Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
The fact-finding committee recently constituted by Governor Kayode Fayemi to see to the reopening of closed Broadcasting Corporation of Ekiti State (BSES) and former Managing Director of the media platform, Lere Olayinka, on Wednesday, exchanged verbal invectives over the latter’s refusal to honour an invitation to appear before the Committee and explain his role leading to the indefinite closure of the station by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) over alleged infringement of broadcasting codes.
BSES was hammered by the NBC on June 15 for allegedly allowing immediate past governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, announce some results of the July 14 governorship poll while the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was still collating results from its Local Council offices.
Mr. Segun Omolayo, chairman of the Committee, told newsmen in a press briefing on the progress of his team’s exercise that Mr Olayinka was invited with a letter and announcements on the media to appear before his team on Tuesday, November 13, but he was yet to honour the invitation as at Wednesday morning.
Omolayo who warned that Olayinka has to appear in his own interest when re-invited, said: “We have spoken to the Director and Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Information as a supervising authority, but the key operative of the station before the closure who has been invited is Lere Olayinka, he was the Managing Director and Special Adviser on Media and Public Communication to former Governor Fayose. He was to appear before us at 10am on Tuesday but we haven’t seen him.
We will re-invite him however, as we need to have a face to face interaction with him among other things. It will cost him more if he didn’t appear,” he said.
But in a swift reaction, Olayinka vowed not to appear before the Committee alleging that it was set up for a predetermined political agenda.
Fayose’s aide, who said he was yet to receive the Committee’s invitation letter, alleged further that it was Governor Fayemi who had influenced NBC’s clampdown on the station as part of alleged : “… grand plot to take the State by force and also illegally”,). He then urged the Committee to seek urgent audience with the governor with a view to reopen the station.
His words: “While it is an established fact that as I write today, November 14, 2018, I am yet to receive any official invitation from the so-called committee to that effect; I wish to state expressly that I am not under any obligation to appear before the committee or any other one for that matter.
“From its actions so far, especially the Press Statement in which it referred to the date of yesterday as November 23, 2018, it is clear that the said Committee was not properly briefed on its scope, powers and functions, hence its ill decision to embark on a naked dance at Oja Oba Market, advertising its ignorance to the entire world by acting like a judicial panel or a court of law.
“I, therefore wish to inform those who set the committee up for a pre-determined purpose that I, Lere Olayinka will not appear before any committee of a government that was faultily established with the stolen mandate of Ekiti people.
” Most importantly, since one of the major reasons for setting up the committee is to find out what led to the closure of Ekiti FM 91.5 and EKTV on July 14, 2018, I advise the committee to seek audience with Governor Kayode Fayemi, who engineered the closure through his Abuja collaborators.
“It is an undisputable/notorious fact that the closure of Ekiti Radio and Television was part of the grand plot to take the State by force and also illegally. Since that sinister motive has been achieved and Fayemi is now the imposing governor, he should rather see to the reopening of the broadcast stations instead of seeking to rub the mud of his act of wickedness against Ekiti and the innocent staff of the BSES who only did their jobs as directed by their employer on others.
“It is on record that the N2m recommencement fee imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was paid. Yet, the suspension was not lifted.
It is also on record that while receiving his Certificate of Return from INEC, Fayemi boasted openly that the Radio and Television stations won’t be reopened until October 16, 2018. Therefore, Fayemi, the mastermind of the closure of EKTV and Ekiti Radio should reopen the stations.
“Also, since the Committee is Fact Finding, the number one priority should have been the reopening of the stations so that the members can have unhindered access to records of the Corporation haven been locked in the offices since July 14, 2018.
“My question is; can a Fact-Finding Committee function effectively without having access to the corporations’ requisite documents and equipments?
“Furthermore, there are Civil Servants who are Directors in the BSES. These Director’s are the custodians of the Corporation’s relevant information and they are the ones that can be summoned by the Fact-Finding Committee, not an individual, personnel or group of persons who are no longer in the employment of government.
“The committee is therefore advised to seek relevant information on BSES from the Directors of Administration and Supplies, Finance, Engineering and others.
“Also, as said earlier, the committee should appeal to Governor Fayemi to get the stations reopened so that proper assessment of the stations’ functional and non-functional equipment can be carried out.
“Let me conclude for now by urging members of the so-called committee as well as those helping them to appraise their ignorance and ill decisions to advise Governor Fayemi to first wash his hands clean so that when next he is coming to equity, he will come with clean hands,” he said.