Saharareporters had earlier carried a story where it claimed that the Oyo state governor in the company of fifteen of his aides went on a jamboree at the London olympics.
The Oyo state government has replied in an email sent to us recently, their reply:
The attention of the Oyo State Government has been drawn to the absolute falsehood in the Sahara Reporters report entitled as above. The medium alleged that the governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, is on Olympics jamboree with 15 other aides in London. First, it is a lamentable descent of journalism practice into the realm of rumour-mongering that practitioners could descend to this base level of reporting unsubstantiated falsehood, for whatever reason. Second, it is equally lamentable that a journalism outfit, flouting the rules of journalism, could concoct this absolute lie without a word from the other side it chooses to malign this irresponsibly. The truth cannot be told except we do this foregoing tie-back. The Bank of Industry (BOI) and Oyo State recently entered into a trade agreement on boosting small scale industries in the state. The agreement necessitates that the government pays a counterpart fund of N500 million while the BOI pays the sum of N500 million, all totaling N1billion. The state government has begun advertising for prospective traders to apply for this loan which is an expected boost to small scale industries in Oyo State. Thus, using the current Olympics, where millions of investors would expectedly gather to watch sports as an investment showcase, the bank organized a specialized exhibition of investment potentials in Oyo State in the areas of agriculture, culture, tourism and mining in London. The forum was divided into three sessions. The first one, which held at Guilford, Surrey county, was organized by Surrey’s Department of Commerce and Surrey Chambers of Commerce, in collaboration with the BOI from July 16 – 18. It had about five Nigerian states in attendance, including Niger, Kogi, Delta and Ogun. Surrey is akin to the economic backbone of London. The forum had the Oyo State Commissioners for Agriculture, Lands and Housing making presentations. Indeed, the presentation of the group was adjudged to be the best by the panelists, so much that the President of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Louise Potter, promised to bring investors to Oyo State very soon. The second session, which had the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Culture and the Senior Special Assistant on Trade making presentation, held at the Nigerian House, Theatre Royale in Stratford from July 24 – July 27. On the panel of discussants were the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Jite Okoloko, MD Notore Chemical Industries, Dr. Eleni Gabre Madhin, CEO Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, Mr Peter Longworth, Director General Commonwealth Business Council, Dr Edward George and Head Soft Commodities, Ecobank. Indeed, as we speak, the Oyo podium is still there and can be cross-checked. The Federal Minister of Trade and the Speaker of the House of Representatives visited the Oyo stand on Friday. At the stand, Oyo displayed all its products available to the world. Indeed, this effort is yielding results as two investors, Messrs. Global Haps Network Ltd and Wilshire Capital Ltd, the latter being interested in mass housing scheme, have expressed their desire to invest in our state The third session is billed for 11.30am today. There, Governor Ajimobi, a brilliant rapporteur and public speaker, would chairman a panel of discussants on investment potentials in Oyo State. He will make a presentation on Investment in Agricultural Value Chain in Oyo State. Other panelists are Minister Olusegun Aganga, MD of Notore Chemical Industries Ltd, Ministers of Agriculture, Finance Minister Okonjo Iweala, CEO of Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, DG Commonwealth Business Council with President Goodluck Jonathan declaring the forum open. Sahara Reporters should please cover this event at Dorchester Hotel in London and report to the world what it sees. The event will basically plot the graph of investment opportunities available in Oyo State. It is expected that many investors will attend the session. Also on Wednesday, Governor Ajimobi, at that same Dorchester hotel, will make a presentation to a team of select potential investors in the Ibadan Cargo Airport and the N110km Ibadan Circular Road, as well as collaborators in the newly approved Technical University of Oyo State. We enjoin Sahara Reporters to be bold enough to cover the events and tell the world what it sees. For some of us who are journalists reading this story, it was apparent that the Sahara Reporters lacked any cogent information about this story other than the parlour gossip of a supposed jamboree. This was apparently why the reporter, whom we know and has made several entreaties to the state government for cash and largesse, had to pad the story up with an adversarial tie-back of the calamity of flooding that befell the Oyo State Government recently, even omitting the widely commended efforts of the state government in forestalling a repeat of the calamity. We challenge Sahara Reporters to name this ubiquitous Political Science teacher at the University of Ibadan who supposedly said the government of Oyo State exhibits ostentation. Because, on the reverse, the perception in the state is that Ajimobi is too stingy with public and private funds and money is not flowing as it used to flow under the bejeweled Alao-Akala. We indeed challenge the medium to name the said commentator who has not seen the 199 roads under construction in Oyo State in the last one year, the N2.1billion overhead bridge being constructed at Mokola in Ibadan and the massive nine bridges under construction in the state. It would then be apparent that Sahara Reporters merely hid under the smart old journalism gambit of ascribing personal opinions to non-existent commentators. The team that follows the governor comprises officials who were carefully selected to represent all the sectors and ministries relevant to the numerous engagements. It is apparent that the officials, as enumerated above, were the ones collated by the Sahara Reporters, which made up its alleged 15 commissioners. Oyo state, for long, had shied away from seeking investors and this explains why it contributes a paltry one percent to national manufacturing revenue. Changing this profile requires engaging the world and this is what the government is doing. Indeed, in the last one year, this profile has changed. This investors’ drive of the state government’s apparently earned the state the Financial Times of London’s recent classification of Oyo State as one of the ten potential destinations of investors.
Festus Adedayo, PhD, Special Adviser (Media) to the Oyo State Governor