My reaction to Olawale Rasheed's aspersions on Oyetola, Iragbiji - Jimoh Olorede


As a media trainer and professional, when I got to know of Governor Ademola Adeleke's Spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed's derogatory remarks on a live radio broadcast about the ex-governor and newly-nominated minister, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, CON, and his fast-evolving city, Iragbiji, the first step I took was to get the recorded defamatory remarks. I got it and listened to Mallam Rasheed's needless vituperations, casting aspersions on the integrity of his principal's predecessor in office. He didn't stop at Oyetola; he went ahead, passing unkind and unfair remarks on Iragbiji, my beloved town. 

As a don who has graduated many students some of whom are now stakeholders in this same field of Journalism, Mass Communication and Public Relations like Mallam Rasheed, I know what the governor's spokesperson needs is basically a reorientation-cum-tutelage, especially on the dictum of the profession, or at least, a reminder of the necessity of his adherence to the dictum.  

For somebody of his vantage and position as Chief Press Secretary to the incumbent governor of the state, I expected some taste of decorum from Mallam Rasheed. 

There are different types of journalism. Mallam Rasheed's style of the practice unfortunately appears to be yellow and sensational with emotional reactions to issues. I strongly advise him to jettison this adversarial and antagonistic style of journalism. 

You accused Oyetola of sectionalism when the gentleman was the governor of Osun, and you based your accusations on the elevation of his four kinsmen to the position of Local Council Managers. Mallam Rasheed, in your highly subjective opinion, your principal, Governor Adeleke, is praiseworthy for his extreme nepotism and cronyism evident in his allocation of more than thirty juicy appointments (with many others yet unknown) to Ede, his country-home, including his appointment of himself by himself as the Commissioner for Works. And in your naive comparison, you crucified Oyetola for elevating his four kinsmen, who officially must have risen through the promotion ladder, to the position of local council managers. Can you imagine?

I nudge Mallam Rasheed to come along with me as I briefly reminisce about Oyetola's strides, especially in Ede and his love for the ancient town as Osun ex-governor. It's an indisputable fact that the man you accused of sectionalism first considered Ede, not Iragbiji, his country-home, as the first point of contact for the commencement of road rehabilitation and construction as soon as he assumed office. His goverment rehabilitated the deplorable and almost-impassable Oke Gada to M. Ade Junction Road, Ede; Oke Gada to Barracks Junction Road, Ede; and Barracks Junction to Ejigbo Town Road. If you're oblivious of these facts, kindly endeavour to find out.

Again, the fact that the ex-governor, and to the glory of God, an awaiting Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Adegboyega Oyetola, also gave Ede what he never gave "his small town, Iragbiji" in terms of political appointments shows his love for Ede, however not necessarily more than Iragbiji, but for his belief in egalitarianism. 

I charge Mallam Rasheed to ask the following Oyetola's ex-appointees all only in Ede about the kind of leadership he exemplifies:

1. Commissioner for Federal Matters, Hon. Yidiat Oluwayemisi Babalola;

2. Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Prof. Yinusa Olalekan;

3. Commissioner for Human Resources, Alhaja Latifat Giwa;

4. (Facilitated) Ambassador to Mexico, Hon. Adejare Bello;

5. Commissioner 1, Teaching Service Commission, Hon. Omoyele Alabi;

6. Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor on Empowerment, Hon. Lukman Abimbola Bello;

7. Governing Council Member, Ilesha College of Education, Hon. Muraina Adekoyejo; 

8. Amotekun Corps Commandant; 

9. Board Chairmen (both state and federal);

10. Board Members (state and federal);

11. Rehabilitation of 21 Primary Health Centres;

 12. Rejuvenation of Ede Fire Service Station; and 

13. Youth engagements.

Now, I put it to Mallam Rasheed to tell me one single thing, just one thing that his principal, governor Ademola Adeleke has done for Iragbiji since assumption of office. None, of course, nothing, to the best of my knowledge. Rather than reciprocate Oyetola's virtuous gesture and love for Ede, the governor is hell-bent on vendetta and vindictiveness. 

Casting aspersions on Iragbiji's corporate as well as symbolic historical existence is a dangerous path you shouldn't thread. Your contextual derogatory description of Iragbiji as ". . .that small Iragbiji town . . .", was uncouth and didn't depict you as someone with civility. 

Mallam Rasheed should ask history; it doesn't lie unless manipulated. Iragbiji and Ede co-existed when many of what he would unwittingly refer to as "big" towns today were not in existence. Till today, the Timi of Ede, His Royal Majesty, Oba Dr. Munirudeen Laminisa and the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, His Royal Majesty Oba Abdur-Rasheed Ayotunde Olabomi Odundun IV continue to friendly leverage on the historic and peaceful co-existence of the two ancient towns. I advise Mallam Rasheed to apply his wisdom as it's sacrilege to even think of passing unprintable comments on Iragbiji.  

While I advise Governor Adeleke to change his adversarial disposition to Oyetola and Iragbiji, I admonish - in strong terms - his spokesperson, Mallam Olawale Rasheed to be careful with his style of yellow journalism, just as I advise him to apologise to Oyetola, His Royal Majesty, Aragbiji of Iragbiji, and all the indigenes of Iragbiji. I pause for now, while expecting both the governor and his town-crier, who knows which town is "small" and big, to harken as advised. 

*Jimoh Olorede, Ph.D*, don, editor, researcher and academic scholar  writes from Oderinde's Compound, Iragbiji, Osun State. He can be reached via [email protected]/08111841887.

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