Low-key celebration of my 50th year of journalism practice, By Oloye Lekan Alabi

I wish to put on record that the following narrative is without any embellishment, nor is it intended to be self-serving. It is to be taken as a reporter’s account of a landmark ceremony, please. 

Sometime in 1974, 50 years ago, the late Mr Philip Bamidele Adedeji, then the Editor of the Sunday Sketch, made a public prediction about my humble self. The ‘seer’ quoted above, predicted that I would rise quickly in journalism practice. May his kind soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.

As was the norm, the Management of the now-defunct Sketch Publishing Company Limited(SPCL), Ibadan, 50 years ago, confirmed my appointment as a Reporter/Writer/Reader Grade 11, on 7th January, 1974, after I had successfully served the mandatory three-month probation period. I had earlier assumed temporary duties in the Sketch, on 7th October, 1973, upon my success in the written test and oral interviews conducted by the old Western State Ministry of Establishments, on behalf of the SPCL.

Less than three months after joining the newspaper company, the Management approved that I be given two columns(Mo ri firii by Omo Abiikan in the Yoruba weekly, “GBOUNGBOUN” and “IT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING by ‘Lekan Alabi” in the Sunday Sketch. It was after I had submitted my second article for my column in the Sunday Sketch that the editor, the late Mr Phillip Bamidele Adedeji, commented that he could see a future editor in me.

Without being immodest, one had a meteoric rise in the Sketch group and the journalism practice, here and abroad, after I had graduated, in 1978, from the world famous College of Journalism on Fleet Street, London EC4, UK and the University of London Goldsmith College, also in London.

I served four Governors(one civilian and three military)of old Oyo State (present-day Oyo and Osun States) as Press Secretary from 1983 to 1989; was Co-ordinator, (acting MD) four times, of the Sketch Press Limited; acting Secretary of the old Oyo State Council of the NUJ in 1981; pioneer Chairman of the TSOS (now BCOS-TV) Chapel of the NUJ in 1982; pioneer General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the ODU’A INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED (1989 to 2006); foundation editor of “ODU’A NEWS”; producer/presenter of NTA IBADAN’s weekly personality interview programme,” SPEAK OUT” (1980/1981) syndicated columnist with the popular CITY PEOPLE magazine; analyst with SPACE 90.1FM and currently the presenter of AGIDIGBO 88.7 FM’s popular history-digging weekly programme, “IWE ITAN” apart from being an analyst on the station’s news and current affairs analysis programme, “S’O KAN WA?” on Thursdays.

Today, Tuesday, 30th January, 2024, my seven-tier 50th anniversary celebration as a journalist, had been scheduled, since last year, as the day when the University of the 3rd Age, in Toulousè, France, would  present me a Merit Award,at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State. But, that ceremony has been put on hold, because the President of the awarding University that is coincidentally, without any previous knowledge, also celebrating her golden anniversary, has had to be recalled home, due to an emergency  involving a grandson of hers. We have since been praying for the quick reovery of the young patient.

Among my invited guests who had since formally indicated their acceptance of my humble invite, were a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi, Ambassador Ibironke Adefope, a former First Lady of Oyo State, Senior Chief (Alhaja) Mutiat Olayinka Ladoja, Maye Iyalode Ibadanland, a former Minister of Finance, Dr Abimbola Akintola, the 83-year old second daughter of the late Premier Samuel Ladoke Akintola of the now-defunct Western Nigeria, two-time Federal Minister of Industry, Dr (Chief) Nike Akande, CON, Iyalaje Iyalode Ibadanland, Mr Tunde Rahman, a Senior Aide to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Dr and Mrs Bioye Odusina, Barrister (Mrs) Folasade Adebayo, Barrister Babajide Oyekanmi, Engineer Ademola Lawson and his wife, Barrister (Mrs) Abimbola Lawson and Engineer Oladipo Odusola.

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