Dapsy: The Benevolent Investigative Journalist
By Yushau A. Shuaib
He walked in casually, sat calmly and was received warmly by the audience. With cheerful demeanour, he cracked jokes, threw banters and shared pleasantries with guests and participants who thronged around him like bees in their nest.
It was on June 10, 2013, at 1.55pm when I was about to deliver a paper at a Media Seminar organized by the Netherland Embassy in Abuja. The participants were reporters, editors, and spokespersons of critical institutions.
I watched as the man politely declined offers of a seat in the front row and sat at the extreme end of the hall.
Since I hardly acknowledge the presence of dignitaries during my presentation, when time is crucial, I didn’t bother to ask for the identity of the new guest that was so loved in the hall.
While making the presentation, I noticed that he was very attentive and kept on nodding in agreement and encouraging gesture to my points.
During the question and answer session, he stood up and commended the presentation. Surprisingly, other participants including General Chris Olukolade, the then Director Defense Information and Frank Mba, the Police Spokesperson whom I was meeting for the first time made similar comments.
It was my first public lecture after I was forcefully retired from the public service by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The man walked up to me. He congratulated me for the paper and introduced himself thus: “My name is Dapo Olorunyomi, I report for Premium Times.”
I was not only shocked but felt embarrassed that I could not recognize the face of the Publisher of the Premium Times that had been publishing my articles, including the controversial piece that put me in trouble with the then Finance Minister, Dr, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Though that day was the first time we were meeting, I had known Dapo who is popularly called Dapsy as a thoroughbred investigative and fearless journalist who was born in the ancient city of Kano on November 8, 1957. I learned that he schooled in Zaria, Ilorin and Ile-Ife for his primary school, secondary education, university degree, and postgraduate programmes respectively, before obtaining other certificates from the University of Oxford and the American University.
A multi-award award-winning investigative journalist, Dapsy has always been at the forefront of mainstreaming the practice of investigative journalism in Nigeria towards exposing corruption, regulatory failures, and human rights abuses.
His contribution to national development was felt during his anti-corruption advocacy and public awareness campaign when he served as Chief of Staff and Policy Director of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We are sorry about your plight and predicament with the Finance Minister after the publication of your article in Premium Times,” Dapsy interrupted my thought as we shook hands.
“Pleasure meeting for the first time today sir. I have no regret about my publications and thanks for publishing some of them,” I responded.
“We are ready to defend you and provide our platforms for your aspirations,” he added.
From that day, I became a regular contributor to the Premium Times. In fact, one of my articles on the Media-Security Relationship after the Seminar prompted the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to invite me for a chat.
The chat with Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the National Security Adviser, become a turning point in my life. Not only did Dapsy’s Premium Times provide their platform for all the interventions and PR stuff on national security, other media too were quite generous.
Meanwhile, the encouragements on my first public lecture after my retirement from the public service opened a floodgate of subsequent presentations on Media Engagement, Social Media and Crisis Management.
On a personal level, not only does he develop an interest in my progress, but he also ensures my son who is a Mass Communication graduate did an internship under his tutelage. He provides moral and kind supports to the young man and other budding journalists and writers in Nigeria towards promoting professional excellence in journalism.
I am a Public Relations Practitioner rather than a journalist. I have since realized that not only in a lottery, an effective media coverage through strategic public relations can catapult a PR person to an instant star due to the benevolence of a journalist and the media fairness.
In a nutshell, Dapo Olorunyomi is a very humble and reliable soul, who would go out of his way to extend kindness to others, especially those in need of protection and such benevolence.
Yushau A. Shuaib, Author of “An Encounter with the Spymaster” and Winner of Africa and International Public Relations Awards contributes this essay in the book “Testimony to Courage- Essays in Honour of Dapo Olorunyomi” which was launched on May 27, 2019