Following the postponement of the Integrity Award that Professor Yemi Osinbajo was shortlisted for, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) has admitted that the statement of the Vice President was spot on.
WSCIJ takes responsibility for the “in-house communication gap caused the difference in the use of language and we accept responsibility for this.”
The WSCIJ executive director, Motunrayo Alaka earlier stated that the reason for the postponement of the award was to align with the protest against repression.
“… to align with protests against the repression of freedom of speech in recent times especially the incident between the Department of State Security (DSS) and Omoleye Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, on Friday 6 December,” she said.
Osinbajo, however, said that though the award was for the justice reform in Lagos, one of the reasons he would be absent was because of his trip to Abu Dhabi for an international meeting.
“I am extremely grateful for the recognition and award of the “Integrity Specialty of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Anti-corruption Defender Award of 2019” to me.
“The award, I note, is for our Justice reform efforts in Lagos State. I had accepted the award with pride on behalf of the excellent Justice Sector team we had.
“However, two reasons explain my absence. First is that I am currently in Abu Dhabi for an international meeting under the auspices of the government of the UAE where I am the keynote speaker.
“Second, in view of the developments on Friday in the Sowore case, I think it would be insensitive and inappropriate to attend the ceremony.
“Please accept my heartfelt apologies and extend the same to the other members of the organizing team. God bless you,” the statement read.
WSCIJ identified the use of language as an in-house communication gap.
“We were wrong and the Vice-President is right. WSCIJ accepts the statement from the Vice President’s Office as the true position on its intended award to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“An in-house communication gap caused the difference in the use of language and we accept responsibility for this.
“The WSCIJ stands by its intention to award the Vice President the Integrity Specialty of its Anti-Corruption Defender Award.”