The Ekefa-Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Lekan Alabi has revealed the factors that made it possible for him to work as Press Secretary to four different governors in Oyo State.
The widely revered Ibadan chief revealed this in an interview ahead of his 70th birthday ceremony in October.
Yes, I worked with one civilian and three military governors as Press Secretary. Let me just tell you this: it’s my destiny. The last person I worked with, Brigadier Sasaenia Adedeji Oresanya, didn’t even tell me anything. It was at the tail end of his government in 1989 that he asked me to make a request and that he would grant it. That was March 30, 1989. And I asked him to sponsor me to Hajj. He was surprised, so he sponsored me and I left his service as Press Secretary.
“The day we were going to Hajj was the day the Odua Board was also meeting and the military governors. Oresanya was the current chairman then. So, when we were about leaving for Hajj, one of the protocol officers, Kola Fatunbi, saw me.
“They went to pick the food for the Odua Board at the government house and he shouted ‘egbon, congratulations’. I thought he was greeting me for Hajj and I was thinking what’s the big deal? He now said, ‘You have been appointed the Public Affairs Officer of Odua. They have already taken the press release of your appointment to media houses’,”he said.
When asked whether working for any governor had put him into troubles, he replied affirmatively that he had issues with his mentor, Late M. K. O. Abiola.
Explaining what happened, he said: “I had issues with MKO Abiola who was my mentor. Everybody knew we were so close. He would invite me to Lagos when he had matters to discuss. Also, Kabiyesi Arapasowu Olubadan, I was his confidant. I was his official director of protocols and confidant. When kabiyesi wants to discuss something in confidence with me, none of his family members, even wives, must stay with us. Oba Yinusa Bankole Ogundipe, I was his confidant.
” The Alaafin of Oyo, Ikuba Baba Yeye, was going to make MKO Abiola the Aare Ona Kakanfo and the relationship between Governor Adetunji Olurin and Alaafin Adeyemi was stormy. I was Press Secretary to Governor Olurin at that time. So, Abiola invited Babangida, who was the Head Of State, to the installation in Oyo, but Babangida sent the Chief of Air Staff, Ibrahim Alfa, to represent him and my boss was already in a ceremonial army uniform because it was going to be a big ceremony and we were at the government house waiting to receive the representative of the Head of State.
They had sent a signal a day before that Babangida was not coming but that he would send a representative. So, when Alfa drove into the government house, he wore a civilian dress.
“So, my boss saluted him and Alfa said it was a private thing that Olurin shouldn’t bother to go; that he should go to his work. Alfa went to Oyo and asked us to step back. Abiola got furious and when he was asked in an interview why the military governors from the South West did not attend his installation, Abiola said ‘all those ones are eaglet governors’ Eaglet governors?
A full Colonel of the Nigerian Army who fought in Lebanon and won medals? Then Raji Rasaki and Mike Akhigbe, you called them eaglet governors? I wrote a rejoinder which rubbished MKO Abiola and it was published. The title was ‘What Do You Take Yourself For…’
He however noted that Abiola later told him he had no issue with him writing the rejoinder because he understands he was doing his job.
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