February 24, 2024

I have no regret being a journalist- Odeyemi

Prince Diran Odeyemi… Chairman, Governing Council,Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke in Osun state.

Prince Diran Odeyemi, in his 60s, is from the Obokun local government area of Osun State was a journalist extraordinary, an Editor’s delight in the 80s when he worked as State Correspondent in Osun and Oyo State.
At different times,he worked with the then Concord Newspapers and later Vanguard Newspapers.

During his Journalism career,his knack for getting good and exclusive stories in the face of dangers knew no bound as it earned him many front page stories .This later turned attitudinal for him as time went by, before faith brought him into politics.

Odeyemi who stood tall among his colleagues at that time could be described to dare where the Angels thread, but the results at the end of the day were that he made huge contacts,good money and later travelled out of Nigeria to settle down in London.

It was while he was enjoying the frills of London that the then governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao Akala,who found in him a worthy ally during his works as a Correspondent in Oyo State invited him to join his cabinet as Special Adviser on Media and Communications.

That was where his adventure into politics began till date. Among others,he was a governorship aspirant of Peoples Democratic Party in Osun state, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party at another time and also Spokesperson of Adeleke Campaign Organisation before his latest appointment.
DEMOLA AKINYEMI,Kwara State Correspondent of Vanguard Newspapers had an encounter with him, Excerpts


My name is Prince Diran Odeyemi. I was a journalist,and I think I’m still one. I started my journalism career in 1987, almost immediately after my NYSC in Abuja. After that, I got appointment as a Reporter with Concord Newspapers. And after we were employed, Community Concord was formed by Late Chief M.K.O Abiola. And because of the nature of Community Concord, we were redistributed to cover certain areas. So I was posted to cover Ife/ Ijesa as a community.

I felt bad because my intention was to be in Ibadan. So when I was posted to cover Ife/ Ijesha, I had to sit down and map out my strategy. Of course in Ife, the Ooni’s palace became a very good source of news.

I also identified Obafemi Awolowo University ( OAU) ile-ife as another source of getting stories. In Ijesha land, the politics there and palace of Owa Obokun became my primary source of getting stories. Also the then IBF (International Breweries Football club) in Ilesha was there too, I was covering Sports, Politics, Tradition, campuses, entertainment and so on.

Coincidentally, the issue of Aromolaran wife came up and I was able to break the story. That was when the MKO took the wife of Oba Aromolaran to London and eventually they got married.

That story became news. And as a Reporter that was closer to the Ooni of Ife then, Oba Okunade Sijuade so much loved me that I benefitted a lot from him.

Luckily again, there were lots of stories in OAU. Stories like Cultism, Sports etc, I made several Front page headlines from there. I remember one particular incident where the student honoured late Gani Fawehinmi and the NBA refused to give him Senior Advocate of Nigeria and they gave him the Senior Advocate of the Masses, so I covered the story.

At a point in time, most of the stories that I sent to them were going straight to National Concord instead of Community Concord, and because of that they saw me as an asset and transferred me to Concord Ibadan. So Concord saw me as a versatile Reporter and brought me to Ibadan, it all happened within 7 months. When I was in Concord, I didn’t relent. My main target was always hit the Front Page, so I go for exclusive stories.

After some time, because I had friends in Vanguard, I became a kind of a bride to most Editors. I had offers from Tribune, Vanguard, they wanted me to leave Concord and because I had friends in Vanguard, most especially, Gbenga Adefaye, who was my secondary school classmate and Kehinde Bamgbetan who was my Junior, they were all there. And because Gbenga Adefaye was the Editor in Vanguard at that time, I thought it would be okay to go and assist him and work with him. That was how I joined Vanguard Newspapers. And when I joined Vanguard, I was asked to assist Mr. Bolaji Kareem, he was the State Corespondent in Oyo State then.

After about Four months with him as his Assistant, he became a Commissioner under Lam Adesina and i became the State Correspondent. And as State Correspondent, we always have this performance chart.

The only Correspondent that beat me on that chart are Reporters from Abuja and Lagos. I always come third. And I know how to tap exclusive stories. There was an exclusive interview I did with late Akinloye about the issue of the Champagne and it was so exclusive that it was sold out in Weekend Vanguard.

Also at that time,Molete Adedibu’s house became source of news for me, same thing with Alh Alao Arisekola’s house. That was how I was able to penetrate the political landscape of Oyo state and that was how I became known in Oyo state politics. I have no regrets being a journalist.

And when Osun State was created, Vanguard said I would be a good Reporter to start there, and when I got to Osun State, I became the Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel during late Isiaka Adeleke period.

When the military took over, Commander Anthony Udofia took over as the administrator in osun. So I was writing my stories and there was this particular incident when I was writing an article about his administration and I rated him so low and was exposing the corruption in that administration.

One of our colleagues who was looking for his favour sold me out and preempted my articles by informing the administrator that I was preparing a feature article which will expose him if it was published. And the Administrator called me one afternoon, so I went to see him in his office and he said he learnt I was writing article against him. I said it was not true, that I was writing article for my newspaper.

Then he requested a copy of the article, I wasn’t suppose to give him the copy but I wanted to know what he wanted to do with it. So I asked him if he could give me 5 minutes, that I will give him the article. Then he told his ADC to escort me, then I went to the Press Centre in the governor’s office,at Okefia and brought out the article and I went back and gave it to him.

He read it and looked at me, when he got to the third paragraph, he asked me if I actually wanted to publish the feature and I replied Yes and he said in my own interest I should not publish the material. Then I replied him that I don’t succumb to threat because I wasn’t working for him but for Vanguard Newspaper and I will write it and it will be published. I told him to arrest me if he wanted to. And he was so shocked with the way I spoke with him, the ADC wanted to attack me that I was so rude to him but he ordered him to leave me.

Some Commissioners were also there, begging him on my behalf and I was questioning them why they were begging him when I didn’t commit any offence, other than doing my job. And the man said I should go and in my own interest, the article must not be published and I replied him that I’ll publish it.

So I left the premises and reported the incident to my boss in Lagos, and he requested for the article and good enough, it was published. The Editor then was Gbenga Adefaye.

On the day the article was published, there was this driver driving journalists around in the Press Crew Bus, Alhaji Rasak Oyetunji.He came to my house very early in the morning and said the military were planning to arrest me. I was actually expecting it because I didn’t care. The man begged me not to go out but I refused and went to the governor’s office when I got there, the military were very hostile, they were thinking of what to do with me.

Without my knowledge, the Administrator had called my office that he wouldn’t want his soldiers to do anything to me so he begged the management to transfer me from Osun State to anywhere because he could not guarantee my safety. I also received a call from my Editor to leave Osun State with immediate effect that they would not want to publish the obituary of their Reporter. But just to signify their support for me that they will not have a Reporter to cover the activities of the military in Osun State. It was at that stage that Alhaji Rasak volunteered to take me to Ibadan because I needed to be shielded. Then I traveled to Ibadan and that was how I came back as a Correspondent in Oyo State .

As luck would have it, that was the beginning of my destiny, the fulfilment of my destiny. It was during MKO Abiola crusade for the validation of his mandate. At Old Ife road in Ibadan, I was going to my office at Oke paadi. By the time I got to gate, there was riot. As a Reporter, I was so curious to see that police men from Iwo road from the Area Commander were more or less piloting the crowd. Psychologically, they didn’t want them to destroy anything. And I was wondering if the policemen joined in the rioting or were against it. So I started following them, that was when Otunba Christopher Alao (there wasn’t Akala behind his name then) was the area commander. So I started observing and taking note on the incident. At a point, they lost the crowd, the crowd decided to free the prisoners at the gate. So when they realised they couldn’t control them again, they started firing tear gas.

But some rioters defiled the tear gas and penetrated into prison and opened the gate for the prisoners to escape.
When the Area Commander realised he couldn’t control them again, they started shooting. And along the line, two prisoners were wounded.

So I got all that as a journalist and I thought I’ve gotten a good story as usual .So, i was looking forward to hitting the headline. Also I needed to get a police angle. I now called the then Commissioner of police and reported what happened to him, and asked for his angle.

And he told me that if that story is published, not only will the Area Commander be in trouble but also me too .So, he said he will ask Akala to contact me to give his explanation.

So he organised a police meeting and invited me but I refused and asked them to come to my office and they also refused. At the end of the day, Otunba Alao Akala told me to meet him somewhere, so I went with two of my colleagues. When we got there, he was able to explain a lot of things to me, the implication and execution of their job and they now requested for the outright killing of the story.

He even offered me money. I refused and told him I will write their own part of the story and balance it. So I wrote the story, it hit the headline and the man commended me for balancing it. And that was how we became friends.
At a point in time, I decided to relocate to London, especially during Abacha era because most of the stories people were writing in support of democracy were not favourable to the military.

While in London I still maintained my friendship with him. So when he was elected the governor of Oyo State, he invited me in London to become his Special adviser on Communications and Strategy and that was a turning point for me. I resigned my job in London and came back to Nigeria to be the Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy. We were always together and were very close. So that was what made me to become a politician till date.


I knew that showcasing myself as an upright person will always make a way for me . Its not that I was rich when I was getting the offer, but I knew I couldn’t collect money and do something against my conscience. And what I enjoyed as a Reporter was seeing my Byline at the front pages of the newspaper. I wouldn’t want to take money and not be able to meet my target or see my Byline on a very good story.

I started that with Concord and it was those bylines that sold me out to become a bride to Vanguard. So I cherished that more than money.

Secondly, there was a time I did interview for Alhaji Arisekola, then he saw that I didn’t misquote him and didn’t try to form a story or be sentimental. So he was very impressed that day and called all the security and instructed them to allow me see him anytime I like because he likes me.

So I went to him on Two occasions and there was no problem. So at another time, I wanted to go and see him just for a story in his house. And I knew security were already instructed by him to allow me enter. So when I got there, there were so many people that wanted to see him and the security didn’t allow them. So when the security saw me, they told me they won’t let me enter that day because Alhaji said he doesn’t want to see anybody.Then I told them to give him my card and one of the security men took my card and went to him and told Alhaji what happened and gave him my card. Then he said he still wasn’t ready to see anybody and broke his own law, so he dipped his hand in his pocket and gave the security man money to give me. It was 10,000 then. The security man came to me and gave me the money that Alhaji said I should to come back the next day. Then I told him to return the money to Alhaji.
So I went back the second day, Alhaji doubled the money for me and that was how we became friends. So I believe some virtues will always fetch you more than you expect particularly integrity. So that was a principle I kept to that made me become what I am today.


When I was in Oyo State, the then Governor,Alh Adebayo Alao Akala was so impressed about my performance and the quality of advice I give to him that he later considered me to be a Commissioner.

So he made his contacts but they told him not to present it to the House of Assembly because I’m from Osun State and if the distribution of commissioner quota basis in Oyo State comes, how do they justify it. So he said that they have been pointing to me that Osun is my state and there’s no way I won’t go back to Osun. Then he removed me as Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy and changed me to Special Adviser on Special Duties as I will cover everything. So he told me to start my political career in Osun.

Then I asked him where do I start from and he said I should register in my ward and go to their meetings and when the time comes, I’ll tell them I want to contest. So I agreed and went to my hometown, Ibokun and registered as a member of the party. They were all happy to see me and were all impressed about my performance in Oyo State.

When I left, despite the good atmosphere and exchange of ideas, I called my brother at home to get a feedback of the registration. And my brother said there were some negative things they said that I made money in Akala government and I think I can come to take a post and they also said I didn’t have a plot of land in Ibokun that if I have a political meeting with them, will I be taking them to hotels? I considered those words as negative, then I called Akala and told him I’m not sure I’m ready for politics that when we are done with his administration, I’ll go back to London. Then he said I have to start somewhere and build a house in my hometown.

Then I went to see him the next day and he gave me 5 million Naira to look for a land in Ibokun to start building.

He gave me a week holiday to sort that out. So I got an acre of land and started building and it was that time they embraced and saw me as a politician. It was around that time Oyinlola administration was coming to an end. So I went back to Akala and he said I should tell them I want to contest for Governorship, so when I do that, they will reduce my rank to house of assembly or rep. And I told him I don’t have money fot the project.

So he encouraged me and that was how I declared to be the governor of Osun State. I bought the 30million naira form from Abuja in 2011, I did posters, billboards, vests, facecaps as an aspirant. And I got donations from the press. We were to have the primary election when the court ruled that Aregbesola was the governor. So everything was cancelled. By that time, I became very prominent in Osun politics. After Aregbesola was the governor and Akala administration finished in Oyo, I came to Osun and I was nominated as the state PRO of the party. I was criticising Aregbesola government.

After sometime, I went for a National election and I became the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party and spent Four years. I now went back to Osun, by that time I became a critical stakeholder. So during Adeleke campaign,I became his Spokesperson and after winning the election, I got appointed as the chairman of the Governing council, Osun State College of Technology, that is position I’m holding currently.


Nothing strange happened. I was the Deputy Campaign manager for Late Alao Akala.

I will say there wasn’t anything strange about the campaign. And coming to the position I’m currently holding,, I’m such a person that is always contented with whatever situation I found myself.For me,it is the holder of an office that creates whoever is going to be in that office. I’m doing my best here in Esaoke and I’m very happy. I’ve seen it all when I was the S.A in Oyo State. It is only if you are in the good book of the governor that you can enjoy your position.
I’m enjoying my position and I’m happy so I have no reason to complain.


There are lot of issues in Osun State College of Technology. Since 2011, no appointment has been done to replace lecturers and staff that retired and are late. I brought that to the attention of the government and we will employ lot of lecturers and workers. I’ve considered the Healthcare centre as not good enough to take care of the health needs of 4000 students and I’ve made an appeal to the governor and he has upgraded the standard of that hospital.

Again, I saw the condition of the college internal roads, and the governor has approved that the internal roads be tarred. We realised that we need to secure buses just to gear up the number of students. The governor has approved that, we were able to get four more buses during this accreditation period. And right now, we have lots of plans to get more courses accredited so that we can gear up the IGR of the College. And we thank the governor for his support and assistance and I pray that we will continue to enjoy more assistance from him.
So I’m enjoying everything, I have a very good management headed by the Rector, Dr. S.O Adegoke. They are very cooperative and we are working together without any hitch anywhere.


Coincidentally, I happened to be the first Governing Council Chairman of the council from Ibokun local government where the school is situated.

And that really challenged me to leave a good footprint in that school. Apart from being answerable to people as a politician, because it’s my local government, the question will be asked anytime that what are my achievements. It is based on these that I’ve been doing a lot to ensure that in the area of infrastructure, I’m able to put a lot of things on ground. And in terms of expanding the school, I’m doing a lot to ensure that some new courses are brought to the people in Osogbo where we can have more population.

Then we have a Faculty yet to be decided in Osogbo for the first time, then we are considering having Mass Communications department in Ibokun because of the media stations which are no longer useful to the state. But rather than leave the equipment to rot away, we will convert it and use it to build Mass Communication department there. So with this expansion,the school IGR.will definitely increase. I consider these as major achievements for me.


We thank God for the wisdom and knowledge, and we also thank the people of osun State for their support.

If you look at his background, the governor owes the people of osun State a lot The Adeleke family are not looking for money but rather want to use it to assist the state. Right from the allocation, the security votes given to him as the governor which he could use anyhow, he has put it back to the covers of the state to ensure salaries are paid as at when due. He specifically said he will prosecute projects to the tune of 100 billion Naira and we can see evident of that, everywhere. Road projects are going on, osun State has become a construction site.

In Education, he’s assisting the ministry to provide educational materials to all the schools so that we can have good WAEC results in Osun states. Many health centers have also been renovated and reconstructed.

Also borehole have been provided in almost all the wards in the state. And they are still going to do more in all areas.

The governor has performed credibly well and he’s not tired of doing more for the state.