On Monday 8th July 2019, the auditorium of Eko Hotel in Lagos was filled to the brim, as the creme-de-la-creme of politicians in Nigeria gathered to celebrate former Ogun Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who is also one of the Chieftains of theAPC. It was the public presentation of his new Memoir and the celebration of this great icon and national patriot. But the event snowballed into a mini political convention that had all of the biggest political juggernauts in the ruling party, APC, in attendance.
Apart from President Muhammadu Buhari and APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who were both absent, everyone, including prominent personalities from the opposition party, were present. That is a testament to the gargantuan influence the celebrant, Chief Segun Osoba, wields. Everyone who mattered in the scheme of things in Nigeria converged at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites that afternoon for the presentation of his book, Battle lines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics. Below, City People’s Senior Editor, WALELAWAL, brings you some juicy gists of all that went down at the ceremony.
It was a MINI PARTY CONVENTION
Chief Olusegun Osoba had an illustrious career as a journalist and later as a politician which saw him govern Ogun State twice and left legacies that are still standing tall today in the state. It was no surprise therefore when his birthday turned into a political carnival of sort. Everyone who truly wielded some measure of political clout was there, from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Deputy Speaker of House of representatives, Ahmed Wase; Chairman Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, former National Chairmen of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. Governors Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy Obafemi Hamzat, former governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi were also present.General Abdulsami Abubakar was Chairman of the event. He came with his wife, Justice Fati.
THE UNEXPECTED GUESTS
Their presence was greeted with mild reactions. Former Governor of Ogun state, Gbenga Daniel, who for several years was a political rival to the celebrant, Chief Segun Osoba, was one guest whose presence particularly sent shock waves running through the entire auditorium. Although it can be said that be said that they had both since made up to join forces at the last guber elections to ensure Governor Dapo Abiodun’s victory, it was still an unusual sight seeing Gnenga Daniel sitting pretty and thoroughly enjoying himself in the company of long time political arch rivals like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu whom he hadn’t been on speaking terms with for years. And, yes, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state, too, caused a stir with his presence. He is by far one of PDP‘s most prominent governor right now and he was the most unlikely person expected to be at the event, knowing it was going to be an APC affair. This perhaps explains why Vice-President Osinbajo described Osoba as a bridge builder who has friends and associates scattered all over the country.
BETWEEN ASIWAJU AND OYEGUN
It is obviously no longer news that former APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have not exactly been the best of friends lately. The once upon a time close political associates had an awfully strained relationship last year with Asiwaju at the vanguard of the call for the exit of Oyegun as national chairman of the APC. This resulted into the emergence of Adams Oshiomhole as the current present national chairman. And ever since, the relationship between the two has not been exactly cordial. At Chief Osoba‘s book presentation, these two hardly exchanged glances nor shared banters like most of the VIPs present at the ceremony did. And they both carefully sat well away from each other, with at least about seats separating them. What we had been hearing was that after the re-election of President Buhari, efforts were being made to mend fences between the two gentlemen. From what we saw of them at the Book launch, those fences haven’t been fully mended. Not yet.
CHIEF OSOBA’S LOVE FOR wife, beere, IS INFECTIOUS
Yes, we have heard and read many times over and over how much Chief Segun Osoba loves his beautiful, Beere Aderinsola Osoba. They have been married since 1973 and theyare today grand parents. Many present at the event on Monday would be quick to notice how much Chief Osoba dotted over his wife. He clearly wanted her be at his side all through the event. He led her to the stage every time he needed to take pictures with the VIPS who graced the event. She looked absolutely gorgeous and Chief was proud of her and wanted her by his side all through the period the event lasted. Even when Beere was getting exhausted from repeatedly climbing up and down the stage and preferred to be allowed to catch her breath for a while, Chief was still seen pleading with her to come join him on stage. No wonder, during his speech, he extolled her virtues endlessly and called her the love of his life, the boss, the teacher and vice-chancellor of his home.
OBA AKIOLU THROWS SHADES AT OBJ
Nobody saw that coming. When the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu, the Olowo Eko was called on stage to come make his speech, everyone, naturally, expected he would simply pay tribute to the celebrant, Chief Segun Osoba. He did. But he didn’t stop there. The respected Monarch went on to say that, ‘I advised Tinubu not to cooperate with Obasanjo. I said don’t trust a soldier. The main problem we have in Nigeria is Obasanjo.’ Olowo Eko once again, used the opportunity of the event to show his disdain for OBJ. Many were hoping though that he would shed more light on his claim branding OBJ as Nigeria‘s main problem but he didn’t quite do that. His scathing remarks about the former president has since been generating a myriad of reactions.
THE DEEP BOND BETWEEN ASIWAJU AND OSOBA
It is no secret that Chief Osoba and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu have been friends for many decades. Despite the age difference between them (Chief Osoba is older by over 10 years) They have been there for each other through thick and thin. Chief Osoba recounted when he had serious Health challenges, years back, how Asiwaju stood by him through it all. Their relationship reportedly suffered a strain over 8 years ago when Osoba disagreed with Tinubu over ex-Gov. Amosun’s choice as the party’s candidate for Ogun guber elections. They have since put that behind them. At Osoba‘s birthday, the deep and unbreakable bond between these two enigmatic personalities came to the fore as they both threw banters at each other, slapped hands and hugged each other repeatedly to the admiration of everyone present.
THE JOKE OF THE DAY
As evident from the uncanny chemistry between them, it is obvious when Asiwaju and Chief Osoba are together, it must be jokes and banters galore. Towards the tail end of Chief Osoba‘s book public presentation, the celebrant called out some members of his 1956 set of Methodist Boys High School led by the Alapinni of Lagos, Chief Gbolahan Oderinde and introduced every single one of them to the gathering and shared a bit of their story. Shortly after, when Asiwaju came on stage, he insisted (jokingly) that Osoba didn’t acknowledge him for returning his secondary, Methodist Boys High School, to the missionaries when he (Tinubu) was governor of Lagos State. Chief Osoba thereafter brought out his old Methodist Boys High School jacket and offered to give it to Asiwaju in appreciation of gesture to return the school back to the missionaries. But trust Asiwaju, he took one long look at the small size old jacket and remarked, ‘Keep your jacket, in Lagos state we don’t accept second hand things,’ and everyone burst into laughter as Asiwaju made his way down the stage with a satisfied grin on his face.
OGUN GOVERNOR, DAPO ABIODUN’S LOVABLE PERSONALITY
What is it about this charismatic gentleman that seems to draw people to him anywhere he steps into? He is not the newest governor in the country, but he clearly has become the most popular and possibly the most loved of the lot. Mr. Dapo Abiodun, the recently sworn in governor of Ogun State is a who is enjoying so much love love and goodwill at the moment. When he stepped into the auditorium, everyone was on their feet to catch a glimpse of the ttall, good looking governor. Truth is, you can’t help but admire his humility and calmness. And when he speaks, you get the impression you’re listening to a very sincere and honest person whose word you can take the bank any day. He gave one of the most moving speeches of the night when he spoke about his closeness with Chief Osoba. And of course, he got a resounding ovation at the end of his beautiful and impeccably written speech.
(Watch out for Party 2 tonight on www.citypeopleonline.com)