(Response to Bisi Deji-Folutile’s Ogbeni Aregbesola, this is not time to flex muscles in PUNCH
By Romoke Raji, PhD
On Saturday, June 16, 2016, Olabisi Deji-Folutile, Editor, Saturday PUNCH, decided, in her words “to bare her heart” on the Osun situation. As the woman threw her hat in the squared ring to defend The Punch titles over a genuine complaint against the numerous and ceaseless malicious slants, slurs and slippery editorial reportage of events concerning the Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the state in its entirety, it became clear that she was dripping with infamy.
In her attempt at throwing a red herring on various unprofessional reportage of Osun events which many times bothered on outright falsehood, mischief and reckless journalism, the writer deliberately proceeded on a binge of calumny with obvious but reprehensible misstatements of facts, demonstration of criminal ignorance and treacherous partisanship.
Her first port of call at the habour of slant was the slash in the fees paid by students of the state-owned tertiary institutions. Her complaint was that Governor Aregbesola chose to lift the heavy yoke of outrageous fees from the heads of parents and students who have no other state to call their own but Osun.
The fees were reduced so as to halt the trend that promised to send many of our own kit and kin away from being educated in schools run with taxes paid by their parents. With the slash, majority of students remained in school, completed their education and have become useful members of the society. The Governor hearkened to their cries by reducing the fees, Osun people on August 9, 2014, resisted the dark forces from the pit of hell and voted massively for their own Ogbeni.
Until Governor Aregbesola slashed those high fees, no resident of Osun (indigenes/non-indigenes) on legitimate income could afford to sponsor his or her child or ward to study at the Osun State University. The situation has changed as Osun parents now utilize the advantage of having a university to train their children.
It does not require embarking on a Mission to Kala before the lie is put to Bisi Deji-Folutile’s assertion that the Osun State University is not funded by Governor Aregbesola. For her information, which she chose to disregard in order to settle a score, five per cent of monthly revenue allocation is contributed among other sources of funding for the running of UNIOSUN. We challenge her to substantiate her claims with facts rather sitting in her cozy Lagos office.
At a time that Osun is emerging with a remarkable education policy which Senator Uche Chukwumerije, then chairman of Senate Committee on Education described as the best for quality and participation, the writer ignorantly refused to see any good in Osun schools reclassification programme that has begun yielding positive fruits.
How an Editor of any newspaper at all could display such ignorance that there are no such things as Muslim or Christian schools again since 1975 when the government took over the schools still beats imagination of right-thinking beings.
That a public school bears Baptist, Catholic or Ahmadiyya or Ansar Deen, does not make them belong to those missionary groups.
It is the height of laziness for the writer not to have done her checks on the number of schools in Osun and how schools were re-structured into elementary, middle and high for effective learning and administration.
It is unnecessary explaining to an opaque-minded writer that Ogbeni Aregbesola did not order, instigate, inform or request that any worker be sacked. As the accuser, the judge and the reporter of her infamous coverage, Deji-Folutile pronounced Aregbesola guilty without being heard. The fact that these institutions publicly announced that Governor Aregbesola was not involved in their running of the schools did not matter to her.
Like a truculent and nagging woman who is not pleased by the entreaty of her caring husband, Deji-Folutile judged the Osun Governor most harshly and irreverent against the established journalism tradition of impartiality. It takes a woman like her to identify “lazy husbands that constantly crave for respect when they can’t do things that confer respect on men go through every time. No woman respects any man that delights in giving excuses for failure”. Her slant is all too clear and understandable as we have heard the proverbial voice of Jacob but we can feel the hairy skin of Esau.
This woman’s argument about a man who does anything to provide for his wife including the ludicrous, criminal and fraudulent is best answered by the person who raised the issue. Hasn’t Deji Folutile’s employers been showing employees of the company that the times are hard in the page numbers of the tabloid? Indeed, respect is earned. Those who live in true opulence are making refunds to the Nigerian treasury while singing like canaries under interrogation.
Already those whose wives yesterday described as “My international man” are facing charges in the law courts, singing the canticles and their morning missals in dingy prison cells while others who managed to escape into thin air cannot even call their wives on phone so that their hideouts will not be detected.
She tried to feign reason by asking Ogbeni Aregbesola. She should give this advice to her employers who are rather known and infamous for serving her colleagues and superiors their sack letters at the gate house of the establishment after a hard day’s job. The healer, that Bisi is attempting to mimic in Osun, should first heal herself by taking away the log in her eyes before attempting to remove the straw from the eyeballs of others. Can Bisi in her heart of hearts claim that she has job security in her establishment?
We shall not join Bisi Deji-Folutile in her disdainful and utter disregard for due process and the rule of law by commenting on a matter that is clearly subjudice. It is not her fault though; she simply does not know and was at the time of submitting her script for publication, too preoccupied with pejorative epithet to realize that the doctors have since filed an action at the Nigeria Industrial Court.
In the writer’s world of fantasy, the world ‘circus’ must have some other meanings. Should the feat the Aregbesola administration has achieved in the state pass for a “circus”, then the ‘circus’ must continue for Nigeria to be great again.
Under the vilified Aregbesola, the ordinary Osun people can feel the impact of the social welfare programs, education, health, security, food security programs all at once.
The feeding of almost 300, 000 school children with nutritious meals since 2012, construction of mega school and general provision of better learning environments, construction of over 1000 kilometres of roads, impregnable security outfit with about 25 most sophisticated Armoured Personnel Carriers, over 100 patrol vans; provision of ambulances at strategic locations of the state! Will all these and many more pass for Deji Folutile’s circus show in the real sense of that word?
Finally, journalism no doubt is going through its worst moment. For an editor to display so much crass ignorance in virtually all the issues she took up in her column in this damning degree is enough for a serious employer to fire her. But we are aware that Deji-Folutile merely amplifies the self-imposed mission of her employer, The PUNCH, to set Osun ablaze and dance on the graveyard of supposed foe, Aregbesola and his government.
*Dr. Romoke Raji, former Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Vocational Education, wrote from Osogbo, State of Osun, writes from [email protected]