It’s 35 years ago this month,that my humble self,and several thousands Nigerian public/civil servants,earlier dismissed/deployed/victimised for political reasons,were re-instated into our former posts,on the orders of the Generals Muhammadu Buhari/Babatunde Idiagbon-led Federal Military Government of Nigeria.
Following is my own aspect of the historic return after political victimisation,or “manouvering”,to quote a former old Oyo State Governor,Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo. You will read about his parts in this piece.
In 1982, I resigned from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)Ibadan and joined the newly-established Television Service of (old) Oyo State(now called the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State Television (BCOS-TV),Ibadan,Oyo State of Nigeria.
On 1st February, 1983,I was seconded from TSOS to the Governor of Oyo State,Chief ‘Bola Ige,SAN,(now late)as a Press Secretary. So also was Femi Mapaderun from Radio O-Y-O.We thus formed a triumvirate with Gov Ige’s incumbent Press Secretary,Dapo Aderinola,with Mr (now Dr) Yemi Farounbi,the Special Assistant on Information to Gov Ige,as Chairman.
When the now-defunct Federal Electoral Commission(FEDECO)declared Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo of the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria(NPN)winner of the 1983 governorship election in Oyo State,his government sacked or deployed public/civil servants suspected by it of having sympathy for Chief Ige or the now-defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Expectedly,I fell an unfair victim of the sweep of the Olunloyo-led NPN OYS government.
Whereas,all the affected TSOS staff know how they manouvered their way,one way or the other,back into their former posts,I was left in the lurch,because of my refusal to crawl on my belly back to TSOS. Without sounding immodest,I didn’t compromise on principle,and will never do,God willing.
It was,therefore,an unexpected,but pleasant NEW YEAR(1984) present,as it were,for me,when the military toppled Federal and states civilian governments on 31st December,1983. Among the new FMG’s first acts was the order restating all the victimised public/civil servants to our previous positions, followed by investigations into reasons why the toppled governments took their 1983 decisions.
I, thus returned to my former desk at TSOS (please read the letter below).
As this piece is captioned,”AYANMO ‘O GBOOGUN (DESTINY CANNOT BE DERAILED,IT CAN ONLY BE DELAYED),
I did not only return to TSOS in January,1984,God used the then new Military Governor of Oyo State,Lieutenant-Colonel(now a retired Major-General)Oladayo Popoola,to fulfil His destiny for me,when Governor Popoola appointed me his Press Secretary,on 8th March 1984,barely two months after my re-instatement.Neither myself nor anyone,dead or alive, lobbied Governor Popoola for his graceful act.I remain grateful to God and him.
I will tell the story of my 1984 appointment,or re-appointment by former Governor Popoola, if you choose,which I always describe as the ‘8th Wonder’ of the world,in my 35th return anniversary post,come Friday,8th March,2019,God willing.
To whet your appetite,please read excerpts from two testimonials on me by the late Chief ‘Bola Ige,SAN and Dr.Victor Omololu Olunloyo.
(1)”…..He is a very likeable and trustworthy youngman and I like him because he is very good at his profession. He is honest and frank,and at the same time loyal.”(written by Chief Ige,on 6th April,1987,four years after we had left government,in support of my application for a public position)
(2)”……Akogun Alabi has already carved a niche for himself with his enviable record of public service as Press Secretary to four governors,unfortunately with a little gap during my own tenure. His exclusion from my team was not deliberate, but rather the work of do-gooders and sycophantic manouverers who infest the slippery corridors of power in Nigeria. One never met ‘Lekan then.One did not know him.Some people must have been particularly keen and gratified about his ouster, which by Providence was afterall brief. His work as Public Relations practitioner is also noted,being commendable.”(Extracted from Dr Olunloyo’s Foreword to my book,”FOR PUBLIC GOOD”launched on March 31st,1994 at Premier Hotel,Ibadan.)
Copy of old Oyo State Military Government’s letter of my re-instatement into TSOS,extracted from page 415 of my book,”AYANMO (DESTINY), launched at my 60th birthday lecture/luncheon on 27th October,2010, at the Ibadan Civic Centre, Agodi GRA,Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria.