Saturday, November 28, 2020 1:22 pm
By Lanre Arogundade
The accusation then by the National Secretary of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Ubah Ahmed, was that the Chief Obafemi Awolowo led Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), was about sabotaging the Shehu Shagari government by setting up a pyrate radio station; and that the man who had been saddled with the responsibility was Gbolabo Ogunsanwo.
This was in the second republic and I think it was in the wake of the disputed presidential elections of 1983. Ubah Ahmed made the statement, having just succeeded Suleiman Takuma who as scribe of NPN regularly threw punches at the main opposition party.
Gbolabo Ogunsanwo was not the one to lie low in the face of such attack. He shot back in an article in the Nigerian Tribune and this part of it has stuck with me.
“I thought Suleiman Takuma was the most impossible Secretary the NPN could produce but this Uba Ahmed is another matter entirely….He passeth all understanding”.
Another example. During the tenure of Prince Tony Momoh as Information Minister under the Babangida regime, the debate suddenly arose on the crisis that rocked Daily Times of Nigeria that led to its eventual take over by the Olusegun Obasanjo military regime. It was a polemical battle in which reverred veterans like Chief Segun Osoba, Chief Areoye Oyebola, Prince Tony Momoh and Gbolabo Ogunsanwo who was one time Editor of Sunday Times featured prominently.
Momoh had apparently taken on Ogunsanwo in different interviews and he soon fired back at him in an article, some parts of which have also stuck with me. He wrote: “…….A ministerial toga is no magna carta for mandibulae walkabout…”. and threw religion related punches: ….”Here is a Muslim born Anthony, who became a mid day grail mover and ended up neither believing in Jesus Christ nor Mohammed”.
When some years back I ran into him at a function and quoted some of his words as stated above, he simply smiled, nodded and thanked me for the compliments. During that brief encounter I saw his other side as a simple and humble man. You may not agree with his view point but his polemic was irresistible.
Journalism and the media in Nigeria have lost a star. Rest in peace veteran Uncle Gbolabo Ogunsanwo.