Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has explained thar he was absent to receive an award from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism because he is away on an official trip to Abu Dhabi, and because of the unfortunate event of Friday, a clear reference to the drama of the arrest of Omoyele Sowore by Department of State Services (DSS) agents in court.
Recall that an invasion of the National Assembly under Osinbajo’s watch as Acting President a year ago, while President Muhammadu Buhari Buhari was away to London for medical reasons, led to the sack of then Director-General, Lawal Daura.
The sack has been speculated to be at the root of political problems Osinbajo is allegedly having in the presidency.
The Wole Soyinka Centre had stayed action on the award to Osinbajo on account of the Sowore/DSS bizzare and unprecedented drama in court.
It is instructive that all the lawyers and senior advocates in the President Buhari’s administration are yet to comment on Friday’s incident until Osinbajo’s allusion to it in his Sunday letter released on Monday by the Presidency.
The letter reads: “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.”
Recall that in a statement, Motunrayo Alaka, Chief Executive Officer of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, said the decision to postpone the award to Osinbajo was reached following the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore.
“The postponement was decided on, 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. The Vice President himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point,” he said.
The award presentation was slated for December 9, the World Anti-Corruption Day and eve of the World Human Rights Day.