Re: Confession of a politician masquerading as journalist – by Stephen Gyang

After massive appeals from far and near, Mallam Olawale Rasheed was practically forced not to respond to Ismail Omipidan again due to the clear and wide gap that exists between the Spokesperson to the Osun state Governor and the failed media handler of Mr Oyetola. I will dwell on specific areas of service before outlining the next line of action as a business partner of Rasheed for several years in Abuja and across Africa.

My appreciation first goes to Mallam for accepting not to respond after many appeals from well meaning colleagues. Engagement with Ismail will henceforth be from us to avoid distracting Mallam who has serious state assignments at hand.

I particularly want to touch on the career issue raised by Ismail and to submit that he again lied and deliberately acted to throw mud. Mallam’s career path is known to be of the highest standard across the spots where he has ever served.

The piece showed Ismail took brief from those envious of Mallam’s rise across board; those who have failed in previous professional battles with Mallam and those who simply cannot fathom the character called OLAWALE RASHEED.

Born of humble background and raised in what we called “Oju Oja”, Mallam through grace and dint of hard work rose through the ranks to attain his present stage. A consummate, tenacious, loyal player, many who struggled to stop divine grace in the life of Mallam fell by divine arrow. His life is a symbolism of mercy, favour and grace.

Until recently, Mallam Rasheed was a member of the Ministerial Committee on the unbundling of Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC), representing the private sector. Guess what! A former female lawmaker ensured Rasheed’s appointment into that office as a railway policy advocacy professional.

Who nominated him to serve in that high profile committee?

Where has Rasheed worked before now?

He was the only special Assistant to the Minister of Youth Development between 2007 and 2011. His Minister, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi was adjudged the best Minister of Youth development by late President Umar Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan. In that Ministry till date, Rasheed is a popular name because of his deep support and contributions while serving his boss.

The Spokesperson was also at the Ministry of Power as a Special Assistant to the Minister of State. In early 2022, his networking capacity led to his appointment by the same Ministry into a planning committee to host a regional event as a representative of the private sector. In that Ministry till date, his relationship with top officials and bureaucrats remain solid.

As a homegrown Tribune reporter, Rasheed who joined the Tribune family as a senior reporter was transferred to Lagos as a political correspondent and in 1999, he was moved to Abuja as a National Assembly correspondent.

At a point, the management appointed him Abuja Bureau Chief and Group Politics Editor at the same time. That appointment was the first of its kind in Nigeria’s media history, earning him accolades and enemies.

Yes. Enemies who went as far as going after his life on two occasions. One was a fatal road accident where the brand new jeep he was driving with his wife and son was completely destroyed. Miraculously, Mallam and his family came out of the accident unscathed. Yes, enemies who never forgive Mallam for bagging two top appointments at the same time.

But Mallam performed creditably well in both offices until in 2010 when he was moved to Ibadan as a Group political editor. From Ibadan, Mallam contributed tremendously to Tribune growth, generating many cover stories and churning out many first grade features.

A year later, he was appointed Special Assistant. After service in that capacity, he returned to Tribune and was made the Northern region editor and later Deputy editor. In 2014, he was appointed Special Assistant again and by 2015, he set up Sahel Standard limited, a media and political consulting firm.

Or, is it a crime to stand on one’s own after almost 20 years in a company?

Up till date, Rasheed is in close working relationship with the Tribune management. The current Editor-in-Chief of Tribune titles is a constant reference on Rasheed’s resume.

Just recently, Rasheed left Abuja Chamber of Commerce where he was the Executive Director of the National Chamber Policy Centre. He remains a member of that chamber till date with operational relationships in pursuit of business advocacy.

On the strength of his records, Osun State Chamber of Commerce this year elected him a Vice President while he was also elected second Deputy president of Iwo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. That is Mallam, truly a man of integrity who remains deeply loyal to any project he is committed to.

A low profile but cerebral personality, Rasheed today as in all time has an excellent relationship with people he has worked with except when such relationship is injurious to his person; except when boardroom politics is designed to destroy his being and person; except when his life is at risk; except when a matter of principle is involved.

Nowhere was Rasheed ever banned from his workplace despite multiple boardroom battles. I heard Mallam has directed his lawyer to institute a billion naira suit against Ismail Omipidan for defamation of character and character assassination. He would have to provide evidence of any time or occasion when the issue of banning from work premises ever occurred.

Overall, my contribution is only to address the areas of personality attacks. I worked with Mallam in Abuja for years and I can tell you Ismail Omipidan has crossed the limit.

● Stephen Gyang writes from Asokoro, Abuja

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