Friday, August 24, 2018 3:01 pm
On the demolition of his Music House, Mr Yinka Ayefele, Chairman of Fresh Fm and the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, reconcile
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Everyone now heaves a sigh of relief like a train that has just arrived at the station after a long tortuous trip. Reason: On Thursday, 23 August, Mr Yinka Ayefele, Chairman of Fresh FM, and the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, reconciled their differences. It was the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who brokered the piece.
Trouble started between the two men on Sunday, 19 August, when the Music House that housed Fresh FM, a radio station belonging to Ayefele, received strange guests in the form of clanking and rumbling bulldozers from the Oyo government. By the time the metal visitors left, part of Ayefele’s structure had been reduced into rubles. It was as if the Oyo government, that day, stirred the hornets’ nest.
From every angle, the Governor became the butt of snide remarks. This became worse when government and its lawyer, Chief Yomi Alliyu, started singing discordant tunes with the former claiming in court that Ajimobi knew nothing about the demolition, while Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun stated, at a press conference, why the structure had to go. According to him, the Music House ignored his request for an application for a new building plan “having established through an inspection that the building violated its original plan without seeking physical planning approval from the state Bureau of Physical planning and development control.” He countered Ayefele’s claim that what happened was a result of political witch-hunt by Ajimobi who once visited his (Ayefele’s) radio station showering his host with saccharine encomiums.
Watch the video here:
Worse still, there was a video of the governor on social media, saying that Ayefele’s physical challenge and his being an employer of labour should not be excuses for breaking the law, after all, bandits have workers! With that, Ajimobi’s critics shrieked the more, baying for his blood. The Governor said this in Yoruba, as shown in this video:
Ayefele, however declared: “We want to make it clear that Music House followed due process in the construction of the building and got relevant approvals from state departments and agencies associated with lands and buildings.
“Saying that Music House Complex is responsible for three accidents that occurred on the road in the last nine months is just an attempt by the Commissioner to run away from his shadow. How can a reasonable person say that? It is not news that the Governor of the state himself said some politicians came to him to demolish the Music House Complex because Ayefele is not in their camp and he also sang against them. We have the Governor on tape, so the Commissioner should look for another excuse. We know it is the Commissioner that is misinforming the Governor who we hold in a very high esteem. The Commissioner has tried in the past to influence a change in our programmes saying some of our analysts should be replaced. We want the general public to know that Music House has not in any way contravened any building plan law as the Commissioner has mischievously said. Music House has been in existence for almost 10 years and we have all necessary documents backing the building from relevant government agencies.
There is, however, truce now. The Governor, according to a post by his spokesman, Bolaji Tunji, assured Ayefele he had nothing against him and was only interested in ensuring that the proper thing was done, that the laws of the state were followed, emphasizing that the responsibility of government is to preserve lives. Ajimobi assured that the case would be looked into since the facts have been established that building laws were breached.
Having accepted his apology, the Governor, as Bolaji explained, set up a committee comprising govt officials on one side, Ayefele and members of his team at the other side, to look into how the matter could be resolved. Traditional rulers, led by the Alaafin of Oyo who had a meeting with the governor around the same time also chipped in and pleaded on behalf of the popular crooner.
• Additional report by Gbenro Adesina