For now, I will limit the expose of Odeyemi to just those issues. I imagine that if time permits on both ends, we will delve deeper into ALL issues. For now, it suffices for Odeyemi to know that I write (as can be attested to by checking all my previous writings, including my time at The Guardian) to illuminate issues, usually without regard to whose Ox is gored.
Sometime in 2007, Odeyemi sent to me a poorly-written “personality attack” article aimed at Rashid Ladoja. He asked me to edit it for him. I was then on official assignment to
Open-minded readers will discover, within minutes of searching the Internet, that I have criticized former governors of
My criticism of Odeyemi did not stem from the fact that he is an Ijesha man. As I pointed out in my piece, his appointment is not a novel idea. People attain political heights in States other than their States of origin all the time. But Odeyemi has acted as “Omo a i j’obe ri to n ja’be s’aya” – a child that stains his shirt because he never tasted such a good soup. And he has no qualms about the pain that his actions have brought on those that live in abject penury in
Odeyemi once told me that he had enlisted the help of Adedibu’s thugs to “deal” with a deputy editor at Thisday newspapers, whenever the man, whose stories had criticized Alao-Akala’s government, returned to
I wrote the piece on Odeyemi because he is profiting from people’s death, the maiming of limbs and the destruction of property. I have no dog in the fight in
After I wrote the piece that has given Odeyemi restless days and sleepless nights, more than 180 readers responded to it (positively) within 48 hours of its publication. Some of those readers were classmates of ours at the UI who still remember us quite well. Virtually all of them agree with me that Odeyemi has turned himself into a politically and morally corrupt entity. Some of them wrote that they were not surprised at the way he turned out because they knew he was always a manipulator of people.
When I edited The Torch, a campus news outlet and magazine at the
Odeyemi asked me why, as a friend, I refused to publish his articles. I told him that, first, The Torch was not mine. We inherited it from students before us and we had a moral obligation to preserve its sanctity for students coming after us. The university, then, was a bastion of academic excellence. Plagiarism and sycophancy were antithetical to its tenets. Second, we had an editorial board that read everything and decided what was to be published, and his articles were too self-serving. And third, I did not want him to use The Torch to attack Oduyoye’s opponents. Remember now, Oduyoye was my friend too! But I had to delineate between my friendship with Oduyoye and my responsibilities as an editor of a news magazine, especially a campus magazine.
As Odeyemi pointed out, the bulletin board of The Torch was vandalized one night, ostensibly because as Watchdogs of the university community, we were too critical of Oduyoye’s Students Union during his tenure as president, which Odeyemi supported. We did not put it back up because it was going to be destroyed again. So, we limited ourselves to the monthly print magazine. True to my suspicion, I found out years later, after we all left the UI, that it was Odeyemi who led a small team to destroy the board. I remained friends with Odeyemi in spite of that knowledge because I considered that act of hooliganism an exhibition of youthful exuberance. I tell this story here to emphasize the fact that Odeyemi, as a political and social brigand, did not metamorphose overnight.
Finally, even though I am a virulent critic of Alao-Akala’s government, I think his current Adviser on Communications, Dotun Oyelade, is doing a wonderful job as a PR officer. First, he writes and speaks well. Second, he has a grasp of
Our generation was supposed to be the generation that took over from our venerable but aging parents who had lost their firm grip on the ship of our nation. And what have we done with the ship? The likes of Odeyemi have steered the ship further into unimaginable turbulence. We will not allow the ship to capsize.