- John Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, has responded to this column’s “Eventually, Fayemi wins the argument…” of 9th June.
In so doing, His Excellency, or his media handlers more appropriately, played clever by half, abandoning professionalism to the bargain. They sent their reply straight to the editor and gave him the impression they had sent me a rejoinder, which I ignored. They cleverly but surreptitiously wanted to avoid me or, better still, ambush me. But for the professionalism of the editor, Sina Oladeinde, he would have published them without recourse to me. Worse, he would have gone away with the impression that I was not acting professionally; that I refused to give a reader and complainant his right of reply, which clearly would have established malevolent motives against me. God be my witness, I strongly object to this crass unprofessionalism and underhand tactics. Now, enjoy their response! You may find it thrilling just as I did. I chose not to edit it so you can have all the frills and thrills. They entitled it: “Haba, Oga Bola, what’s amiss these days?”
Read on: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. -Proverbs 23:23 “First, I must appreciate you sir, for making me a regular beneficiary of your weekly column, “On the Lord’s Day,” which you often forward to me through my mail. You must have carefully selected those who deserve to read it. While the column has not commanded the desired respect for reasons better left unexplained, you still do, at least, with me sir.
Oga mi, ki lo nsele gan an? I know you very well, and I still remember what you stood for in those good old days. You went through the school of professional hard knocks and no amount of any financial inducement would have swayed you against your conscience. You were always on the side of the truth then.
But can I still vouch for you as the same Bola Bolawole of our Punch days, sir? Somebody drew my attention to the fact that you have seriously derailed, that you have mortgaged your conscience and have upended all you stood for in our Punch days. I refused to buy such “crap” though. As our Oga at the top in the Punch newspaper, that would be unsaid and unheard. You would have fired whoever attempted to make such claim.
Oga Bola, you did not only pay your dues, you were at a time victim of the high-handedness of a military junta. As the then editor of the main Punch title, you were detained for three days in your office in the old building of Punch at Kudeti Street, Mangoro, Lagos. That was in July 1994. During the closure, the military government of Gen Sani Abacha ignored a court order that it should vacate the premises of the company and to also pay the sum of N25 million to the company and N100,000 to you.
But despite all you suffered, Oga Bola, I recall that your exit at the Punch was anything but glorious. As our Deputy Editor-in-Chief in the late 1990s, a letter of sack was sent to you at home while on a forced leave and some of us didn’t take kindly to it. To us, the organisation cheated you and it was a painful exit to a glorious career.
Years have gone by. Of course, you may have weathered great storm between then and now. I admit that Oga Bola of today is not going to be Oga Bola of yesterday. But nothing should have tampered with your conscience so much that you have now chosen a cash-and-carry approach to deploying your values. The experience may have tampered with your principle as a non-compromising journalist, but not with your integrity. Integrity is holding fast your convictions regardless of the consequences and never compromising your ideals or values even if it affects the bottom line.
In those days, I could predict what Oga Bola would go for, and that he would not be lured with any lucre. I am distraught that our same Oga Bola has now descended so low as to be running errands for a discredited Ayo Fayose. Where was Fayose when you were building your reputation? I could stake a bet then that if there would be a time you would have to pitch a tent between what a Fayemi stands for and what a Fayose stands for, you would choose a Fayemi, warts and all. Anyone who had predicted that at such a time as now Oga Bola would be dining with the devil and even doing its bidding would have drawn my ire. The Oga Bola I knew was principled, and could not have been a Fayose media goon.
Now, to the point I have to make. Despite claiming in your writing, as reflected in your last article, to have a direct access to Dr. John Kayode Fayemi and that he could willingly take to your advice, you still went out to spew bile about him just to please a Fayose. Please tell me it is not true that you’re now on media retainership with a Fayose, and I will take you for your words, despite the glaring evidence. Refer me to any positive story you might have written about Fayemi in the last one year despite all the positive things the governor has been doing since he took the mantle in Ekiti State. Or my Oga wants to say that he has become blind-sighted to good governance? Yet you see nothing bad in whatever Fayose does. You even encouraged him at a point to play Trump and take a shot at becoming the President of Nigeria. How does this read to you?
Oga mi, feel free to argue your position, but you are acting contrariwise to your belief. To you, Fayemi is a devil and Fayose a saint. Your recent article, published in your usual column, On the Lord’s Day, entitled: “Now Fayemi has won the argument” said that much. It is in bad taste and a poor, unconvincing PR job for Fayose/Eleka, just like every other article you have written about Ekiti. You have taken a position against Fayemi in recent times, and this is uncalled for.
Imagine you, a Bola Bolawole, writing that the 2018 Ekiti Governorship election, which Fayemi won fair and square, was “blatantly” rigged, that Eleka won that election “handsomely.” While Fayose won that of 2014 fair and square, notwithstanding the federal might. Seriously, Oga mi? Were you in Nigeria then? Would you have staked your eternity in defence of such position? Assuming a reporter had brought in such story, would you have published it as an editor?
You also went ahead to claim that the APC was more vicious in 2018 than the PDP was in 2014 in Ekiti State, arguing that “federal might or no federal might, “Ayo Fayose would still have won the 2014 election hands down,” because, in your words, “Fayemi was doomed in that battle.” In your words, you went round Ekiti sampling people’s opinion and they said Fayemi did for Ekiti what he wanted for them, not what Ekiti wanted for themselves. Really? Oga mi, you mean Ekiti people did not want “owo arugbo,” they didn’t like the way they were making inputs into the budgets, they didn’t like the regular payment of their salaries and could not appreciate other forms of social investment. Yet they loved to be denied their salaries, they loved to be scammed through unnecessary public display of aggrandisement and impunity by Fayose and they would rather prefer the building of a flyover to building of their values? You mean Ekiti people preferred and still prefer a Fayose to a Fayemi? Haba, Oga mi! And you wrote all these in a column you have ‘sobriquetted’ On the Lord’s Day, with no hoot for the fear of the Lord?
Oga mi, you accused Fayemi of being too elitist and said you loved the way Fayose was jumping from one okada to another. Ehn-en! I still can bet that the Bola Bolawole I knew and respected in the Punch days didn’t write that. Someone did on your behalf, and that person should stop faking you sir. The joke is getting too far and is scattering your strong integrity to smithereens. All those things are way, way below you, sir.
I recall your article of November 21, 2016 entitled: Watch out for Fayose. In it, you wrote that Fayose would be contesting for presidency and would spring surprises like Trump did in the U.S. Yet, you threatened in your last article to hold Fayemi’s feet to the fire if he should dare to do same in 2023. Are you for heaven’s sake implying that should the choice be between the two, you would prefer a Fayose as your president as against a Fayemi? What stops you from also gunning? Or are you less qualified or less competent to do so than Fayose? I bet, whether Fayemi answered the question positively or negatively, you still will diss him and all the positive things everyone has seen him to be doing. The reason is simple sir: Like Judas Iscariot, you have been paid to betray a Fayemi. Even when Fayose was rude to the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti to the knowledge of all, you still went ahead to explain it away in your article titled Knocking Ewi and Fayose’s Heads a Second time.
According to you, it was no big deal. Some people were only making a mountain out of a mole hill. O ga o. So Oga Bola, has chosen to expose himself to public odium by embracing those things he stood against as a principled editor of the Punch era!
Oga mi, while I cannot afford to be rude to you, I implore you to retrace your steps back to your old beliefs that good is good and bad is bad. It doesn’t require any extra intelligence to know who is good and who is bad between a Fayemi and a Fayose. Honey, by whatever name, will remain sweet. Hemlock, by whatever name, is a poison.
Oga Bola, now you know why the weekly column you are labouring to put together is not commanding the respect it deserves. Your reporter, Segun Dipe”
I hope you have enjoyed yourself! I wrote a response to the editor after my first reading of Fayemi’s response above. Space will not allow me publish it here today. I will do next week, plus snippets of what I think about some of the points they laboured to make.
Haba! Oga Vice-President Osinbajo!
Humour apart, can’t you see that sensible people can make some sense even out of the ranting of flippant people? You can see that their title better fits their own “Oga at the top,” the vice-president, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
A minister’s son was kidnapped; a governor’s convoy was ambushed; the president’s own uncle was kidnapped; Ekiti under Fayemi has become herdsmen and bandits killing field and playing ground; Nigerians are under siege; the South-West reels under the weight of these atrocities – yet, our “son” says the matter is exaggerated; the media has blown it out of proportions. Haba! Yemi Osinbajo!