GOCOP to Nigerians: Disregard charlatans, blackmailers posing as online publishers

FROM LEFT:  Publisher, GKB News Digest, Gani Balogun; Managing Editor, The Eagle Online, Dotun Oladipo;  Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Executive Editor, Upshot Report, Mojeed Jamiu, during the meeting of the Minister with Online Publishers in Lagos
FROM LEFT: Publisher, GKB News Digest, Gani Balogun; Managing Editor, The Eagle Online, Dotun Oladipo; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Executive Editor, Upshot Report, Mojeed Jamiu, during the meeting of the Minister with Online Publishers in Lagos

The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, on Sunday described as unfortunate and ridiculous a statement credited to members of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, with respect to the meeting held on Friday between the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and online publishers in Lagos.

Besides, GOCOP decried a deliberate attempt by OPAN to distort facts relating to its formation.

It further expressed shock at the orchestrated campaign aimed at dragging the name of the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, a thoroughbred professional, in the mud by a group it described as charlatans who have taken their deceit of being professional journalists too far.

GOCOP made its position known in a statement by its Acting President, Musikilu Mojeed; General Secretary, Dotun Oladipo; and Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda.

It said not all members of OPAN can be described as professional journalists.

Rather, it said, many of those who make up the organisation are people who worked on the fringes in media houses and have taken to online journalism principally as tool for blackmail and extortion of money.

It said this is even reflected in the membership of the association’s Board of Trustees, which is made up of a columnist with The Guardian and former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati; some unknown lawyers; engineers; and Indians.

GOCOP said the statement credited to OPAN was clearly attention seeking and part of the carefully planned strategies to embarrass the current government and blackmail it into giving it undeserved recognition.

It said this is more so that OPAN, especially its leadership, is made up of people with questionable characters.

The statement said: “These are people who have spent months and days in Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos State and the dungeon of the Department of State Services for attempt to blackmail and extort money from eminent Nigerians, including prominent businessman, Femi Otedola; and a former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu.

“These are people who did not work for a single day as professional journalists, but as marketers, personal assistants and cameramen in media houses.”

Recalling the early days of the formation of GOCOP, the statement said the leadership of the online organisation, made up of seasoned journalists, with many boasting of over 25 years experience and rising to become Editors and Desk Heads of renowned newspapers, became aware of the “existence” of OPAN after it made moves to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

It recalled that a team of its officials, made up of a former President, Malachy Agbo, who is now the Chairman of Igbo Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State, and Oladipo, met with the so-called President of OPAN, Olufemi Awoyemi, in his office in Lagos State to see how the emerging group could fuse into the existing one.

However, the GOCOP group came out shell shocked with the revelations from the meeting.

Mr. Awoyemi said OPAN was formed and registered four years before the meeting but that they had kept its existence only to the members, who were less than five, with majority of them based outside the country.

He equally gave part of the terms for fusing as the repayment of the registration fee of the association, which he said would be deducted first from any money made by the association before members could begin to benefit financially.
When asked how much the registration fee was, Mr. Awoyemi said OPAN was registered in 2001 in the United Kingdom with £65,000 (Sixty-five thousand pounds).

At this point, Mr. Agbo told Mr. Awoyemi that the emerging body was not intended to be a money making association but a peer review gathering that would leverage on the experience of its members to bring sanity to online journalism.

After the meeting, OPAN members, working in concert with Mr. Abati, who deployed the powers of the Presidency, frustrated efforts to register the new body, with security agents threatening the leadership of the emerging body.

What was most curious, according to GOCOP, was that the initial name sent to the CAC, the Nigerian Online Publishers Association, was endorsed and granted registration, with the certificate of registration issued.

A few weeks after, CAC wrote NOPA claiming that it registered the association in error as OPAN was already in existence.

It took a long battle for CAC to agree to the name GOCOP. The name was even suggested to the online publishers by CAC. And this came amid threat of heading to the law court to challenge the CAC.

It also took OPAN, which claimed it was registered in 2001, over 14 years to formally launch the association.

OPAN was launched about a month after GOCOP did its own formal launch in 2015, which was attended by the likes of a former Chairman of The Punch titles, Ajibola Ogunsola; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, represented the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Abdulrasak Namdas; the Founder of Zinox, Leo Stanley Eke, who delivered the keynote address; the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Abraham Nwankwo; and Mr. Adesina.

The statement by Messrs. Mojeed, Oladipo and Iyanda said most members of GOCOP belong to the elite group of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, while none of those in OPAN qualifies to belong to any journalism association in the country, including the Nigerian Union of Journalists.

It added: “In mentioning a Special Adviser in the Presidency in their statement, by which we know they are referring to the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, OPAN is only seeking to drag a man of integrity, who insisted throughout the years OPAN had the backing of Abati that the right thing be done, into a needless controversy.

“There is no one who does not know that Mr. Adesina is a thoroughbred professional who will not stand by impostors and never-do-goods.

“And for the records, Adesina, being a concerned stakeholder and then President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, had been a strong pillar of support for GOCOP right from its formative stage. At that time, he agreed to be a member of the Board of Trustees of GOCOP. This was even when he had no inkling he was going to emerge the presidential spokesman.

“So also do we know that the choice of those who attended the meeting with Alhaji Lai Mohammed was carefully thought through and not men of doubtful standings who have spent days and months behind bars for failed attempts to blackmail.

“While we do not query anyone’s right of association, our stand still remains as an association: no person of doubtful character will be allowed to be a member of GOCOP. Only thoroughbred professionals and people of integrity. Members of OPAN have a right of association, but they should remain within their confines and not cast aspersion on others who have devoted their lives to making a name for themselves in journalism and are professionals in the real sense of the word.

“And thoroughbred professionals indeed abound in GOCOP, with most of the publishers having worked at the highest levels in publications such as Thisday, Punch, Tribune, Newswatch, Tell, The News, The Nation, Nigerian Compass, New Telegraph and Champion as Editors.

“We do not intend going beyond this for now as documents in our possession will be made available to the public on the atrocities of these charlatans if they push their luck any further.

“Our aim is to professionalise the practice of online journalism and not engage in blackmail, which has given journalism a bad name in the country.”


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  • Victor Aikhionbare

    Lol! Bone dat tin jare. Everybody na online publisher. If you have Internet connection and you can type, wetin you be oo? Reporter editor publisher all rolled into one. No more exclusivity.

    • Kickboxer

      exactly…that is why the attempt to stifle online media by APC/LYING MOHAMMED/brainless Buhari failed woefully.

      • excel

        Another specialist in failure. Why are You so dumb?


        You are part of the reasons the PDP is sliding into oblivion. You engage in crude and rude language even to propagate your lies. Lai met with online publishers and said, unequivocally, that the FG WILL NOT regulate online media. This was widely reported. How then does that translate into stifling the same media? Would he have met with key players in the New Media if he doesn’t believe they are important? Good a thing, Nigerians are smarter than the likes of clowns like you

        • ayobamiba

          Please try to quote liar Mohammed correctly, you wilfully forget to add that liar Mohammed told a bewildered nation that buhari government will’ patronize’ online publishers.what do u make of that.can you see why the media have become co conspirators in the acts of lying to Nigerians and suppression of information regarding the inept and clueless leadership of APC that is running Nigeria aground.

          • TRUTH MASTER

            Illiterate buffoon! What do you understand by patronizing the online media? It means giving them adverts as they give to newspapers, radio and TV. What is wrong with that? Daily, some newspapers, including the Sun, Vanguard and Guardian, criticize the FG harshly, but they all seek and get adverts from the FG. If nothing is wrong with that, why shouldn’t online media also get the same chunk of adverts. Illiterate Buffoon

          • ayobamiba

            The greatest tragedy of our nation is that robbers and criminals are always the first people to call innocent citizens ‘ole’,the warped minded free education hollow minds who are bankrupt in mind and reasons are the first people to call the sensible illiterates. What a calamity. This hollow mind can’t see even his nose not to talk about seeing beyond his nose.korofo.

          • TRUTH MASTER

            Undiscerning buffoon


    These associations hitherto used to collect “settlements” from politicians whilst selling falsehoods to Nigerian in the name of “professional journalism” are fast becoming extinct. Technology has made them obsolete,they can no more unleash deception on the populace.

    • Rommel

      One of the few occasions when you have been truthful


        “truthfulness” is relative by nature .

        • Datti

          NO, TRUTH IS CONSTANT; FACT might change and it is that is relative.

  • Rommel

    The PDP claimed that president Buhari was made by online media,if that is true then it means that things have changed since the PDP bought over every traditional news media in Nigeria prior to elections but that is no reason for the PDP to float so many trashy online media outlets now thinking that it will work for them hence the constant propaganda by their online soldiers like TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO and Oily Izon redeemer etc,I heard the party is re-branding,anyway,we have heard and are watching and waiting

  • excel

    Pdpig and blackmail are like butter with bread.


    The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria wishes to deny; disassociate itself from and debunk the impression being created that the Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed met with Online Publishers of Nigeria (OPAN) as widely reported in print and online media outlets in the last few days.

    While we recognize the right of the Ministry of Information and indeed the whole communication structure of the Government to engage with all media practitioners of all genres; we believe that engagements should be with titles and their designated representatives.

    An association of professionals created to ensure standards has the fundamental responsibility to remain fair, objective and balanced both in its conduct and engagements in a manner that ensures its mandate remains that of its industry and members.

    The meeting widely reported is one we believe was held with a group of online practitioners who had sought registration but was asked by the Corporate Affairs Commission to drop the use of its name as it conflicted with OPAN, the pioneers. This group later amended its name, and is still being promoted as a private project by a Special Adviser in the Presidency.

    This propaganda-premised platform is now being represented as the industry. This is not the case and the members of the public are advised to be aware.

    We advise that the generic use of the word “meeting with online publishers in Nigeria” by a government that is yet to recognize the role, place and value of online publishing in our extant laws is dubious at best


    Adesina, who was hired as an Editor with the Orji Kalu owned newspaper the Sun-but now with Malam Buhari, is one of the biggest Yoruba 419ners on mother earth–This was the guy who eat from the same table with Dasuki—and went on to plead with him to pay 10m each to the Newspaper Proprietors Association following the seizure of their newspapers—–by soldiers–in Lagos————–Then the same Adesina gets himself involved in raising 50m from–Dasuki again for his Editor friends———————–Now this mess by Liar Mohamed–His name is still featuring–again-Very sad–indeed—What a character—me question to Adsina is simply this—Is Tinubu the owner of the Nations online–a Journalist-?–what about Sharia Reporters SOWOREI? Who are the real owners of Premium Times?—Let us know their faces–Is it Liar Mohamed’ ati El Rufai –Sanusi and Ribadu ati Buhari? Who owns PT? Online Publishers are not necessarily Journalists as indicated above———-just as the owners of the Sun–Orji Kalu or the Nations are not journalists–Guardian Newspapers was never owned by a Journalist–Orji Kalu is not a Journalist-But tried severally to front as one—-in far away New York—–So yank off this disgraceful article for Liar Mohamed———————-

  • Zeetabeetaphi

    Dear Sir,

    With the Premium Times Editor as President of GOCOP it goes without saying
    that GOCOP is the authentic association of online publishers, especially that
    no other media house online can compare with Premium Times which has set
    the highest standard in investigative reporting that’s been missing in Nigeria.