Ordinarily, I did not intend to write on some actions taken against some staffers of the ancient Palace in Oyo by the Atiba Local Government. But it is incumbent at this time to put the record straight following wicked, and malicious information milling around the town on the unsettled issue.
To start with, my position as Director of Media and Publicity to the late Royal Cicero, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, remains sacrosant until a new Alaafin is installed. No local authority, therefore, has the power to prevent or stop me from performing my duty as assigned by my late royal icon. My total allegiance would remain to him, even after death, until it is otherwise after a new paramount ruler gets to the throne.
The Atiba Local Government is not my employer and, therefore, has NO right whatever to terminate my appointment, except the new monarch.
Shortly after the 40 days State burial for the late monarch, as wholly sponsored by the conscientious and God-fearing Executive Governor of the pace setter State, His Excellency Engineer Oluwaseyi Makinde, the Atiba Local Government, which is in charge of the Palace, directed orally that myself and some other staffers’ appointments had been terminated.
On personal enquiry, a top official said the decision came as “a directive from the Basorun of Oyo, who is also the acting Alaafin”. The official also said that “those whose appointments were terminated are casual workers not known to the council officially and their works in the Palace are not essential any more . While the few workers retained are not casual, but still have essential services to render for the Palace”.
For the record, all staffers of the Palace were engaged as casual by the late Monarch, as no one was offered letter of appointment. For easy payment of salary, the late Alaafin attached all his workers separately to the three Local Governments (Atiba, Oyo East and Oyo West).
While myself and head of the administrative unit were attached to the Oyo West Local Government, others were taken to the remaining two Local Governments. Is the Atiba Local Government saying the job of a Media and Publicity Director is not essential? What then is the rationale behind relieving him of his duty?
The fact remains that whatever happens in the Palace, its vicinity and by extension to the Oyo Traditional Council (Oyo Mesi) as far as media and publicity is concerned, is my responsibility to speak up. This is because the entire world, including the media, is focusing on the ancient Palace and the Oyo Mesi before, during and after the pronouncement and installation of the new Alaafin. So, this is what the Atiba Local Government officials and even the Oyo Mesi do not understand.
The media and publicity job in any establishment, especially a sacred place like the Alaafin’s Palace, should not be taken for granted. For instance, when the late Ayaba Kafayat, of blessed memory died, sometime ago, why didn’t the media in the country go to the chairman or any official of the local government or even the acting Alaafin for comment before publication? Why was I the one being looking for to clarify and speak up on the matter?
What if I refused to attend to the media, including the BBC, won’t they go ahead to report whatever information gathered from doubtful source (s)? It behoves on me to relate intimately between the Oyo Mesi and the media before, during and afte the installation of a new Alaafin. This is to avoid misinformation before the global community.
Information management cannot be toyed with. The council officials are bereft of these responsibilities attached to the office of the media and publicity director in the Palace, even after the demise of the royal employer.
They thought, out of ignorance, that as soon as the monarch had passed on every worker should be sent packing from the Palace. The case of the media aide is distinctly different.
What is more, when the late Olubadan passed on, none of the staffers of the late monarch, including the media aide, was relieved of his or her duty. They were all retained by the local governments and are still working with the new Olubadan.
Why is the Oyo Palace different? As far as the palace information is concerned, no other person will be considered as authentic or reliable by the media to speak to them except the media aide .
However, if the information at the finger tips of the media aide is not sufficient enough to be released, the media aide will then take the media to the appropriate person who will speak on the matter. I stand to be challenged that I still remain the image maker of the Alaafin’s Palace .
Now that the payment of my salary had since been stopped abruptly by the Oyo West Local Government, following the termination of my appointment, I remain undaunted but focused, steadfast and determined more than ever before to defend and promote the image of the Palace to the outside world.
Bode Durojaiye, director of media and publicity for the Alaafin’s Palace, writes from Oyo.