3:42 pm - Friday November 16, 7708

AJIMOBI: ‘Bolekaja’ Emperor playing ‘Amala’ Politics with journalists’ lives ‘Democracy dies in Darkness’-Washington Post mantra *QUOTES: ‘Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty’-Plato * ‘The one indisputable reality of dictatorship is that dissent, insult, and malevolent language do not go unpunished if it is allowed at all’-Ferdinand Marcos BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN Bureau Chief, Naija Standard Newspaper

AJIMOBI: ‘Bolekaja’ Emperor playing ‘Amala’ Politics with journalists’ lives
‘Democracy dies in Darkness‘-Washington Post mantra
*QUOTES: ‘Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty‘-Plato
* ‘The one indisputable reality of dictatorship is that dissent, insult, and malevolent language do not go unpunished if it is allowed at all’Ferdinand Marcos

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN Bureau Chief, Naija Standard Newspaper
“AS Journalists, we cannot swallow the official line without question. We should challenge almost everything that dictators, presidents and official say”-Jorge Ramos

HE’S BEEN SO LOVED by the natives of Oyo state since he came to power on the populist wings precisely on April 2011 elections under the political party of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. The masses at every opportunity adore Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi which was why he could freely drive around the nooks and crannies of the state reciprocating the ‘pure love’ of the electorate by waving back at them in the open.

But event of August 19, 2018 in the state which led to the demolition of Fresh F.M. Ibadan, a Music House estimated to have cost Yinka Ayefele, Nigeria’s famous juju musician ‘on-a-wheel-chair’ a whooping sum of N800million appeared to be the ‘last straw that broke the camel’s back.’

Immediately news reached the natives of Ibadan and the entire globe through the social media that Music House had been demolished into debris-anger, hatred and injustice rent the air, as majority of Nigerians from all walks-of-life seem to have apportioned blame on the doorstep of Ajimobi.

The ire raised by the demolition invariably raised the heat of politics in Oyo state, as many who had earlier supported the governor seems positioned for ‘no-love-lust’. There was great public outcry all over the world, as majority of Nigerians, even the masses of Oyo decried Ajimobi’s attitude- a former oil executive described as an ‘Emperor’, a sovereign ruler of great power and rank, especially one ruling an empire of Oyo, even when he is not a king, but would always refer to himself as ‘the constituted authority’. This vice, few political analysts believe as an outdated ‘Amala politics’, a maneuver of self-praise and bitterness in the polity that turns leadership into ‘Bolekaja’ governance-a pitiable rulership in fear, obeisance as seen during the era of Lamidi Adedibu.
Also, the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, openly chastised Ajimobi for reckless use of power, acting as ‘Lord of the manor’ with a claim that the demolition was a worrisome development and did not speak well of the state government.

Towing the path of the masses, The Director-General of NBC, Ishaq Midibbo-Kawu, reportedly said in Ilorin: “The development is worrisome because for all it is worth, the broadcast outfits are playing a big role in reducing unemployment, especially in this situation where many young Nigerians are idle. They also play social, informational, educational and entertaining roles in the society.

“Such development does not speak well of the government and has a negative effect on the nation, especially at a point when more broadcasting outfits are influencing the social space in the country. In this case particularly, there are so many issues that can be weaved up negatively by people. We hope that as we move forward, we will be able to find a solution to the situation. When the NBC got hint of the demolition, we made some contacts with some people in the state.We could, however, not stop it.”

Ajimobi at that juncture was already feeling the outrage of the people, since Ayefele employed over 300 journalists in Music House and had been able to prove that there is dignity in labor, instead of the series of crime daily committed by Nigerian yahoo yahoo youths which brings opprobrium to the nation. Ayefele also sought and obtained an injunction from Oyo state high court against Ajimobi’s administration some days before the Music House demolition.

The Emperor lost it when in a hush and impromptu news gathering he compared Ayefele to ‘an armed robber’, seen by millions of Nigerians as the height of irresponsibility on the part of an elected official.

This was in spite of the evidential approval for the Music House long obtained by Ayefele. Investigation conducted by this reporter showed that Toye Arulogun, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism who could not successfully manage Murhi International Television, MITV then as General Manager had assumed the role of ‘Man-Friday’ to allegedly ensure Ajimobi was proven right on the demolition.

The once-always-smiling governor was obviously livid with anger that the public outcry of the people may mean the eclipse of his political achievement and relevance as he convened an emergency meeting on August 23, 2018 at the Governor’s office in trying to find a way to be out of the intractable logjam. This was after a coincidence meeting Ajimobi had with first class monarchs led by Alaafin of Oyo same time, as the later mediated in the crisis.

Having bloated ego, Ajimobi nodded his head as Ayefele’s team entered his opulence office and prostrated before him, a behaviour only common with Emperors. The constituted authority smiled away at the click of pictures taken by his administration’s private photographer. Same time in the closed-door meeting the photographer regularly upload the meeting’s pictures on social media.

After few hours of the reconciliation meeting, Ajimobi allegedly lamented that he would have halted his ‘plans’ against Music House only if Ayefele had earlier begged him. Giving a clearer picture of the meeting is David Ajiboye, a Director and Public relations publicist for Music House who reportedly said: “On Thursday, we were at a meeting organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria at Golden Tulip when we got a call from one of the governorship aspirants in the state. He told us that the governor would like to see us. I was at the BON meeting with Yinka Ayefele and his younger brother. We felt that since they were the ones that invited us, we should honour the governor’s call; so we excused ourselves from the BON meeting and went to the governor’s office. We got there at about 12noon but the governor did not get to his office till about 4 pm. We did not leave the governor’s office until about 7 pm. I was at the meeting with Yinka Ayefele and his younger brother.”

Ajiboye noted that although they insisted on having a closed-door meeting with the governor, they were shocked when pictures of the singer and the governor surfaced on Twitter a few minutes into the meeting.

“When the governor came into the office, we all prostrated to greet him being that he is older than us and we told them that we did not want cameras. We wanted a closed-door meeting with the governor so he asked the pressmen to excuse us but his private photographer did not leave the room. We noticed that while we were talking with the governor, the photographer was taking our pictures and uploading them on their twitter handle immediately. The governor later invited his team to come and join us in the meeting; his team comprised the commissioner for information, a governorship aspirant in the state and about four special assistants. The governor told us his grievances. He told us that he could have saved the situation if only we had come to see him. He felt we ought to have come to beg him and our chairman, Yinka Ayefele, pointed it out that we had since told the commissioner for information to book an appointment with the governor. He further said that he called the SSG to help him book an appointment with the governor even before this incident happened and the commissioner corroborated his claims but said that the governor was unavailable at the time,”added Ajiboye.

For further understanding of the meeting, Ajiboye said: “Coincidentally, there were about ten monarchs who were also waiting to see the governor as at the time we were waiting for him. They were led by the Alaafin of Oyo; so when the Obas saw Ayefele, they decided to rally round him. After they had met with the governor, they came back to meet Ayefele and possibly plead on his behalf to the governor. That was when they allowed the cameramen to enter and we felt it was more or less a set-up because we wanted a closed-door meeting. We did not want cameras but there was nothing we could do because we were at the governor’s office. The monarchs appealed to the governor to help Ayefele rebuild the music house. After the monarchs left, the governor also left us with his team and told us to iron things out with them.

“They claimed that they wrote several letters to us but that we ignored them, they went ahead to say that we did not have a Certificate of Occupancy for the building and we showed them all the proof. They all agreed except one commissioner who said that we have to do damage control because we have dented his personality and that of Oyo State government. We had to tell him that it was beyond us because we did not ask people to abuse their government. If they had not demolished the Music House, people would not lay curses on the government. That was what happened at the meeting. The governor’s team said they would get across to the governor on Thursday night to brief him and they would get back to us. We would wait for what the outcome of their meeting with the governor would be. We are not taking any position now.”

All said and done, what if Ajimobi had waited and allow the case in court already served his administration to run its entire course or allowed till the following week working days, instead of the hurried way and manner the Emperor pursued and vent his anger against Music House.
This Emperor should remember this words of Charlie Chaplain that “Dictators free themselves but enslave the people.”

Filed in: The SITUATION ROOM

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