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Tribute to Bola Aragbaiye

Tribute to Bola Aragbaiye

By Ayodele Fagbohun
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The death of Mr. Bola Aragbaiye, a veteran journalist and colourful newspaperman was received with rude shook and great alarm.

Not on account  of his death at 77 years old which in biblical parlance could be a solace for christians that 70 years is man’s time on earth and that  is only by God’s grace he could exceed 70.

This goes without saying that no one welcomes cold hands of death to snatch loved ones at any given time, in the nick of time.

None the less, I was thrown off balance on the sudden loss and depletion of our old generation of journalists who aptly can be described as wordsmiths on paper and the quintessence of the noble profession. When the profession is facing serious uninhibited challenge of fake news awashed in  the social media and net. And more worrisome the fraternity of the pen is rendered hors de combat  to fight this pandemic that threatens the survival of journalism.

Anyway, suffice  to say this  arrant nonsense indiscipline and strange development in journalism was never insinuated let  alone sneaked in and accepted as  the norm to discredit journalism profession during the good old days  of Bola Aragbaiye.

I must say with respect for the dead, his noble  professional colleague, Comrade Niyi  Oniororo of blessed memory too deserve rest in the bosom of his master, the Lord Jesus for fighting the good  cause and emancipated   journalism profession  from bigotries.

As a hardworking, self made and accomplished  journalist not given to  sheer frivolity and  indolence prevailing in the political space, Mr. Bola Aragbaiye was chosen on merit from the Sketch group of newspapers as  Press Secretary to  the old Ondo State Governor, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin.

Here, he worked relentlessly as the excellent public relations practitioner and administrator and adroitly popularized the programmes and policies of UPN government in the state.

There, I  as  a cub reporter, had the privilege of meeting this ace newspaperman who incidentally was a colleague and soul mate of my Editor, Comrade Niyi Oniororo, the Publisher/Editor of the People’s Newspaper. Oga Bola Aragbaiye used to visit us, the reporters working  for the People’s News at Oduduwa Road, at Ijapo Akure residence and at Akinyemi Way, Ring Road, Ibadan where the weekly provincial newspaper was published.

This early  foray into journalism afforded me  on separate occasions to meet former Ondo State Commissioner, Chief Segun Adegoke under UPN administration. Publishers  of the People’s News ably and fearlessly keyed into the full implementation of Ajasin lofty programmes and blazed the trail of progressive politics in every  community, hamlet and farmstead of Ondo State.

To the credit of Chief Press Secretary to the  Governor, the late Bola Aragbaiye, he strictly adhered to professional conduct and ethics of journalism.

It is indeed remarkable that the immediate  cause for the disastrous collapse of Second Republic was perhaps political turbulence and crisis of confidence between Governor Ajasin and his deputy, Akin Omoboriowo over the 1983 state governorship tussle. Whilst the conflagration lasted, the editor, Mr. Bola Aragbaiye brought  his  unique professional detachment and non partisan role to bear in the administration of the state. After the coup that ousted the civilian rule in 1983, Oga returned unscathed  to his desk at Sketch Press Limited having been on leave of absence from duty. He had no query to answer from any quarters. That was part of the landmark grand breaking achievements of a role model and ecumenical cynosure of  journalism  around contemporary world.

Au revoir, ! Elder John Bolanle Aragbaiye.

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