Thursday, January 20, 2011
In Which I Become an Investigative Journalist Because Somebody's Got to Do it.
According to this story, police arrested 32 year old Oluwole Aboyade at Miami Airport on Tuesday, after he was observed photographing sensitive areas inside and outside of the airport.
The story does not tell us where Mr. Aboyade hails from, but it does mention that he is in the country illegally. It did not appear that he was in the airport trying to remedy that situation. The story didn't tell us much of anything else, either, which made me kind of curious. It reminds me (imperfectly, so I'll paraphrase.) of the Peanuts comic strip where Linus begs Lucy to tell him a story. She is reluctant, but he is relentless, so she says, "A man was born. He lived and he died. The end." Linus finds the story compelling in what it doesn't say, and tells the reader, "I kind of wish I'd gotten to know him better."
I too, kind of wished I'd gotten to know Mr. Aboyade better. Even though I was certain that we were told everything there was to know by the nameless but highly dedicated investigative journalist who wrote the story, I thought I'd have a quick snoop and see what I could find.
A 5 second Google search revealed a listing on LinkedIn.com by a man of the same name. This Mr. Aboyade, (who has only a single link on his networking site) claims to be the sole proprietor of "the first black/Nigerian owned film and production company in Miami Florida, United States of America." The site lists two awards for Mr. Aboyade's work, the "Vision 2005- Achievement award of the year," and the 2004 Full Sail University "Best Feature Film Award," each, strangely, for films that he fails to name. Isn't that strange? It seems to me that an enterprising filmmaker would tell you the title of his award-winning films, wouldn't he?
And he does appear to be an enterprising young man. In another profile site called Plaxo (on which he has count-em - five connections) he claims credit for work in about two dozen productions, among them videographer/editor of (unnamed) pieces in 2005 related to a United Nations Summit and the Bill Clinton Global Initiative Foundation.
For his education, Mr. Aboyade's Plaxo site lists Full Sail University, Orlando Florida, without further details. His LinkedIn site says he has an "Associate of Science Degree Film and Video Production, Full Sail Real World Education," however, and correctly places the university in Winter Park, FL. Winter Park is adjacent to Orlando, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt, but if he won an award for "Best Feature Film" from his alma mater, shouldn't there be some record of it? Google returns no instances where his name appears in the same article as the name of the university.
Also on his LinkIn site, Mr. Aboyade lists Geography and Regional Planning at Delta State University, (Location unnamed) and "Associate of Art Business Management Harcourt College, Scranton, PA." His Plaxo site doesn't help us locate the mysterious Delta State University, but it does provide a timeframe for his tenure there. The site says his association with Delta State was in 2008. Interestingly, it claims he was also studying at Harcourt College in Scranton, and Full Sail in Orlando that same year. See what I mean about enterprising? I've had some bad commutes, but I can't imagine what time he had to get up in Florida to make an eight O'clock class in Scranton, PA.
What about Facebook? Ah, on Facebook it gets even wierder.
On Mr. Aboyade's Facebook page, he posts a link to a site called "Satellite Surveillance and Human Experimentation, " where it alledges that "Advanced surveillance and harassment technologies available to covert government agencies and connected criminals." Even more interestingly, he commented on December 7 2010, that "I am currently a victim of this."
On November 20th, he wrote, "people are using my profile to contact my friends acting as if they are me but they are not,any phone call or email comming from me in the last one year has not been me so just to let you know,in miami but homeless due to a group of people trying to steal my identity".
So what we have here is a genuine international man of mystery, possibly from Nigeria, living illegally in the United States who has worked in the film industry since at least the year 2000, garnering coveted awards and earning the privilege of filming such luminaries as Bill Clinton, but who, strangely, has only 6 connections on his professional networking sites, and is apparently the victim of satellite surveillance, human experimentation, and identity theft.
Mr. Aboyade, call my people. We have a movie to pitch to you.
This story seems to have dropped out of the news cycle since it first appeared on Tuesday, which is surprising, given all the little angles I was able to discover in about 10 minutes' worth of searching. Were I to dedicate a little more time I wonder what more we could learn. I'd contact the schools he claims to have attended, and see what the story is there. I might even invite him to join my network on LinkedIn, just to help boost his numbers a little.