For the record:
By Snr. Chief ‘Lekan Alabi
IBADAN – It was 40 years ago, exactly on January 4, 1983, the Press Secretary to the then sitting Governor ‘Bola Ige of old Oyo State, Dapo Aderinola, signed and sent the invitation to the 1982 End-of-Year party at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan to me.
I honoured the kind ivee, sent to a select group of journalists, accompanied by my wife.
As should be expected, anything to do with the late Chief ‘Bola Ige, better known and called Uncle ‘Bola, would be savvy and intellectual.
When it was time for “Questions/Comments”, after the main dinner, I stood up and asked Governor Ige, who was flanked by his amiable wife, Honourable Justice Atinuke Ige, this question: “Your Excellency, Governor Sir, who does your cooking here?”
The audience roared with laughter and I added the clincher, after the din had died down, “I am asking this question for my wife to take notice of, when it will be our time to occupy this Government House, God willing.”
In his characteristic manner, Governor Ige, first prayed that my wishes would come to pass, by the grace of God, before disclosing that the Government House catering crew, in line with state protocols, do the cooking. “But, they are supervised by my dear wife”, he added.
After a great time that evening, we, the guests departed the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan.
To my pleasant surprise, I got seconded, a month after the dinner, to Governor Ige as his Press Secretary in charge of Television matters, from my desk as Senior Editor, Current Affairs, the Television Service of Oyo State (TSOS) now called the BCOS-TV.
I assumed duty in February 1983, and served three military successors of Governor Ige, as Press Secretary from 1984 to 1989.
The echoes at the dinner of 4th January 4, 1983 kept ringing in my ears till I left the services of the last of the four Governors, the late Brigadier-General Sasaenia Oresanya, whom I served as the Press Secretary, till March 30, 1989.
Governor Oresanya, ironically, honoured me with a sendforth dinner, dubbed: “WINING-OUT”, at the OYO STATE LIAISON OFFICE, Victoria Island, Lagos State, on Friday, April 1, 1989. It was the first of it’s kind for any Press Secretary in Nigeria.
This is my story of first being an invitee to the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan to a host, as it were, for six years (1983 to 1989).
*Snr. Chief ‘Lekan Alabi, the Maye Olubadan of Ibadanland writes from Ibadan.