Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has said that he was not able to attend the 2019 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting in Lagos on Monday for two reasons.
Earlier on Monday, organisers of the award had announced that they were postponing presenting Osinbajo with the award as a result of the invasion of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday by operatives of the Department of State Services to rearrest pro-democracy campaigner and journalist, Omoyele Sowore, less than 24 hours after he was released on bail.
But in a letter stating the reasons why he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, which was released by his media aide, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said he was away on a national assignment at the United Arab Emirates and therefore couldn’t be physically present to receive the award.
The Vice President also said that he thought it insensitive to attend the ceremony in view of Sowore’s rearrest.
Osinbajo said, “I am extremely grateful for the recognition and award of the ‘Integrity Specialty of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Anti-corruption Defender Award of 2019’ to me.
“The award, I note, is for our justice reform efforts in Lagos State. I had accepted the award with pride on behalf of the excellent Justice Sector team we had.
“However, two reasons explain my absence. First is that I am currently in Abu Dhabi for an international meeting under the auspices of the government of the UAE where I am the keynote speaker.
“Second, in view of the developments on Friday in the Sowore case, I think it would be insensitive and inappropriate to attend the ceremony.”