NUJ award: I Was Conscious Of My Position, Omipidan Replies Fasure

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Spokesperson to the immediate past Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, has said he was conscious of the revelation he made with regard to what transpired concerning the controversial investiture of former Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, as the NUJ South West Grand patron.

He said he was only true to his conscience stating the facts as they were, saying he is not like those around Aregbesola who always want to paint lies as truth and pass same off to the members of the public.

Omipidan was reacting to the claim by Sola Fasure that his admittance of calling of the NUJ president over the matter might be a slip on his part, saying Omipidan was suffering a “Freudian slip.”

Reacting, Omipidan said “Go and read the piece well. I gave the background on why I made the call. I was an acting NUJ chairman and a stakeholder in the NUJ project and having realised Aregbesola’s controversial investiture did not meet the standard, coupled with the attempt to drag the union’s name in the mud, I needed to be concerned. This is why rather than castigate the union, I decided to reach out to Mr. President.

“Egbon Fasure, those who advised Aregbesola to go for that award did not do well. You ended up portraying him as a man desperate for relevance and recognition at all cost, however it comes. Otherwise, six councils make up the zone. All six council chairmen, including Osun, where Aregbesola is supposed to come from, kicked against it. And you still went for it. I have spoken enough on that. Suffice to say that I am not like you. I am a communication expert. I say exactly what I want to and mean to say.

“I did not practise in Osun. But I know Aregbesola did not have the best of relationship with Correspondents’ chapel and a host of other Journalists in the state. It is on record that he declared ‘war’ on them, sent them packing from Government Press Corps, and I can go on and on.

“Recall our encounter during the so called celebration of 10 years of unbroken rule of progressives in Osun, where you first confirmed publicly that Aregbesola was planning to celebrate 10 years of progressive governance in Osun, and that Governor Oye­tola was aware and was also part of the programme. By the time I debunked your claim, you came up with another explanation that Aregbesola was visiting Osun in line with presidential directives to ministers to visit their states over EndSARS.

“Only recently, after trying to support the lie of the current administration that Oyetola was responsible for the current indebtedness of the state and I countered the claim with superior facts, you came back to say you never spoke for Aregbesola and that it was your own view. I can go on and on just to show how consistently inconsistent you have been in recent times.”

On the alleged bribe, “I never said anywhere that you issued an official statement. I said
Wale Alabi, one of your megaphones, made the allegation and others around you reechoed it and it was elevated by the Deputy Editor of your paper, Ismaeel Uthman. If by your admittance, that ‘there was no report from the office of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola that money was given to anyone,’ don’t I deserve an apology from you people for accusing me wrongly? Did you do anything to dissuade them from making the false allegation against my person?” Omipidan asked.

Omipidan further said he is usually at a loss each time his principal is accused of going “against everything that had to do with Aregbesola,” when in actual fact majority of those who served in Oyetola’s cabinet were carryover from Aregbesola’s cabinet.

“Even you, Egbon Fasure, were hired by Oyetola and he paid your salary till the last day even after you became Aregbesola’s official spokesperson as a minister. The only thing I know Aregbesola complained about in secret, which he shies away from saying publicly because of the backlash, is the education reform which we embarked on. The issue of single uniform, reclassification of schools, change of schools names among others. This is the real crux of the matter. If anything, the position of the Ilesa Grammar School recently over the decision of our government, is a further testament to the fact that the reform of our government resonates with the majority of the people of Osun.

“The 2018 election, for me, was a referendum on Aregbesola and whatever he stood for. Recall as the political editor of The Sun, I had a deep conversation with you off-the-record over the party’s candidate before Oyetola’s emergence. But since the information was given to me in confidence, I would be violating the ethics of the profession if I go into details here.

“For me, what happened in 2022 was designed and destined by God. But as a journalist who covered the pre -election 2018, election and post-election activities, I can say with all sense of modesty that Aregbesola was never committed to that project 100 percent.
In 2017, was the APC not defeated in the Osun West senatori­al election? It won just one out of the 10 councils while the PDP won nine councils. Truth is, it was that misfortune that followed the APC to the 2018 governorship election where it garnered 255,505 votes, and struggled to win the election. As governor , Aregbesola lost four out of the six councils in Ije­saland, Aregbesola’s homestead. If Oyetola and others had behaved the way Aregbesola did in 2022, in 2014, would Aregbesola had won that re-election?

“But during the 2022 gover­norship electioneering when Aregbeso­la did not get involved and instead worked against Oyetola, the APC secured 375,027, an addition of 120,000 votes from 2018. If Oye­tola actually made more enemies, there was no way he would have recorded that increase in popular votes,” Omipidan declared.

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