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CLOSE-UP: Odebunmi, the Oyo rep and ‘product of godfatherism’ behind NBC, NPC amendment bills

CLOSE-UP: Odebunmi, the Oyo rep and ‘product of godfatherism’ behind NBC, NPC amendment bills
June 24
16:57 2021

A barrage of criticism has trailed the move by the house of representatives to amend the laws establishing the Nigeria Press Council (NPC) and Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

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Many Nigerians and media stakeholders have described the steps taken by the lower legislative chamber to amend the NBC and NPC acts as “draconian” and an attempt to stifle free speech in the country.

But what many citizens do not know is that Olusegun Odebunmi, a lawmaker from Oyo state, is the arrowhead behind both bills.

The bills have since passed second reading and public hearings have been held on them.

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While the proposed amendment to the NBC law seeks to put online broadcasters under the purview of the commission, that of the NPC seeks “harsh punishment” for defaulting media organisations and journalists.

Media organisations and journalists could pay as high as N10 million and N250,000, respectively, for infractions in the proposed amendment to the NPC law.

Interestingly, Odebunmi, a three-term lawmaker and member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is also the chairman of the house committee on information and orientation — meaning he presided over both public hearings on the bills.

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WHO IS ODEBUNMI?

Odebunmi had his primary education at Baptist Day School, Oko, Oyo, between 1974 and 1980.

He enrolled at the Baptist Secondary Grammar School, Oko, in Oyo, where he obtained his secondary school certificate.

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He went on to obtain a diploma at the Fashola Farm Mechanization Training Centre and another diploma in secretarial administration from the federal polytechnic, Ede, Osun state.

In 2011, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business education from the University of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state.

He established Bunvic Investment, an oil marketing company, in 1997.

Before then, Odebunmi had worked as a petrol station attendant at Adeyemo Petroleum Nigeria Limited where he rose to the position of depot representative.

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Prior to being elected as a lawmaker in 2011, Odebunmi was at different times the chairman of Surulere LGA in Oyo and commissioner for local government service in the state.

PRODUCT OF GODFATHERISM

In a 2019 interview with City People, Odebunmi said he is a product of godfatherism and that he respects godfathers.

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“I am not saying I don’t believe in it. I’ve been a product of godfatherism. I respect them and I’ve paid my dues, but what I’m saying is; don’t rely on godfatherism to win an election,” the lawmaker said when he was asked if he believed in godfatherism.

“The godfatherism will not follow you to your polls. They can influence your ticket.

“They can influence people to support you, but your behaviour towards your people would give you the winning formula.”

The lawmaker said he won successive elections because he has been able to connect with his constituents.

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