By Richard Ayinde, Osogbo.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) South-West Zone has said that the investiture of former governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, as the Grand Patron of the union in the zone would hold as planned tomorrow, Friday, March 26.
While speaking on a current affairs programme on Unique Fm radio today, the Zonal Secretary of NUJ, Mr Bamigbola Gbolagunte said the National Secretariat and President of the union, Mr Chris Isiguozo were in support of the programme, because Aregbesola merits it.
Gbolagunte also added that none of the six-state NUJ councils in the South-West which originally endorsed Aregbesola for the award has withdrawn from the programme.
He said: I will like to state that the programme has not been put on hold as being rumoured. None of the six councils, that is, Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun which make up the South-West zone has written to my office to officially inform the zone of their withdrawal from the event.
“The zone chose Aregbesola for the investiture and award. Before he was chosen; his name was presented to the Chairmen and Secretaries of the councils that make up the South-West zone. They all approved that Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola be made the Grand Patron of the zone and also receive an Award of Excellence.
The National Secretariat and President are aware of the programme and they have not given us the order to stop the programme.
Explaining why the former governor of the State of Osun was chosen, Gbolagunte said his accessibility to journalists; establishment of three media houses, among others was why the councils in the zone unanimously agreed to bestow him with the honours.
He said: The criteria used in choosing Aregbesola then was his performance in office and secondly, he owns three media organisations. Two of them were established long before he became a governor. Journalists are working in all of these places and are being paid by him.
When he was the governor in Osun, Aregbesola set up the Bureau of Communication and Strategy where he also employed journalists to work there. He also gave one bus to the Osun State Council of NUJ and another bus to the NUJ Correspondent Chapel.
In addition to that, he was accessible to journalists; he held an interactive programme where journalists and other members of the public asked questions uncensored regularly. Even right now as the minister, he is accessible to journalists”.