Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Tuesday asked journalists to focus more on responsible and developmental journalism, and avoid sensational reportage as well peddling of unsubstantiated news and other actions capable of causing crisis in the country.
Abiodun made this call at the official inauguration of Olusegun Osoba Press Centre located at the Governor’s Office, Oke-mosan, Abeokuta.
The governor assured that his administration will continue to assist media practitioners in the discharge of their duties faithfully.
“Please be responsible in your reportage. Don’t sensationalize in your reportage but promote things that will bring peace to the country. On our part, we will continue to work with the media for national building”, Abiodun noted.
While thanking the media practitioners for the support being given to his administration, the governor explained that the Press Centre is named after the former governor of the state, as a demonstration of the commitment of the incumbent government to press freedom and in appreciation of the cordial relationship his administration enjoys with the media.
Describing former Governor Osoba as a “nationalist and an achiever”, Abiodun said he will always be remembered for using journalism to contribute to nation building rather than divide it.
He further stated that Osoba’s exemplary contributions to journalism had helped him to attain a greater heights in politics, urging media practitioners to emulate the professionalism demonstrated by the former governor.
Chief Osoba in his speech at the event gave hints on the journey of his life after he left governor’s office.
He said :”The first 16 years of my leaving this office have been very, very traumatic. I never came back, I became a snake that doesn’t go back to where it has turn over its skin. This premises became no go area for me. To imagine that in my life my return to this premises will be this glorious is something of emotion.
Mr. Governor you will not know how many hours you have added to my life with this action today. It maybe hours, it maybe weeks, days, it maybe years, but you have added something very great to my life today.
The first eight years, I was virtually declared persona non granta in Ogun state, well that is settled, those involved have come to apologize.
My name was sent to EFCC so many times, one barrister Sofu was paid by the government to be taking advert in all papers claiming of all infractions of any kind. The EFCC investigated and investigated because everything was documented in files , they found nothing.
I couldn’t come to Abeokuta not to talk of visiting the office of the Governor. The other eight years that one also became problematic.
I didn’t produce Governor Dapo Abiodun, all of you saying I produced him, no, I didn’t produce him, God produced Governor Dapo Abiodun. He was not in the reckoning, he was never one of the aspirants. In fact, when he came to me I said no, no, no, how days are left, but God is great. When God decides on something you can’t explain the ways of God, so I didn’t produce Governor Dapo Abiodun, God produced him and I thank God that I was part of that process.
My pride is that I am Egba man, I’m from Abeokuta where the first newspaper started and for me, it is part of my ambassadorial job as a representative of my own community to make the profession of journalism great because the first Editor of Daily Times was an Egba man, so for us Egba and Ogun state journalism is a major professional pride to all us.
When you have a Governor who is not suffering from inferiority complex, he will do what I will call continuity.
When I left office, I was so harassed to the point that all the plagues and the symbols of all the projects I did were the first to be removed all throughout the state.
Even the Government House that we built, that Government House was built by direct labour, the architect, Adenuga was from Ministry of Works, the Engineer who designed the structural work is Oyewunmi, he is a product of the Imperial College.
Everything was done by direct labour and it cost only N68million. The plague that we put on the wall, the pretended that they were putting all kinds of stones on the wall and removed it to show as if Osoba never existed.
So, Mr. Governor what we are doing here today, you are bringing back old terrible memories and making it a happy and rewarding memories for me, not only this some of the projects that we did are landmark.”he narrated
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of PM NEWS/The News, Mr Bayo Onanuga, described Osoba as a good land mark to emulate in journalism.
He said, “Osoba and his leagues of friends were the ones who encouraged us to do journalism. I received the notice of this commissioning late this morning, around 10am. But I had to make way to Abeokuta when I heard the press center was named after Osoba”.
He also applauded the state governor for works well done in the state most especially Ijebu Ode-Epe roads as he noted that he does not have to spend a long time on the road before he gets to Abeokuta.
Also, former presidential spokesperson and columnist, Dr. Reuben Abati, noted that Ogun State has produced top class journalists who played important role in the development of Nigeria in general and Ogun State in particular.
He described the achievements of the former governor as “legendary”, noting “Chief Osoba is man who distinguished himself as a journalist per excellence and an astute politician whose administrative acumen helped in the transformation of the rural areas of the state”.
The Olota of Ota, Oba Abdul-Kabir Obanlege, acknowledged Chief Osoba as a great teacher who was always looking out for the welfare of his colleagues.