Exclusive: Ajimobi tried to demolish the “heartbeat” of the Ibadan people (Fresh FM)
Yinka Ayefele’s music career started in 1997 just after his accident that affected his spinal cord and landed him on the wheelchair since then. But just before then, Ayefele worked briefly as a journalist and broadcaster at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRSC), Ibadan, where he also produced jingles and musical works on radio.
Yinka understood the importance of the media and the effect it had on the people. For seven years he filed an application for a broadcast license, Yinka Ayefele finally commenced test transmission of his urban Fresh FM 105.9 in 2015. The radio brought back memories of the then FRSC radio concept, with interesting programmes people love and unbiased journalism.
Among other challenges he faced getting the radio station up and running, his prefered location was neck-deep into the new road construction at Challenge and was bound to be demolished by the then Governor Akala (Oyo State). Apparently, Ayefele enjoyed the good grace of Governor Akala due to the fact that the singer was Akala’s “personal person”.
Since the launch of the station, it has become the heart of the Ibadan people. The radio became the station that the people of Ibadan trusted for their news and insights to lingering stories in the state. The station has brought different government dignitaries to answer questions from the populace. One of such dignitaries is the current governor of Oyo state.
Beyond the radio station, Yinka Ayefele is a philanthropist who gives to the poor and widows in Ibadan. Big men who live abroad constantly use him as a medium to support those who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid. This has made people endeared towards him and his business entities.
A few weeks ago the Oyo state government made an announcement that they would be demolishing the music house on the basis that it contravened the Oyo State Physical Planning and Development Control laws, sections 30, 31 and 32 of the Oyo State Physical Planning and Urban Development Law of 2012.
According to Mr Arulogun (Commissioner for Information, Oyo State), he said the Music House building approval submitted to the state government was actually meant for an office complex and not a radio station.
The state government said a notice was earlier served to the Music House, Fresh FM 105.9, adding that the contravention notices were served to different organisations in the state since June 14, 2017, including all radio stations in the state.
Early hours of yesterday the demolition took place and observers at the incident said those who were tasked for the demolition planned to demolish the radio station which is situated behind the office complex. However, they stopped every attempt to demolish the music house when the august crowd came out.
Ibadan people have reacted and are in sympathy over the demolition of the station. Some people have taken to the street to demolish APC banners in the city. Meanwhile, Ayefele has taken to his Facebook page to leave a message for his fans not to destroy anything.
“Don’t cause trouble. Don’t even touch the caterpillar parked in front of the music house. I beg of you all. The government has done what they deemed fit. Fresh FM continues despite the demolition. So far we don’t do anything against the government laws and we’ve not breached the broadcast regulations. Let God judge.”
What we found so far is that the Governor is in rage over the station’s behaviour towards him. The station has failed to play ball with the Governor unlike other media businesses in the state who are under the coffers of the governor. Fresh Fm stands for the people and has employed an unbiased approach to its dealings. Is the Governor trying to silence media brands who are not dancing to his tune in the state? Is this another form of intimidation from the APC led party but the case is in court. We await the court verdict.