiola’-RMD

Written by Ayanda Ayotunde

 

On this week’s episode of #WithChude was all about acting mogul and Nollywood legend Richard Mofe-Damijo, popularly known as RMD. The legendary actor, writer, producer and lawyer discussed different aspects of his journey to fame, including; how he has dealt with slanderous remarks, turning 60 and transitions between Journalism, Politics, Law and Nollywood. 

  

Starting out as a simple Warri boy who came to Lagos to hustle, Richard Mofe-Damijo wasn’t one to give up on his dreams. The talented actor revealed that despite being a big dreamer, he never anticipated all he has achieved in the past few decades.  

  

“I didn’t see all of it. All I said to my mom, standing before her as she was crying was, ‘Mama, don’t worry. You go see me for television.’ I knew I wanted to be in that box. That’s all I wanted”, he said.  

  

Richard Mofe-Damijo got more than what he wanted as he has somehow been in the headlines since 1989 when people peddled tales about him being a gold digger. The accusations began when he began dating the late Mrs. May Ellen Ezekiel Mofe-Damijo, who was older than him and at the peak of her career as a journalist at the time.  

  

RMD did not allow these challenges to get to him. In his words, “they have not given birth to the man that will make me feel inferior in this world.” Though it was not a walk in the park, as the remarks intensified before their wedding, he, however, disclosed that he was held up by the words of a prominent businessman, late M.K.O. Abiola, who stood as a support system for him through these times.  

  

“He said to me, ‘it is better that they wake in the morning, they are searching the papers to see what else you have done. Don’t be one of those who would go and search the paper to see what others are doing. So, make sure you give them stuff to think about every day,” he disclosed.  

  

The veteran further unveiled the different parts of his career journey, discussing his journeys into Journalism, Film, Law and politics, with each stint being marked by such excellence and eminence that have left many envious.  

  

Despite serving in these enormous capacities, RMD seamlessly transitioned to Nollywood and continued dominating the screens like he had never left. Speaking on this transition, he said, “It was an attitudinal thing. I didn’t leave Delta State to come back with a chip on my shoulder. It was like it was done, dusted and that was it. And I transitioned into what I love to do without asking for handouts, without asking for any special treatment or anything.”  

  

Despite his impressive 37-year career across multiple industries, RMD continues to remain humble. According to him, “I am just a simple warri boy that came to Lagos and found some fame and I am grateful for it.” 

  

As he celebrates his 60th birthday, Richard Mofe-Damijo keeps fascinating many as he effortlessly maintains relevance in the box he always dreamed of.  

  

‘I Am The Only Lawyer That Removed Four PDP Governors In Nigeria’ -Chief Niyi Akintola

-Remi Ajayi
 
 
Chief Niyi Akintola is not a greenhorn in Nigerian politics, he had seen it all while working with Chief Bola Ige and other Progressives to mould the future of Nigeria.  
 
He was a member of the House of Assembly at age 29 and he rose to the peak of his career when he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and one of the best in the wig and gown profession.
 
The politician was a guest of Southwest Group of Online Practitioners (SWEGOP) in Ibadan recently and he fielded questions on the aftermath of the last elections, his commitment to the APC and his future plans…
 
 
 
Right After The APC Primaries In Oyo State, There was A Particular Write-up From You Where You Described The Immediate Past Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What Went Through Your Mind When You Wrote That?
I said Uncle Biola Ajimobi was my brother, he was my brother in every sense of the word. We’ve come a long way and it was rather unfortunate that what happened really happened. Most of the people that claimed to know him today never knew where we were coming from. I remembered when I built a hospital for my community in 2006, Asiwaju Tinubu came down to lay the foundation of the proposed Teaching Hospital.  All the progressive governors were there that day, including those who were aspiring to be governors,  Adams Oshiomole, Chris Ngige, Fayemi, they were all present. Nobody has ever thought of having a cottage hospital anywhere in this country before then. Ajimobi was there that day too and he wasn’t a governor then.  Asiwaju that day said I should get ready to be the governor of Oyo State. I said I still have an elder and I pointed at Uncle Biola Ajimobi and said, these are my egbons, let them do first.
  I had the opportunity of stealing the show that day, but I didn’t. I took Ajimobi to Asiwaju Tinubu, this is what everybody knows. I took him there because they had fallen out and he was living in my house in Ikeja. I was on exile for 14 months, I was staying in the hotels and he was living in my house. When I had my own house in Omole all of them were coming there, including Chief Ladoja, Uncle Biola Ajimobi, Senator Amosun, Aregbesola, Fayemi…my place was the meeting point when we plotted against the PDP, and that was why it was easier for me to be the only lawyer that removed four PDP Governors in this country.
Ajimobi was actually staying in my house in Ikeja, in fact himself and Chief Ladoja were staying in my guest room. He was my brother and we knew each other far more than what I can tell you. Most of the people around him never knew him, they were just opportunists.
The write up was actually an interaction with a friend and compatriot from Ibadan who is a medical doctor. He put a call to me, I didn’t pick, so he messaged me on whatsapp to inform me about the loss of election by Ajimobi . I don’t dance on the grave of defeat of my adversaries, by my own assessment, I believe he would have been a better Senator, even he had his faults which I enumerated. it was Wole Arisekola that later called me from Dublin and said they’ve made 5000 copies of the write up to Ibadan indigenes in Dublin. That was it, I never knew it would go viral. The truth of the matter remains that I knew this man more than the people claiming to know him. They knew nothing about him, I knew him, we plotted many things together and like every human beings he had his faults and virtues, but he was the best. In terms of intellectual, he was articulate, he had class but unfortunately he lacked native intelligence. The write up wasn’t meant for public consumption, it was meant to be a chat between me and a friend who threw it out to the public. I’m not flippant, I choose my words.
After the primaries, you claimed you would quit partisan politics. But judging from recent activities, it seems you are coming back. Are you contesting again in 2023?
In the heat of the moment I felt betrayed and cheated and I knew what was going to be the implication for our party. Some of our compatriots don’t read and that has become the bane of our politics. If people read and look at the past… I saw myself in the same position  Chief Bola Ige found himself in 1998. Chief Bola Ige had been with the progressives since the 50’s . He anchored the Pan-Yoruba congress and we took a decision that the Yorubas should participate in the government. Bola Ige was in the thick of all these on behalf of the Yorubas. Suddenly some people just brought Chief Olu Falae and asked Chief Bola Ige to come and sit with Falae and he refused.  I’m an Ige boy and I’m proud to be. I was the one that asked him not to attend, it was outrageous. So my case was similar, and i looked at myself, with all the things I’ve done for these people , a lot of them were beneficiaries of my effort. I was the first in this country to remove a sitting governor and I was also the first to return an impeached governor. I had to go on exile because of these people and for somebody that joined our party in April to get the ticket in August, like Chief Bola Ige would say,  ‘do you expect me to start clapping?’.
 I don’t know why people don’t subject issues to perusal analysis again, no sense of value, no serious thinking, how did Yoruba degenerate to this level that we now tie everything to money? We have sense of value and concept called Omoluabi.
 I remembered in 1998 that Omisore financed the AD and we didn’t because of that throw the ticket at him.  See how he has been very useful to us the progressives of recent with what happened in Osun State. I was the one charged with the task of removing him as Deputy Governor. I went to Osogbo to remove him. How would you feel if you are in my shoes? I felt the way Chief Bola Ige felt. Just look at the conglomerate of the aspirants. We have a concept in Yorubaland called Omoluabi. One of the first lessons you learn in politics is to know your limitations.
 Some people, the only qualification they have is because they are from Ibadan. I didn’t just get up from the blues, I paid my dues, I went through the mills and that was why we are at this stage of quagmire because we have mixed it up. We’ve mixed the wheat with the chaff.
 Ordinarily the people our leaders would never sit with. Bola Ige would never sit with some people not to talk of them coming out to say they want to become Governor.
 I remembered in 1998, myself and Uncle Yemi Farounbi and Chief Tunde Adeniran, we were the foot soldiers of Uncle Bola Ige , we followed him to Abuja after the emergence of the aborted PDP . We actually wrote the constitutions of the PDP. Chief Bola Ige was the Chairman, I was an errand boy to him in that process and we produced the constitution, but when things could not work, we pulled out. We were to join another party called APP, but when we got there and saw Baba Adedibu and Governor Akala on the high table we walked out. But these days we sit with all sort of people, all sort of charlatans. People our leaders will not touch with a long pole. no more principles, no more value, everything is now about money. But there are some of us who still hold tenaciously to these principles.
So are you contesting again in 2023?
By the grace of God.
State of lawlessness in Nigeria and Oyo state has increased. What’s the cause and how can it be handled?
The issue of security is tied to social problems. If you subject the challenges facing this country to simple analysis, you’ll see that they are tied to our nonchalant attitude to the socio economic and political development in the country, the issue of crime is also tied to that.
 When we were growing up in the 70’s, we hardly find a Yoruba man begging on the street. In fact the Yorubas had this concept then, that when you are giving him free things they will start suspecting you. But they brought feudalism into our system.  Awolowo fought all his life against feudalism. he would tell you that its better to teach you how to fish than to give you fish. Have you ever read in the history where Chief Bola Ige was giving people rice, giving them garri? Our lives had degenerated to that level. They now call it stomach infrastructure which is another name for feudalism. The man who controls what you eat has taken all from you, and the moment that happens to you, it means the man has died in you, and when the man dies in you, you lose everything.
 As an 11 year old boy I couldn’t proceed to Secondary School, I had to go and do what they call ‘birisope’, there’s a house around Odo Ona there I was part of the people that lifted sand and stones to build it. I would trek from there everyday to my grandmother’s house at Foko, that’s what they call dignity of labour. But now you will see them standing in front of a rich man’s house to beg. We have over the years been creating social problems within the community.
We used to have ways and means of leadership recruitment, but it has been thrown away. Now what is used to measure that is money. I was barely 29 years old when I was a member of the House of Assembly, there were 52 of us. There were accountants, estate surveyors and other people with means of livelihood in our midst and that was why we were able to look straight into the eyes of the then Governor, that was how we did what we did and I ended up in the booth of a car.
 We stood up against tyranny, but today virtually all the Houses of Assembly are in the pockets of the Governors. If you don’t have a means of livelihood you would never be considered under Bola Ige. you must have been useful to the system over the years, you can’t just come from nowhere. Baba Akande was a chartered accountant before he became Secretary to the Government and later became a Governor. Today we have people we don’t know the source of their income all over the place. All of us are guilty of this.
You sometimes criticised Seyi Makinde, but recently you’ve been praising him. Why the sudden change?
I’ve not changed my position. I don’t belong to the class of disco critics, the disco critics never see anything good in their opponents. I’m a political scientist and a lawyer, a chartered arbitrator. I don’t belong to the disco critics who don’t see anything good in their opponents.
Seyi Makinde came on board and had no template. The template of the development of Oyo State was anchored by Governor Ladoja, give that credit to him. It is the template that Tinubu established in Lagos and others followed. When Makinde came and didn’t have a template I criticised that. When he decided to take up some projects, like reviving Ajoda… how many people have thought about that? Governor Jemibewon established Ajoda New Town, he established Agbowo Shopping Complex and the successive Governors did nothing about those infrastructures and Makinde touches that, I had to commend him. Idea rules the world, its not just for you to have degrees.
when Governor Makinde came on board and in a year didn’t have a plan and I had to comment. I told him we made our mistakes in APC and he capitalised on that, he used two weapons, Populism and Demarketing against us. He saw the fundamental mistakes we made due to lack of native intelligence and appraisal and he capitalised on that, but unfortunately for him, he has people like me to contend with. If he does well, I will praise him even to the detriment of our party, because our members would tell me not to praise him even if he was doing good, but I’m not a disco-critic and I can never be.
WHERE DO LEADERS MISS IT? THEY USUALLY HAVE LOFTY PLANS BEFORE THEY GET INTO OFFICE AND LOSE IT WHEN THEY GET THERE. HOPE THIS WONT HAPPEN TO YOU WHEN YOU ACHIEVE YOUR AIMS?
Morning will show the day, I was reading Tribune’s editorial comment  yesterday that said by their convoys you shall know them and I kept the copy. Those who ruled us before had money but they never flaunted or use it to oppress. By all standard Awolowo was never a poor man  and so also was Bola Ige and Jakande. But they never left their old houses, they lived there, even Lam Adesina. How many houses can you attribute to them? But those sense of value is gone, look at them. Only mad men use the same weapon and expect a different result. I was a Deputy Speaker in this state, I had an official car, a 504, my own personal car was a 505, the official car was given as a back up to my personal car. I was a Deputy Speaker and still go to court and  do my job. You cannot grow outside of your background.
If there’s any move in the future for you to step down again for another person in your party considered to also be competent, would you agree?
Why are you comparing apple with an orange? I’m a core progressive. Ours is anchored on legacies. Awolowo died in 1987 and we still celebrate him, so is Bola Ige. I’m an unrepentant Ige boy. Against that back drop I don’t see myself on the same level  with others.

Oloye Lekan Alabi’s Exclusive 70th Birthday Interview ‘I Stopped Wearing Suit The Day I became Jagun-Olubadan’ 

 
The Ekefa-Olubadan, Oloye Lekan Alabi is a man of many parts. A journalist, a traditionalist, socialite, commentator and the sixth in line to the Olubadan throne.  He recollects history, matches it with dates,names and shows age has nothing to do with memory. He also has an enviable record of serving four different government (both Military and Civilian as Press Secretary).
The former reporter with the Sketch newspaper would be 70 years in October and he answered questions bordering on his childhood, the prediction before his birth, his principles and how he got this far.
The High-Chief took the papermacheonline team  through the journey of his life, the triumphs and trials and how he excelled…
 
 
Can we start by saying a happy birthday to you?
Of course! That’s in order, I will be 70 years next month.
At 70, how do you feel sir?
I think age is a matter of number. I don’t feel any different from the time I know my left from my right, but biologically and medically one can notice recess in human activities like climbing stairs , walking in quick paces…all these have slowed down, but otherwise I don’t feel any different. I just look at it that I’m 70.  Moreso my mum is still alive, she is 92 and people still wont believe her age. I still look at myself as a child of a mother who is alive.
Recently you visited the ancestral home where you were given birth to 70 years ago, what informed that?
As I was told, my mum almost breathed her last at our home, Ile Ekerin Ajengbe, until my paternal grandmother’s older sister, Mama Adeola Alaro saw the danger. I was told life was almost going out of my mother, so she ordered them to pack and took her to her husband’s house. She was the mother of my late uncle, Baba Haroun Durodola whose corpse did not decompose for 16 years after his burial.
She took my mum to their house, SW1/60 Ile Tuntun and  that was where I was born and I was told my mum stayed in that house for three days. You know all these African belief, one must comply. I am my parent’s first child.  I remembered Daba Durodola was an extremely handsome man and very rich, he was my paternal uncle. I think we are all good looking in our family, both maternal and paternal.
What about your dad? You Hardly Talk About Him.
I can never forget my dad. Pa Oladosu Alabi alias ‘right time’, he was an extremely handsome man, hardworking and very responsible. He was very proud of me, when I entered Secondary School and became the class captain in Primary 2, 3, 4, and the School Mailboy in Primary 5, my father bought me a transistor set in 1963 when I was in Primary 6. He was a great man and very adventurous. He was working with a Dr Williams who was the colonial government medical doctor. When Dr Williams was transferred from Osogbo to Azare in the present Bauchi State, my parents followed him . My mum had to come back to Ibadan so that I could be given birth to in my hometown and not in a strange land. And by the time I grew up, my father was also trading in Yauri near Sokoto, later he moved to Lokoja. I spent my holidays with him in all these places. my father later moved our family to Enugu immediately the city was liberated in 1969 during the civil war. We stayed at number 86, Owerri road, Asata in Enugu where two of my younger sisters attended Queens College. I took part of my interest in travelling from my father.
Looking back, how fulfilled are you?
 
Since I became an adult I’ve always thanked God for the blessings. Those who know me intimately know that I don’t rush after anything. Before I was born, predictions had been made from both my maternal and paternal side. My mum is from Emure Ekiti, in Emure Ekiti my paternal grandfather, Baba Aaron Omotoso Osotun also contributed to the predictions, particularly my grandmother in Ibadan. They said a week before I was born an itinerant cleric, malim, those genuine prophet of that time came to our house and said there’s a pregnant woman in this house that they should take care of her baby. My birth was similar to that of King Sunny Ade who his parents had to move from Ondo to Osogbo because a prophet came to their house and prophesied that he would be great and bring fame to the family and Nigeria, but on the condition that he must be raised outside their town.
 Prediction was made before I was born and the malim after I was born was coming to our house to pray for me for one whole week. When I was told all these and I saw from the pattern of my life that everything had been ordered, anywhere I find myself there is usually promotion, advancement, and I would just laugh because I know about the prediction.
Did the prediction affect your growing up? You must have been pampered and spoilt as a child.
Let me now tell you what happened. At least I’ve grown up to know what I’m saying now. My grandmother also believed that her grandfather, Omolaja Ajengbe, one of the founders of this town who was an Akerin Balogun would reincarnate through her lineage. You know that time there was no scan, when my mother was pregnant they wouldn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl, the day I was born and she realised I was a boy she told them her grandfather is back. You needed to know my childhood, nobody must beat me…
Even your dad?
 
I said nobody must beat me. Again, I should not carry load on my head and there were certain duties I was excused from. My grandmother was a very powerful woman, Mama Asimawu Oduola Alabi, she was the woman leader of NCNC under Adegoke Adelabu. she was a powerful politician and a big time textile trader in Lalupon.  I could remember some aunties and uncles telling her I would be spoilt, she would take me into privacy, sat me down and said do you hear what they are saying? Don’t cross the border. She drew some borderline for me and once I don’t cross the border, there won’t be any issue.
And you obeyed her laws?
Yes, till today. I am one of those who will comply with any law, but on one condition, if it is not harmful physically, culturally and religiously, otherwise we may have to review that law, but as long as the law is made for public good, we must all comply. I’ve never been defiant, never!
Can You Share Your Childhood Days?
One day Adegoke Adelabu visited his Women Leader who happened to be my grandmother, they were coming from a campaign and they all came to our house. My father had gone to work, my father was very enlightened, he had worked with the British Roundtree company, they make chocolates. The Manager wanted to take him to England but his mother refused. In our house we had electricity and a radiogram. My father had switched off the electricity supply when he left for work, so when Adelabu came, they wanted to switch on the fan and radiogram for him and no one knew how to do that, and my grandmother was pacing up and down in confusion. I asked her, what is it? I was about 7 years old then.  I told her to ask someone to climb the chair and pull the switch, Adelabu was impressed and he gave me one shilling. I remembered he told my grandmother there that she should allow me go to Government  College, Ibadan. You know Adelabu was the best student in Government College, his records are still at the school unbroken.
 When I started school and I was first, that’s why they called me ‘ever first’ . At Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Oke Foko in Ibadan, I was there 1959 to 1963, I was the class captain in Primary 2,3,4,  and the School Mailboy in Primary 5. My role as the Mailboy was to leave school on any school day at 11am to go and collect mails at the Seventh Day headquarters at Oke Bola. In my final year I was the Senior Prefect, everything was just falling in place, but I missed going to Government College.
 Only two of us purchased the common entrance form. Myself and a classmate, Freeman Tonara, his father was a policeman. We were the only two pupils our parents could afford to buy the forms. So I filled Government College, Ibadan and Government College, Ughelli as my second choice.
In preparation of the First Leaving School Examination, the officials came to our school to inspect and they found just an arm of Primary 6, whereas the law then was that any school must have two arms minimum of primary 6. I wouldn’t know why the school management sent away some of our mates in Primary 5,  many were asked to repeat and some were demoted to Primary 4.  It was just few of us that got to Primary 6. So, when the officials came they said no, this is too few. So they went back to the Ministry and they asked for us to be distributed to nearby schools. Some of us were sent to Bioku Primary school, I and some others were sent to Ansarudeen Primary School. It has never happened and in the confusion our headmistress, Mrs Ola forgot to submit our forms.  When they were making announcements on the radio, my grandmother followed me to school to know my centre for the Government College exams, the headmistress broke down in tears when we got there, she had forgotten to submit our forms. The odd part is this, Mr Tonara, the police officer came into the school and was shouting, he was threatening to sue the headmistress. he demanded the refund of the form right there, but my grandmother didn’t, she said it wasn’t the fault of the headmistress.
It was Mrs Ola, the headmistress who now told my grandmother that there is a new school near Government College called African Church Grammar School and that the principal  is a disciplinarian. So instead of her refunding our 10 shillings, 6 pence, she went to purchase the African Church Grammar School form for me and that was how I ended up at African Church Grammar school, and I thank God, but my first son, Olayemi attended the Government College, Ibadan.
Can you remember some of your classmates?
Some of my closest friends are dead now. I remember Segun Adelaja, Femi Akeredolu, Abayomi Adegbesan. its a mixed school, I have some women that we are still  in touch, they are now respectable grandmothers, Yemisi Daniel, Wura Olukotun, the late Mrs Kalejaye, Sola Sonoiki was the closest to me among the female because we were the best in English and Literature. We had a teacher who loved and was proud of both of us, Mrs Margaret Odu who was formerly Margaret Spiff. I also remember Olumide Odusote.
What were the things you did as a boy?
In Yoruba culture, responsibility  is placed on the first born, they would want you to be a role model to your siblings.  I had that responsibility, which means I must lead by good examples. Secondly my grandmother was dreaming of an Adegoke Adelabu in me and from that angle too the expectation was high. Now I can see that my grandmother, my dad, mother and others could see the future.  I was taught about our ancestry, the aristocracy, the leadership, the exploits of my progenitors, so I was raised in that mould. My grandmother ensured all that. I would spend part of my holidays in Emure Ekiti with my maternal grandfather where my uncle was also the late Elemure, Oba Oshin.  There’s royalty on both sides of my family.
Then my school, Seventh Day Adventist mission school, Western Region  used to organise an annual camp meeting for 2 weeks, it was just like the NYSC scheme. our parents would pay and we would attend the camp with our mats and other utensils. There, they would mix all those would could afford to come on a large field. the first one I attended was at Ede, we went by train.They put us on the field and select at random and we would be put through leadership training and endurance. Despite being a muslim nobody ever raised an idea of conversion, they were good in those time. Lliberalism  was ensured. My name is Abdulrasheed and I attended Seventh Day Christian School. The training was of high standard  and it moulded our lives in orderliness, discipline and fairness. I also engaged in the activities of youngsters of those days, i played table tennis and visited Baba Jebe. Baba Jebe was at the place where the present Central Mosque at Oja Oba is, he was a bicycle repairer. we would go there and rent bicycles. I also played table tennis at Oloja, Gege and I played ‘toronto’.,,
What is Toronto?
 It’s what we called bootless soccer . I had a great time as a boy.
How did you come into journalism?
It was deliberate. After my Secondary School there was an exam called pre-lim that you take to enter university which I took in 1970. The centre was at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, and I was a village school teacher, that was my first job ever, at St John’s Anglican Primary School, Akinajo near Arulogun. That was the practice at that time , you had to get a job to prepare yourself till when the results  come out, or you go straight to HSC . I was in Akinajo enjoying my life. On Fridays I would come home. The ‘atokowagbowonle’ band that you see now, some of them were my pupils and they were staying beneath my apartment, the building was an official quarters and I was staying up. Anytime they were misbehaving , their father would come and call out to me ‘teacher’ and they would all run away. Their father was the official drummer of the NCNC and when he got to know that I was the son of ‘MamaI Ile Ekerin Ajengbe’ (that was what they used to call my grandmother)  wow!
So, one day he called me and asked why I was always going to Ibadan on weekends, he told me I can also enjoy myself at the village. He had an engagement that weekend and he took me. I was at a VIP, they put all sort of food and meats in front of me and I decided I was no longer going to spend the  weekend in Ibadan again. But unknown to me, my admission letter into the University of Ife was at home, nobody knew Akinajo in my family. they didn’t know the content and they didn’t open the letter. When I got the salary for that month and  came home, they gave me the letter and I opened it, I realised the interview had been conducted. I was the first passenger on that old Ife road that morning to the University of Ife. I’ve been saying this that I hope the admission officer was still alive. When I got to the office and he saw me, he shouted at me asking why I was just coming, that I came first in the exams. Despite not knowing me, he was taking me from office to office and was trying to present my case, but in those days there were standards and nothing could be done, its not now that there is a shortcut to everything.  They said what they would do for me is that I would not write the coming year exam. That month I left the village and was looking for another job in the city.
That year Onibonje Publishers at Felele advertised for the position of an Accounts Clerk, and I was very poor in mathematics, but I felt since they are a publishing company I could have an experience in printing. So, I applied, did the written exams and the oral interview. Around 4pm they called us out and said when you hear your name, stand here. They started calling names and they called the last name and said these are the successful candidates, they now turned to us and said we were not qualified and we could apply whenever there was notice for vacancy again. Later they asked ‘who among you is Mr Lekan Alabi?’and I raised my hand, so they asked me to step aside and there they told me that I came first but my mathematics was very poor, but that because of  my performance they would appoint me the first Editorial Asistance of the company. I was glad, because that was exactly what I was looking for,  and that was how I became the first Editorial Assistant of the company.
At  Onibonje my boss was the younger brother of Baba Onibonje who was the Chairman. Our department dealt with all manuscripts and as the editorial assistant they would bring all manuscript to my table, whatever comment I wrote on any manuscript is what I would pass to my boss, and he never changed whatever comment I made. Whether to accept or reject, they rely on my judgement. So Sketch newspaper now advertised position for Reporters, Writers, Readers Grade 2 and I applied . The interview was conducted by Sketch management and the Western State Ministry of Establishment. Nigeria used to have standards. Those of us who passed were invited for interview, and only two of us were employed, i and Baba Goke Morenikeji, he assumed duty a week ahead of me because I needed to give Onibonje a notice that I was leaving.
At Sketch they put me on the Yoruba desk called ‘GbohunGbohun’. Sketch in those days used to be Sunday Sketch and ‘Gbohungbohun’ was the yoruba version.
 I was a regular at WNTV. I had a column titled ‘MO RI FIIRI’. I forgot to tell you that I was very good in Yoruba, I had distinctions. In my column I was writing about current issues. So one day I went to a party and I saw a band playing just exactly like Ebenezer Obey’s.  When they had a break I went to them because I knew all the band members of Ebenezer Obey at that time. I was a member of ‘Come Let’s Dance’, I dance very well and  I was  also a member of Chief Afolabi Majekodunmi’s King of Boys Circle. It was a social circle at that time. Baba Majekodunmi was a big time transporter that , he was the King of boys, he likes boys flocking around him. He drives a Chevrolet and he would take us to parties.if you don’t dress well he would tell you not to follow him. He taught us many things, he was grooming us socially, and that time he had his eyes for those of us that are brilliant and had focus. It was the focus that led me to journalism and I became a great writer, I thank God for what He had done for me and I’m still thanking Him for what he is doing.
So I attended the party and interviewed Makanjuola the manager of the band that  sounded like Ebenzer Obey. I asked if they were Ebenezer Obey’s second band, he flared up and told me they were all copying Tunde Nightingale. I wrote the article and gave it to the editor of Sunday Sketch, the late Mr Philip Bamidele Adedeji. He published it and it caused trouble. People never believed I wrote the story because it was well written. He called me and said the article I wrote was standard for my age and experience and that it raised dust and he asked if I was the author  and when  I said yes, he asked me to write another article. I learnt there was a play going on at Obisesan Hall that night, I bought a ticket , went there and reviewed the play and gave it to him. He was so happy. he now said I should go to the photo section where they took my picture while the editor designed the montage and named the page WHATS HAPPENING. it was a review of play,books, theatre by Lekan Alabi, it was a very popular column and I became the first dual columnist in Yoruba and English, not only in Sketch but in this country. From Sketch I now went for my professional training in London at the College of Journalism 62, Fleet Street.
When I came back I joined NTV , from there I became  one of the pioneer staffers of TSOS, Television Service Of Oyo State in 1982. I was later seconded to Governor’s  Office under Governor Bola Ige as Press Secretary.  We won the 1983 election, but FEDECO said otherwise and the rest is history. But instead of allowing me to go back to TSOS the government of Dr Victor Olunloyo said no and anybody who returned to either O.Y.O or TSOS were sacked, Many were sacked and many were transferred. So they were all begging but I refused to beg. My father and uncle were puzzled, they were socialites of that and friends with Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu. My father went to Adedibu, and Adedibu said ‘Lekan Alabi? Ijesa Ni Omo yen!. That was because I was so loyal to Bola Ige. He said they should bring me, but I refused. I said i would not beg. All the pro-Ige in the civil service were sacked, they were calling us UPN sympathisers. So I was home for three months without a job. Lo and behold! There was a coup.  I could remember the headlines in the newspapers then ‘Happy New Year, Happy New Government because the coup took place on the 31st of December, 1983. My father was looking at me and was wondering, was this the reason this boy refused to beg? Did he know there was going to be a coup?  He summoned the family meeting the next Sunday and relinquished the leadership of the family to me. The leadership of the whole Alabi family!.
The following month, I was reappointed as the Press Secretary to Governor Oladayo Popoola. There were many miracles in my life.  My letter of appointment came but the officials  said they couldn’t locate me, they were lying. The new government  ordered all the people dismissed, suspended and penalised by the civilian government to return, so that the new government can set up special investigation panel to look at the case.

‘Gbenga Adeboye Knew Me As His Boss’ Veteran Broadcaster, Olalomi Amole

Late broadcaster and comedian, Gbenga Adeboye has been described as the trail blazer in the industry who opened windows of career opportunities for others within and outside Nigeria.
This submission was given on Tuesday by  veteran broadcaster, Aare Olalomi Amole whose career has spanned over 40 years, while featuring of the weekly Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio anchored by Olayinka Agboola and aired on Space 90.1fm in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The Ibadan-based on-air-personality also lamented that the death of Adeboye was a huge loss to the Nigerian broadcasting and entertainment communities because of his versatility.
Speaking further during the radio show, the man popularly called ‘Aare Mekunu’ by his teeming fans submitted “You see, I can never forget the day Gbenga Adeboye pleasantly surprised me. I can recollect that he actually invited me to LTV 8 in Ikeja, Lagos where he was marking his 20th anniversary as a broadcaster.
“On that day, he had, as part of the programmes of the day, an award plaque he was to give some of us who were his special guests. When it was my turn, he snatched the microphone from the anchor of the day’s event. He then announced that he was going to present mine to me personally.
“He later brought out a bundle of 20 naira notes and ‘sprayed’ me. Afterwards, he told his audience that I was one of those who inspired him to become a broadcaster. He described how he used to stay glued to the radio in order to take notes from what I and my partner then, Segun Durodola, used to say on Radio Nigeria. He said he used to carry out this assignment together with Alhaji Gboyega Lawal”.
Amole added “I will say it here that though I started my career far ahead of Adeboye, but he was the one who took the business of stand-up comedy beyond our country’s shores. I used to follow his exploits. He was the one that inspired us too to take our ‘talk-talk’ trade overseas”.
The Ace broadcaster also lamented the lack of provision for remembrance of broadcasters and journalists in Nigeria after their deaths.
The veteran while speaking on his journey into broadcasting, explained that he worked as a traffic warden for about four years before he decided to resign his appointment and pursue his dream as a broadcaster.
He said he started out in the 1970s by participating in a radio drama titled Laugh and learn on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria(FRCN), otherwise known as Radio Nigeria.
Speaking on his relationship with Segun Durodola, he noted that the station brought them together on seeing their matching energies, and they became a popular pair on radio.
The Ibadan broadcaster attributed his lack of immediate formal education to the death of his mother when he was just two months old. He added that he had a father who was barely present while he was growing up.
He said he was trained by his grandmother who died sometime after his primary school education.
Olalomi urged rising broadcasters to take the trade with all seriousness regardless of any challenge, using his life as an example of one who was not deterred by his background and difficult upbringing.
He also stressed the importance of professionalism, giving an instance of how he alongside his partner used to go extra miles.
“We used to visit Palm wine joints, and sometimes, we also traveled just to generate content and sharpen our skills as broadcasters”.
Olalomi also took time to discuss how he met his present radio partner, Akomolafe Olaiya.
His words “Sometime in 1992 after Osun State was created out of the Old Oyo State, my then radio partner, Olusegun Durodola had to relocate to Osogbo, the new capital of his home state, leaving only me to continue with our Radio Show then (Abule Teretayo).
“My bosses then expressed apprehension that it would not be easy for me to get another partner but I told them that the God I served would make a way. “By this time, I was with the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State and the FM Radio was at Mapo. A lot of young men were auditioned but I trusted in God. Then, one day, I heard a young man talking on our FM Radio. He was on-air to fill in for Akinboade Ologbojo who could not run his programme on that particular day. I took interest in the young man. He fitted what I wanted.
“So, the following day, I went to the station to try and convince my bosses to fish out the young man for me. Well, God made sure He completed the assignment for me on that fateful day.
“As I was stepping into the Radio Station, Akinboade Ologbojo just came in with the young man in question and he handed him over to me emphasizing that I should go and try him because I would find his talent useful. The young man’s name was Akomolafe Olaiya. The rest is now history. We have been together through thick and thin since that time.”

‘Oyo State Should Expect The Best’ Dep-Gov, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan

Many know that Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, holds a degree in Civil Engineering, not many however know what he went through before he could achieve his dream of becoming a graduate. The Deputy Governor once worked as a labourer and even went as far as selling bread to make ends meet.
In this interview with Omi Tuntun’steam, made up of WOLE ADEJUMO, TUNDE AYANDA and OLAWALE AWE behind the camera, at his Oyo Road, Ibadan office, apart from narrating how providence and the quest to make Oyo State better brought him and Governor Seyi Makinde together, Engr. Olaniyan explained that the new government is headed by people who do not have obsessive tendencies.
He also spoke on how the experiences they have garnered over the years will help them in formulating policies that will restore the confidence people of Oyo State used to have in the government.
Excerpts:
How did you meet Governor Seyi Makinde?

We met by providence or you can call it destiny. We met on the political field. We met while we were playing the politics of how to move Oyo State forward by being at the helm of affairs. We met as competitors and funny enough, we ended up as friends.

You wanted to be Governor, so at what point did you decide to team up with him and why did you take that decision?

We both evaluated ourselves on the field and the space. We were over 40 on the field, at a point we were over 65 on the field. Life is a matter of give and take; if it is for the purpose of moving Oyo State forward, my brother, let me tell you, three people cannot be governor at the same time. So it had to be a matter of give and take. You know everybody has his own area of comparative advantage, so after analyzing with people, if you don’t have something else that you are looking for other than how to move Oyo State forward, we have two things in common; one, the task of getting the All Progressives Congress out of Oyo State, the second is that I prefer making life meaningful for the citizenry and Engr. SeyiMakinde’s number one task is to make life abundantly easier for the people too. That is another common area.
From the little time you have known him, how would you describe his person?
Perfect gentleman. He is a focused person, he is not loud. Being an engineer too, you know we have some things in common. If you want me to tell you one of them ,itis brilliance. That is a common denominator of people who can be an engineer.