Sleaze Over Osogbo Centre For Culture

•Oyinlola Showcases Pilgrim Board’s Building For Site
•Exchanges Project For OBJ’s Support At Tribunal

WHILE the Nobel Laureate is pounding the embattled Osun State Governor Olagunsoye on the sharp practices trailing the establishment of Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, investigating has revealed that the whole deal was a dirty affair from the beginning.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the governor, who is at the centre of the storm, chose to negotiate Osogbo, the designated city for the project away, in order to enlist the support of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his legal battle at the election petitions tribunal.

Findings revealed that Oyinlola truly opened bid for the collection of arts and cultural artifacts of Professor Ulli Beier and his wife, Georgina, with a view to attracting the international recognition to the newly established University of Osun State (UNIOSUN) that will enjoy the affiliation of the centre.
It was reported that the governor penetrated the heart of Beier, when he (Oyinlola) relieved the relationship between the renowned artefacts collector and his late father; soliciting the assistance of the don cum cultural ambassador on the need to help him stock the proposed centre that would further enhance the world status of Osun Osogbo and UNIOSUN.

Information has it that Beier then agreed in principle, premising his contentment with his long-established relationship with Osogbo and the governor’s father. Findings revealed that when the former president inaugurated his controversial presidential library in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the board members approached him (Obasanjo) to pull the strings that would bring the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding and FESTAC archive to the library so that funding would not be the problem.

Obasanjo, then as the president, tasked the nation’s representative at the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), Professor Omolewa to get in touch with Beier, in order to discuss terms for the movement of his artefacts from Sydney, Australia’s national headquarters to Nigeria.

During the negotiation, the then Minister of Culture, a long tume friend of Obasanjo, Prof. Babalola Borishade and another ally, Honsd’ Orville, were told that Osun state governor had come earlier for the same purpose. Investigation showed that Obasanjo then invited Oyinlola to Aso Rock, where he reportedly sought his help in facilitating the centre to his library, a move that could not be turned down by the embattled governor who still needed Obasanjo’s protection from the electoral heist that gave him victory in the last year’s general election in face of opposition legal fireworks.

Meanwhile, OSUN DEFENDER has it on good authority that the governor had paid part of the needed fund for the project abinitio from the state coffers, a situation that has not been addressed by then Obasanjo’s government, that had signed an agreement to pay the balance of the fund for the project.

When the shady deal caught the attention of the Nobel laureate, Soyinka wrote his friend, Beier, demanding to know the position of things, to which he (Beier) replied immediately. However, Soyinka’s letter to Beier served as an eye-opener to the cultural icon and his wife, a situation that propelled their anger against the State Deputy Governor Erelu Olusola Obada, who was earlier sent to Australia by the governor to further discussed the terms for movement of the artefacts and other cultural items.

It was learnt that they, Beier and his wife, Georgina insisted on speaking with the governor alone, a scenario that made Obada to return home without having anything to show for the trip. Soyinka further related the close door meeting to the press, exposing how Oyinlola was upbraided like an errant royal scion, according to him, the Okuku-born governor emerged from the meeting thoroughly humbled, only to start twisting the contents of the meeting-outside.

In a related development, Oyinlola recently threw caution to the winds, castigating the renowned professor emeritus for exposing the messy deal that he was reportedly using to tie his string to the apron of Obasanjo on the war at the tribunal. The governor reportedly caused his Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to quickly plant the work-in-progress building that would house the Ulli and Georgina Beier Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding in Osogbo in some newspapers, as a face saving passage.

However, OSUN DEFENDER’s investigation has shown that the uncompleted building actually belong to the state Pilgrim Welfare Board, as nothing was on ground at the original site of the centre.

Reacting on the development, the State chairman of Alliance of Collaborating political parties (ACPP), Alhaji Sule Alao said that Oyinlola’s government could not be trusted, saying that the whole sectors stink badly. “Corruption walks on its four legs in Osun State, and an example could be drawn from the EFCC saga, a situation that has made some of the commissioners and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to be passing through serious interrogations. So, we cannot trust him (governor) on this issue and we have to trust Prof. Soyinka because he’s not from Osun,” said Alao.

In another development, the state chapter of National Conscience Party (NCP) has said that the party has started its own investigation, threatening to drag the governor to court, if Osogbo is made to lose out of the project; arguing that effort to shortchange would be further thwarted. “We are still studying the situation and we are gathering facts and figures. We shall soon contact professor Soyinka for further investigation, and we can assure the people of Osun State that any sharp practices would be answered for,” said Waheed Lawal, the NCP chairman.


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