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OSBC, Where Is Your Voice?

OSBC, Where Is Your Voice?
  • PublishedNovember 1, 2019

By Lateef Agboola

The 2019 Edition of Osun NUJ Pen week Dinner & Award Ceremony was historical for various reasons, one of them was that the consequence of the so-called African Time mentality was bitterly tasted by any member of the Union who cares, when the governor of the State, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola cancelled his earlier plan to attend the dinner where he was honoured as the grand patron of the revered Union.

In fact, it was learnt that the governor had, because of the NUJ program, cancelled some other important commitments, even as he had to rush/race down from Abuja, where he had earlier attended NGF meeting. However, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the governor, Hon. Abdullahi Adeyanju Binuyo represented Governor Oyetola at the occasion….

For the THIRD straight Time, Rave 91.7fm won the Radio station of the year Award. It didn’t come as a surprise to whoever that’s been following the trend in Osun since the establishment of the ‘raving’ radio station by a former staff of OSBC, a Prince from Ora Igbomina, and ex-media assistant to the then deputy Governor.

Yes, because the CEO Rave FM, Prince Femi Adefila hit the ground running and has never been found wanting in his focus of creating a niche for the radio house, even when his isn’t the first private radio station in Osun.

Remember Uniq FM had been in existence some years before Rave was born. Well wishers, including government functionaries on ground, among them Hon. Binuyo, who represented the governor; Hon Taofeek Gbadamosi, who stood in for Senator Ajibola Bashiru (SRJ); Prince Bayo Adeleke(BANIK), honourable commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs(guest of honour); Pharmacist Siji Olamiju, the SA to the governor on Public Health; Alhaji Ismail Omipidan, the CPS to governor Oyetola and Mr. Femi Kujenbola, who is the chairman, Atakunmosa East local government area of the state among others were happy for and identify with the achiever, Prince Femi Adefila.

As a musician journalist whose band was entertaining the guests and hosts as well, I wasn’t allowed myself to be carried away by the enthusiasm, hence I was 100% in concentration from the beginning to the end of the program.

As I was looking at the cheerful dignitaries celebrating Prince Femi Adefila and his ‘leading’ radio station, the question that went through my mind was ”Where is the Voice of OSBC?” You’ll recall that OSBC was decorated with the Regional Voice of the South West Award, many years back, considering its wider reach, coupled with the quality of its news and program contents, before it was changed to The Voice of the West. There is no much difference, anyway, after all, the word voice and west are part of the variables in the former and latter. Lest I forget, International Communication Researcher of note and University Teacher, ”Our father”, Professor Ayobami Ojebode, the HOD Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, also received an award of recognition for his unflinching efforts on humanity through several international publications.

I’m sorry for a bit diversion, Professor Ojebode played a big role towards my success while doing my Master’s Degree at UI. You can now understand my sentiment. The question begging for immediate answer in my mind was how and where did OSBC get it wrong which made Rave FM the King of the jungle? In consolation, I thought, the award given Rave FM for the third straight time by my own Union, the NUJ, may not represent people’s opinion after all, and that immediately reminded me of a lyrics by the Fuji Maestro, K1 The Ultimate, when he sang ”Emi ko lo so p’Ayinde l’oba Orin o…”and his boys chorused ”Awon aye n’on so (3) p’Ayinde loba Orin” meaning ”I’m not the one who pronounced Ayinde as the King of (Fuji) music, rather he got the honour from the court of public opinion… ”. I hope you understand my sentiment here? OSBC of yesteryears was the raining king of the jungle, yes! The Regional Voice of the South West.

Before I chose Journalism as my Field and Mass Communication as my Course of Study, ace journalists like Late Lasun Oyatoye, Sam Bamidele, Kayode Adedire, Ademola Ojo, Sanya Fadipe, Smollett Shittu-Alamu, Gbadebo Olaitan, Sunday Odedele, Olusola Ajiboye, Adejumoke Akinjiola, Abimbola Babatunde, Muideen Adeleke, Akinola Owolabi, Oyesiku Adelu, Femi Awe among others, must have encouraged my likes to make the choice. But what has actually befallen my dearest station, OSBC? before I could recover from the expected shock, the Keynote speaker, Dr. Lasisi Olagunju’s earlier reference equally hit me hard.

Remember Olagunju was the CPS to former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. He shared his experience on fake news in 2009 when OSBC aired an unconfirmed story about the purported death of Maryam Babangida, who was then hospitalized in far away Germany and how Prince Oyinlola raced to OSBC after he had been bombarded with calls to verify the story, being a very close friend of Babangida family.

Immediately, I also remembered I was the animal (editor) who got the story from an online site of a popular tabloid and Mr Smollett Alamu was my director. However, the correlation of this short story within story was in the position of the then Director General and my own director. While the DG tactically put the ball in the court of the news and current affairs department, my boss, Shittu Alamu, put his neck on the train track. Thank God, Prince Oyinlola, out of his respect for Mr Alamu coupled with the professionalism cum native intelligence of Mr Lasisi Olagunju, the then CPS, he let go of the matter.

Now let’s assume my own director was also Lilly livered, just imagine what would have happened to a guy whose name was just written with a tiny pencil with big eraser on the butt in the name of freelance staff? Thank you Elder Smollett Alamu! People have argued and still do argue on what are the factors affecting the potency of my dearest OSBC?

Some blame it on the ownership influence while some believe the leadership are culpable. Let’s agree that it’s ownership, what do we say about the level of enthusiasm showed by government functionaries when rave FM was announced for the 3rd straight time as the radio of the year? Apart from this, I could remember vividly that the immediate past Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola had on many occasions admonished government owned media to ‘deemphasize Rauf’ but focus on the achievements of the government because government is continuum…

Another funny scenario was when OSBC TV got the Osun NUJ Award in the second edition of the annual event and Ogbeni Aregbesola as the governor then and grand patron of the NUJ, in his comment, just threw a tantrum saying ”what do you expect?” He continued ”OSBC is the only local TV station, after all…

An indication that OSBC TV couldn’t have got the award that year provided there was another local station to compete with it… So, in his usual style, he dropped the sarcasm like a joke but the message was terribly loaded. I can say with every sense of modesty that almost all my bosses in the news and current affairs department of OSBC radio and TV as well as the out stations are thoroughbred professional journalists with academic qualifications to match.

But why people still believe we’re lagging behind remains a mystery. A successful Fuji Musician turned pastor, Adewale Ayuba, in one of his singles titled ”Bubble” sang ”’Emi lo lere mi, hajji Ayuba mi Adewale o, k’on mama mumi lohun lo o” literally means ”I’m the originator of my music, hajji Ayuba mi Adewale o, may my voiced not be seized/shut… Where is the voice of OSBC?

Lateef Agboola is a broadcast journalist, musician, script writer, communication consultant and rights activist based in Osogbo

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