Why Akeredolu Withdrew Journalists Covering Governor’s Office


Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of has withdrawn the accreditation granted some television stations to cover  the governor’s office.

The affected television stations are Channels TV, AIT and Core TV.
Information Commissioner, Yemi Olowolabi, made this known to the affected television stations’ correspondents through the press officer to the governor, Bode Akinwumi.
He accused the TV stations of not writing “good stories” to favour the government.
One of the reporters who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Olowolabi has always been unhappy with them for not propagating the news and events of the state government like their colleagues.
He thereafter ejected them from the Government House Press Corps.
In his reaction, Olowolabi accused journalists from the affected media of not projecting the government in positive light.
He accused the reporters of just sitting down at the Governor’s Office doing nothing.
His words, “They are called dedicated service and I started it when I was CPS 14 years ago. I brought the AIT in, I brought the ITV and Channels. We pay them quarterly for news coverage. Now when we resumed, we found out that the previous government was owing them over 300 million. So before commissioners were appointed, the ministry of information had signed an agreement with all of them that it wasn’t this government that owed you, but they negotiated 50% cut, meaning we will pay them 50% of the total sum, and they all agreed.
“We have been paying that debt since I resumed. But we have not renewed any of these contracts, and I also suggest that we should clear what we owe, rather than accruing another hundreds of millions of debt.
“So we had an understanding with them that we will pay what we owe, but you will continue to use our stories. To some of the stations, we have paid some 10 million, others 20 million like that, we are paying them on instalmental basis. We have paid twice, it remains just one tranche to clear the debt. Now, based on this understanding, TVC uses our story, Galaxy does, ITV does, but Channels has refused to air anything from Ondo state except if  it is negative, unless we pay all the debt. AIT has also refused to use any of our stories.
“So my understanding is that upon the fact that we give them allowances every month, we support them, we create a conducive environment for them to operate, yet they don’t use stories. In fact, they don’t even cover events. No private broadcast station covers any story from me, except it is negative news.
“I just told them to go and find something else to do, rather than sit in governor’s office morning till night doing nothing. So nobody has expelled them. If we are expelling them, we will write to their stations formally. But for them to sit dowm doing nothing, I think it’s most unfair to themselves, that’s my position.”

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