Acting General Manager of Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan (3SC) Oladimeji Lawal says there’s no iota of truth in the report making the rounds that he sent thugs to assault Sports and Multi-Media Journalists Tobi Adepoju.
According to Lawal, “The defamation of my character which took me years to build with the unguarded reports I saw hours after the Shooting Stars versus Remo Stars MatchDay 30 fixture, was a blow below the belt for me.
“Let me start by letting the public know that having played football at the top level of my career and now an administrator, I don’t throw caution to the winds as regards my personality. Am a gentleman, kind hearted, welcome all criticism and a friend to the Sporting Press in and outside Nigeria.
“Why would a journalist come up with a story that I (Oladimeji Lawal) sent persons to assault Adepoju who’s not just a well trained Sports Journalist and second to none among is peers, above all an ‘Ibadan Boy’ and a passionate Shooting Stars fan.
“You will recall all stakeholders in Oyo State football were apparently not happy with the violence that marred the fixture between 3SC and MFM of Lagos, in which the Chairman of the Oyo State Sports Council, Honourable Gbenga Adewusi Arole was injured.
“On Monday, to be precise the Oyo State Football Association and Shooting Stars management was proactive by holding a security meeting which had key stakeholders in attendance, all in the view of ensuring hitch free matches, beginning with derby against Remo Stars and in subsequent games.
“The on the pitch events may not have come in our favour, and sadly we couldn’t take the 3points off Remo Stars. Our visitors took a shocking lead and the Oluyole Warriors put that aside and responded immediately scoring the equalizing goal and from there the team was in the driver’s seat. But as the clock was ticking away, the game ended in a stalemate.
“Having sensed that a few irate persons, pretending to be fans of Shooting Stars might take the chance to attack players and officials of Remo Stars as they walk towards their team bus, myself, some officials of Oyo FA and a handful of security personnel (Policemen and Civil Defence Operatives) had to provide security for the visiting team.
“After making sure the Remo Stars contingent had left the stadium, I then met with few close friends who had come to watch the game. So I was no were near where the assualt on Adepoju took place.
“However, I want to use this medium to condemn the act in totality. I have never and will never be part of incidents that will bring the domestic league in Nigeria to disrepute or attack any personality in the game.
“Adepoju has been like a younger brother and one I’ve lots of respect for, him been a strong critic of the Nigerian domestic league and 3SC. If you must know, we had a one-on-one chat before the game, so why would I have stoop low to send ‘thugs’ after a journalist.”
A video that surfaced online and went viral on social media space after the Southwest Derby between 3SC and Remo Stars on Wednesday, showed Adepoju been assaulted twice by some faceless persons within the premises of the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba
It took efforts of a few policemen to quell the situation as they shot live ammunition in the air to dispass the thugs and some fans who witnessed the ugly ordeal.
This incident saw both the Oyo and Lagos State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) to issue different statements condemning the assualt on Adepoju and tasking the Oyo State Government, Oladimeji Lawal and Shooting Stars management to tender an unreserved apology to the Sports Journalist.