Senator Ajimobi’s government is suffering from information dissemination malady. Please overlook my Zebrudaya grammar, it’s only because I am angry with the Oyo state government media team, seriously angry.
Whatever the governor does, good or bad, he is left alone in the cold to defend himself to the extent that one is tempted to think they are planted there by opposition to work at cross roads with their boss.
Otherwise, while would a very laudable move like the Ibadan chieftaincy commission that should earn the governor accolades across the city turn round to be an albatross hanging precariously on his neck, if the government has a capable media team.
With all the plethora of media personnel, from the commissioner to senior sepecial assist, special assistant, senior media adviser, media adviser, media consultants and officers, the government media presence is almost nonexistent.
Yet, it didn’t start today. At times, I wonder whether the governor does not know his media team is so alarmingly weak or he simply let them be.
Ibadans are really angry on this chieftaincy matter and the anger is deep, no thanks to lack of information by the government. The people see it as an affront to their culture and Oba not an elevation and modernisation as the government intended.
Had this been properly explained to the people, what should normally have engraved Ajimobi’s name in Gold would not have turned out to be a huge liability on his political balance sheet. Indeed, the media team has successfully tuned a gold medal to an also ran.
Like I said, it didn’t start today.
First, the 5billion naira his wife was allegedly caught with in London during his first term. I took it as what it was a palm wine bar gossip in Oje or Beere but was shocked when a level 12 officer in the ministry was asserting it with all vehemence in my office.
Won ti ko owo wa lo tan, won mu iyawo re pelu 5 billion. They have stolen all our money. They caught his wife with 5Billion. I said 5 billion? Yes 5 billion cash with all emphasis she relied.
Then I said, which Airport, Heathrow or Gatwick? Won sa mu. They caught her. Why was the woman not taken to court because in England nobody gets away with an offence like that-money laundering. Won ti fowo pari e. They settled them with money.
I ignored her but she went ranting and when she was getting too much on my nerves I decided to pick her up.
Madam, you said 5 billion? Yes 5 billion cash. I said I am sure you know what a billion is? Before it came out of my mouth, she said yes, 5 atofo mesan. 5 and nine zeros. I said yes .
Madam as a level 12 officer, you sure know what 100 thousand is, to which she replied a pack of 1000 notes and quickly added that 10 of which make a bundle of 1million.
Then I said a billion will be a thousand of that and that 5 billion will be 5 thousand of it. She nodded her head. It was then I went for her jugular.
Madam, how many trunks would contain that amount of money, 10 at least? Even n dollars it would be some boxes. And you think Ajimobi will risk ferrying 10 trunks of cash though Murtala airport under a PDP government and went ahead to rail them through Heathrow airport. I don’t think the Senator would be so daft.
She went cold having realised the foolishness of her assertion? The lady did not alter any more word and was gentle like water in a bowl till she left my office.
Now, did I have to do that when there is a media team for the governor? They left him alone struggling to defend what ordinary should have been waived off by a media officer with sound logic, yet it was in the air for months.
Now the guy is making roads which are not costing peanuts.
From Gate to Adegbayi, from Oke- Adu to Gate, from Idi Ape to Barracks gate along Olonda road and one other.
People are grumbling everywhere. Who sent him to build roads, after all people are still using the existing ones?
There is communication hiatus. Nobody is telling them that people spend as much as 3 hours on busy days on the stretch from Idi-Ape to Ojunrin.
Nobody is educating them to the effect that vehicle staying on the road without moving end up damage the road. They are not being informed that vehicles do not like idling. Nobody tells them that traffic grid lock means more fuel consumption. In all, nobody is tells them the cost implications of all these. Is it my job to do this. You know the answer.
Fayose’s all boys children are out there spending money like water but somehow he gets the press silent about it. The news you hear about them is the one who graduated from Covenant University which his media team turned into Michel Jackson best hit-bluer than blue.
You see, Fayoses children are schooling in Nigeria unlike APC kids. Of course, some of us rubbished that. If Fayose wants to be a role model he should have sent the boy to the University at Ado-Ekiti. In any case, Covenant University is as expensive as a low-fee- University in London. Perhaps the guy could not even meet the admission requirements.
In Ibadan, Ajimobi’s daughter’s attempt to defend his father when some nincompoops were abusing him was turned against the governor and went viral like a flash. The man was left alone to wriggle out with no noticeable support from his media team or did I miss something?
Back to this Ibadan chieftaincy declaration brouhaha. I have tried to engage some Ibadan indigenes on this twice and I am convinced that if this had been explained to them, it would have turned out a success and Ajimobi would be smelling of roses.
Our discussion went something like this.
Why would Ibadan be different I asked them. See, in Ijebu, Awujale is sitting there in all his majesty, while Ijebu-Igbo, Ago- Iwoye, Odogbolu, Ikenne and many big towns with paramount rulers are each a maximum of 20 minutes away from Ijebu-Ode and all Ijebus know their number one king. Oh, No. that is their culture, Ours is different, they answered.
Ok, what of Egba? Abeokuta is not half of Ibadan yet they have 5 paramount rulers in the same town. Osile of Oke-Ona, Olowu of Owu, Onigbagura of Gbagura and Olu of Ibara with Alake of Egbaland as the first among equals. No that is Egba not Ibadan, they chorused.
I am proudly Ekiti and feel so good as an Ibadan boy, my state does not have as many vehicles as Egbeda and Lagelu combined yet we have a king almost every 10 kilometer, I prof-erred.
For effect I added. Guru Mahraji to Moniya will take you about 60 minutes drive by which period a crazy driver would have gotten to Osu or Ilesha in Osun state. Yes, that is their own, Ibadan is different, it is our culture. They cannot do this with the emirs.
I reminded them that in recent History Abacha dethroned a reigning Sultan. Babangida banned the emir of Kano and Ooni of Ife from travelling out for 6 months, we still drank our Akamu the following day, I replied. They accepted.
What do you call culture? It evolves and never static I said. At a time if you had twins you better let nobody know. Now, people have quadruplets and even ask the government to take then over their feeding.
At a time in Yoruba land, when an Oba died, you had to burry some people with him but today nobody dares. Before, the king would just take anybody’s wife and add to the harem in his yard without anybody as much as lifting a finger. If a king does that today, he will stand in the box with his crown and beads. They listened and I went for the icing on the cake.
Ok gentlemen you want Ibadan state? Yes why not. Ok, if the government approves it for you tomorrow you will accept? Yes of course they chorused giving a look like what is this fool asking us. Who will refuse a state?
Now, by next week the president says he wants all first class Obas from the South West in Abuja. EKiti goes with 20, Osun has 20, Ogun goes with19. Eko has 15, Ondo flies in with 21 and the new Ibadan state goes with 1, does it not seem like something is wrong somewhere ? Silence. End of argument.
This is what the media team should have done. A one hour questions and answers time with a top Ibadan man or woman in government on the radio and TV with all stations anchoring would have done the job.
Before we are through with this, there is one very important aspect of the declaration which many people missed out because nobody told them- the average age at which the Olubadan ascends the throne.
They all get there aged because of the many rungs on the ladder they have to climb. At that age they have lost the vigour and strength to be effective.
Government says the ladder will be shortened so that an Olubadan will ascend the throne younger with more strength to do the job. The Ifes went for the younger Ogunwusi instead of his father because he is still young. If his father had been chosen, it is doubtful if he would have been as active as the younger one.
The way out is to explain this issue to the Ibadan people and let them know they have much to gain in this declaration. You cannot force it down their throat.
There is no way they will get a state with one King and it pays them to have a young Olubadan as against the octogenarians they end with all the time.
If the media team cannot do this, let the Governor flush them out and bring fresh hand. Or, they go to Lagos government and study how they do it there. Alternatively, the governor should organise a seminar for them on ‘ how a governor enjoys a good press’.
Oloye Lekan Alabi, Aare Alaasa Olubadan ,will be the chief lecturer. He served 3 governors if my memory will not fool me. Oh, I forgot, that is if he is sold on this.