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Oloye Lekan Alabi’s Exclusive 70th Birthday Interview ‘I Stopped Wearing Suit The Day I became Jagun-Olubadan’ 



The Ekefa-Olubadan, Oloye Lekan Alabi is a man of many parts. A journalist, a traditionalist, socialite, commentator and the sixth in line to the Olubadan throne.  He recollects history, matches it with dates,names and shows age has nothing to do with memory. He also has an enviable record of serving four different government (both Military and Civilian as Press Secretary).
The former reporter with the Sketch newspaper would be 70 years in October and he answered questions bordering on his childhood, the prediction before his birth, his principles and how he got this far.
The High-Chief took the papermacheonline team  through the journey of his life, the triumphs and trials and how he excelled…
Can we start by saying a happy birthday to you?
Of course! That’s in order, I will be 70 years next month.
At 70, how do you feel sir?
I think age is a matter of number. I don’t feel any different from the time I know my left from my right, but biologically and medically one can notice recess in human activities like climbing stairs , walking in quick paces…all these have slowed down, but otherwise I don’t feel any different. I just look at it that I’m 70.  Moreso my mum is still alive, she is 92 and people still wont believe her age. I still look at myself as a child of a mother who is alive.
Recently you visited the ancestral home where you were given birth to 70 years ago, what informed that?
As I was told, my mum almost breathed her last at our home, Ile Ekerin Ajengbe, until my paternal grandmother’s older sister, Mama Adeola Alaro saw the danger. I was told life was almost going out of my mother, so she ordered them to pack and took her to her husband’s house. She was the mother of my late uncle, Baba Haroun Durodola whose corpse did not decompose for 16 years after his burial.
She took my mum to their house, SW1/60 Ile Tuntun and  that was where I was born and I was told my mum stayed in that house for three days. You know all these African belief, one must comply. I am my parent’s first child.  I remembered Daba Durodola was an extremely handsome man and very rich, he was my paternal uncle. I think we are all good looking in our family, both maternal and paternal.
What about your dad? You Hardly Talk About Him.
I can never forget my dad. Pa Oladosu Alabi alias ‘right time’, he was an extremely handsome man, hardworking and very responsible. He was very proud of me, when I entered Secondary School and became the class captain in Primary 2, 3, 4, and the School Mailboy in Primary 5, my father bought me a transistor set in 1963 when I was in Primary 6. He was a great man and very adventurous. He was working with a Dr Williams who was the colonial government medical doctor. When Dr Williams was transferred from Osogbo to Azare in the present Bauchi State, my parents followed him . My mum had to come back to Ibadan so that I could be given birth to in my hometown and not in a strange land. And by the time I grew up, my father was also trading in Yauri near Sokoto, later he moved to Lokoja. I spent my holidays with him in all these places. my father later moved our family to Enugu immediately the city was liberated in 1969 during the civil war. We stayed at number 86, Owerri road, Asata in Enugu where two of my younger sisters attended Queens College. I took part of my interest in travelling from my father.
Looking back, how fulfilled are you?
Since I became an adult I’ve always thanked God for the blessings. Those who know me intimately know that I don’t rush after anything. Before I was born, predictions had been made from both my maternal and paternal side. My mum is from Emure Ekiti, in Emure Ekiti my paternal grandfather, Baba Aaron Omotoso Osotun also contributed to the predictions, particularly my grandmother in Ibadan. They said a week before I was born an itinerant cleric, malim, those genuine prophet of that time came to our house and said there’s a pregnant woman in this house that they should take care of her baby. My birth was similar to that of King Sunny Ade who his parents had to move from Ondo to Osogbo because a prophet came to their house and prophesied that he would be great and bring fame to the family and Nigeria, but on the condition that he must be raised outside their town.
 Prediction was made before I was born and the malim after I was born was coming to our house to pray for me for one whole week. When I was told all these and I saw from the pattern of my life that everything had been ordered, anywhere I find myself there is usually promotion, advancement, and I would just laugh because I know about the prediction.
Did the prediction affect your growing up? You must have been pampered and spoilt as a child.
Let me now tell you what happened. At least I’ve grown up to know what I’m saying now. My grandmother also believed that her grandfather, Omolaja Ajengbe, one of the founders of this town who was an Akerin Balogun would reincarnate through her lineage. You know that time there was no scan, when my mother was pregnant they wouldn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl, the day I was born and she realised I was a boy she told them her grandfather is back. You needed to know my childhood, nobody must beat me…
Even your dad?
I said nobody must beat me. Again, I should not carry load on my head and there were certain duties I was excused from. My grandmother was a very powerful woman, Mama Asimawu Oduola Alabi, she was the woman leader of NCNC under Adegoke Adelabu. she was a powerful politician and a big time textile trader in Lalupon.  I could remember some aunties and uncles telling her I would be spoilt, she would take me into privacy, sat me down and said do you hear what they are saying? Don’t cross the border. She drew some borderline for me and once I don’t cross the border, there won’t be any issue.
And you obeyed her laws?
Yes, till today. I am one of those who will comply with any law, but on one condition, if it is not harmful physically, culturally and religiously, otherwise we may have to review that law, but as long as the law is made for public good, we must all comply. I’ve never been defiant, never!
Can You Share Your Childhood Days?
One day Adegoke Adelabu visited his Women Leader who happened to be my grandmother, they were coming from a campaign and they all came to our house. My father had gone to work, my father was very enlightened, he had worked with the British Roundtree company, they make chocolates. The Manager wanted to take him to England but his mother refused. In our house we had electricity and a radiogram. My father had switched off the electricity supply when he left for work, so when Adelabu came, they wanted to switch on the fan and radiogram for him and no one knew how to do that, and my grandmother was pacing up and down in confusion. I asked her, what is it? I was about 7 years old then.  I told her to ask someone to climb the chair and pull the switch, Adelabu was impressed and he gave me one shilling. I remembered he told my grandmother there that she should allow me go to Government  College, Ibadan. You know Adelabu was the best student in Government College, his records are still at the school unbroken.
 When I started school and I was first, that’s why they called me ‘ever first’ . At Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Oke Foko in Ibadan, I was there 1959 to 1963, I was the class captain in Primary 2,3,4,  and the School Mailboy in Primary 5. My role as the Mailboy was to leave school on any school day at 11am to go and collect mails at the Seventh Day headquarters at Oke Bola. In my final year I was the Senior Prefect, everything was just falling in place, but I missed going to Government College.
 Only two of us purchased the common entrance form. Myself and a classmate, Freeman Tonara, his father was a policeman. We were the only two pupils our parents could afford to buy the forms. So I filled Government College, Ibadan and Government College, Ughelli as my second choice.
In preparation of the First Leaving School Examination, the officials came to our school to inspect and they found just an arm of Primary 6, whereas the law then was that any school must have two arms minimum of primary 6. I wouldn’t know why the school management sent away some of our mates in Primary 5,  many were asked to repeat and some were demoted to Primary 4.  It was just few of us that got to Primary 6. So, when the officials came they said no, this is too few. So they went back to the Ministry and they asked for us to be distributed to nearby schools. Some of us were sent to Bioku Primary school, I and some others were sent to Ansarudeen Primary School. It has never happened and in the confusion our headmistress, Mrs Ola forgot to submit our forms.  When they were making announcements on the radio, my grandmother followed me to school to know my centre for the Government College exams, the headmistress broke down in tears when we got there, she had forgotten to submit our forms. The odd part is this, Mr Tonara, the police officer came into the school and was shouting, he was threatening to sue the headmistress. he demanded the refund of the form right there, but my grandmother didn’t, she said it wasn’t the fault of the headmistress.
It was Mrs Ola, the headmistress who now told my grandmother that there is a new school near Government College called African Church Grammar School and that the principal  is a disciplinarian. So instead of her refunding our 10 shillings, 6 pence, she went to purchase the African Church Grammar School form for me and that was how I ended up at African Church Grammar school, and I thank God, but my first son, Olayemi attended the Government College, Ibadan.
Can you remember some of your classmates?
Some of my closest friends are dead now. I remember Segun Adelaja, Femi Akeredolu, Abayomi Adegbesan. its a mixed school, I have some women that we are still  in touch, they are now respectable grandmothers, Yemisi Daniel, Wura Olukotun, the late Mrs Kalejaye, Sola Sonoiki was the closest to me among the female because we were the best in English and Literature. We had a teacher who loved and was proud of both of us, Mrs Margaret Odu who was formerly Margaret Spiff. I also remember Olumide Odusote.
What were the things you did as a boy?
In Yoruba culture, responsibility  is placed on the first born, they would want you to be a role model to your siblings.  I had that responsibility, which means I must lead by good examples. Secondly my grandmother was dreaming of an Adegoke Adelabu in me and from that angle too the expectation was high. Now I can see that my grandmother, my dad, mother and others could see the future.  I was taught about our ancestry, the aristocracy, the leadership, the exploits of my progenitors, so I was raised in that mould. My grandmother ensured all that. I would spend part of my holidays in Emure Ekiti with my maternal grandfather where my uncle was also the late Elemure, Oba Oshin.  There’s royalty on both sides of my family.
Then my school, Seventh Day Adventist mission school, Western Region  used to organise an annual camp meeting for 2 weeks, it was just like the NYSC scheme. our parents would pay and we would attend the camp with our mats and other utensils. There, they would mix all those would could afford to come on a large field. the first one I attended was at Ede, we went by train.They put us on the field and select at random and we would be put through leadership training and endurance. Despite being a muslim nobody ever raised an idea of conversion, they were good in those time. Lliberalism  was ensured. My name is Abdulrasheed and I attended Seventh Day Christian School. The training was of high standard  and it moulded our lives in orderliness, discipline and fairness. I also engaged in the activities of youngsters of those days, i played table tennis and visited Baba Jebe. Baba Jebe was at the place where the present Central Mosque at Oja Oba is, he was a bicycle repairer. we would go there and rent bicycles. I also played table tennis at Oloja, Gege and I played ‘toronto’.,,
What is Toronto?
 It’s what we called bootless soccer . I had a great time as a boy.
How did you come into journalism?
It was deliberate. After my Secondary School there was an exam called pre-lim that you take to enter university which I took in 1970. The centre was at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, and I was a village school teacher, that was my first job ever, at St John’s Anglican Primary School, Akinajo near Arulogun. That was the practice at that time , you had to get a job to prepare yourself till when the results  come out, or you go straight to HSC . I was in Akinajo enjoying my life. On Fridays I would come home. The ‘atokowagbowonle’ band that you see now, some of them were my pupils and they were staying beneath my apartment, the building was an official quarters and I was staying up. Anytime they were misbehaving , their father would come and call out to me ‘teacher’ and they would all run away. Their father was the official drummer of the NCNC and when he got to know that I was the son of ‘MamaI Ile Ekerin Ajengbe’ (that was what they used to call my grandmother)  wow!
So, one day he called me and asked why I was always going to Ibadan on weekends, he told me I can also enjoy myself at the village. He had an engagement that weekend and he took me. I was at a VIP, they put all sort of food and meats in front of me and I decided I was no longer going to spend the  weekend in Ibadan again. But unknown to me, my admission letter into the University of Ife was at home, nobody knew Akinajo in my family. they didn’t know the content and they didn’t open the letter. When I got the salary for that month and  came home, they gave me the letter and I opened it, I realised the interview had been conducted. I was the first passenger on that old Ife road that morning to the University of Ife. I’ve been saying this that I hope the admission officer was still alive. When I got to the office and he saw me, he shouted at me asking why I was just coming, that I came first in the exams. Despite not knowing me, he was taking me from office to office and was trying to present my case, but in those days there were standards and nothing could be done, its not now that there is a shortcut to everything.  They said what they would do for me is that I would not write the coming year exam. That month I left the village and was looking for another job in the city.
That year Onibonje Publishers at Felele advertised for the position of an Accounts Clerk, and I was very poor in mathematics, but I felt since they are a publishing company I could have an experience in printing. So, I applied, did the written exams and the oral interview. Around 4pm they called us out and said when you hear your name, stand here. They started calling names and they called the last name and said these are the successful candidates, they now turned to us and said we were not qualified and we could apply whenever there was notice for vacancy again. Later they asked ‘who among you is Mr Lekan Alabi?’and I raised my hand, so they asked me to step aside and there they told me that I came first but my mathematics was very poor, but that because of  my performance they would appoint me the first Editorial Asistance of the company. I was glad, because that was exactly what I was looking for,  and that was how I became the first Editorial Assistant of the company.
At  Onibonje my boss was the younger brother of Baba Onibonje who was the Chairman. Our department dealt with all manuscripts and as the editorial assistant they would bring all manuscript to my table, whatever comment I wrote on any manuscript is what I would pass to my boss, and he never changed whatever comment I made. Whether to accept or reject, they rely on my judgement. So Sketch newspaper now advertised position for Reporters, Writers, Readers Grade 2 and I applied . The interview was conducted by Sketch management and the Western State Ministry of Establishment. Nigeria used to have standards. Those of us who passed were invited for interview, and only two of us were employed, i and Baba Goke Morenikeji, he assumed duty a week ahead of me because I needed to give Onibonje a notice that I was leaving.
At Sketch they put me on the Yoruba desk called ‘GbohunGbohun’. Sketch in those days used to be Sunday Sketch and ‘Gbohungbohun’ was the yoruba version.
 I was a regular at WNTV. I had a column titled ‘MO RI FIIRI’. I forgot to tell you that I was very good in Yoruba, I had distinctions. In my column I was writing about current issues. So one day I went to a party and I saw a band playing just exactly like Ebenezer Obey’s.  When they had a break I went to them because I knew all the band members of Ebenezer Obey at that time. I was a member of ‘Come Let’s Dance’, I dance very well and  I was  also a member of Chief Afolabi Majekodunmi’s King of Boys Circle. It was a social circle at that time. Baba Majekodunmi was a big time transporter that , he was the King of boys, he likes boys flocking around him. He drives a Chevrolet and he would take us to parties.if you don’t dress well he would tell you not to follow him. He taught us many things, he was grooming us socially, and that time he had his eyes for those of us that are brilliant and had focus. It was the focus that led me to journalism and I became a great writer, I thank God for what He had done for me and I’m still thanking Him for what he is doing.
So I attended the party and interviewed Makanjuola the manager of the band that  sounded like Ebenzer Obey. I asked if they were Ebenezer Obey’s second band, he flared up and told me they were all copying Tunde Nightingale. I wrote the article and gave it to the editor of Sunday Sketch, the late Mr Philip Bamidele Adedeji. He published it and it caused trouble. People never believed I wrote the story because it was well written. He called me and said the article I wrote was standard for my age and experience and that it raised dust and he asked if I was the author  and when  I said yes, he asked me to write another article. I learnt there was a play going on at Obisesan Hall that night, I bought a ticket , went there and reviewed the play and gave it to him. He was so happy. he now said I should go to the photo section where they took my picture while the editor designed the montage and named the page WHATS HAPPENING. it was a review of play,books, theatre by Lekan Alabi, it was a very popular column and I became the first dual columnist in Yoruba and English, not only in Sketch but in this country. From Sketch I now went for my professional training in London at the College of Journalism 62, Fleet Street.
When I came back I joined NTV , from there I became  one of the pioneer staffers of TSOS, Television Service Of Oyo State in 1982. I was later seconded to Governor’s  Office under Governor Bola Ige as Press Secretary.  We won the 1983 election, but FEDECO said otherwise and the rest is history. But instead of allowing me to go back to TSOS the government of Dr Victor Olunloyo said no and anybody who returned to either O.Y.O or TSOS were sacked, Many were sacked and many were transferred. So they were all begging but I refused to beg. My father and uncle were puzzled, they were socialites of that and friends with Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu. My father went to Adedibu, and Adedibu said ‘Lekan Alabi? Ijesa Ni Omo yen!. That was because I was so loyal to Bola Ige. He said they should bring me, but I refused. I said i would not beg. All the pro-Ige in the civil service were sacked, they were calling us UPN sympathisers. So I was home for three months without a job. Lo and behold! There was a coup.  I could remember the headlines in the newspapers then ‘Happy New Year, Happy New Government because the coup took place on the 31st of December, 1983. My father was looking at me and was wondering, was this the reason this boy refused to beg? Did he know there was going to be a coup?  He summoned the family meeting the next Sunday and relinquished the leadership of the family to me. The leadership of the whole Alabi family!.
The following month, I was reappointed as the Press Secretary to Governor Oladayo Popoola. There were many miracles in my life.  My letter of appointment came but the officials  said they couldn’t locate me, they were lying. The new government  ordered all the people dismissed, suspended and penalised by the civilian government to return, so that the new government can set up special investigation panel to look at the case.

One afternoon i was at the Total fuelling station at Bodija when one of our uncles, Engineer Popoola who was a cousin to the Military Governor saw me and asked ‘Lekan, how is your boss? I thought he was referring to Bola Ige and I said ‘Oga has been taken to Lagos’. He said i wasn’t talking about Chief Bola Ige. I now approached him and he asked why I’ve not resumed. It was through him I heard I’ve been appointed. He asked me to come to his house in the evening , I went there and he told me the Governor said they couldn’t locate me and he was already thinking of appointing another person. He now said if I was still interested I should come to the office the next day. That second day I wore one of my best suits . When I got to work I pinched myself, I felt I was dreaming.
 Working with Bola Ige at that time must have pitched you against Dr Omololu Olunloyo?
Dr Olunloyo wrote the foreword to my book.
So you never had any problem with him?
Nothing personal. Till now he still calls me. You need to read my book, Speaking For Governors and what he wrote in the foreword of my book. Let me quote him, he said ‘he would have loved to retain me as his Press Secretary but for some do- gooders, that they didn’t want  Lekan Alabi’.
What did you learn from that experience?
I learnt that destiny can never be changed. Remember my beginning and the predictions. For Dr Olunloyo to have accepted to write the foreword, it was enough gratitude . For him to have written that he would have loved to retain me. Governments must be careful, particularly when they are new. There are people that would come, give bad advice in the sense that they want to take a pound of flesh. They are there in one’s family, group and religious sectors. Anything that has to do with leadership. May God give them good advisers and aides that are God fearing. People that won’t call white black.
You Had an Unbeatable Experience working with 4 different Governors, How did you achieve that?
Yes, I worked with one civilian and three Military Governors as a Press Secretary.  Let me just tell you this, its my destiny. The last  person I worked with,  Brigadier Sasaenia Adedeji Oresanya didn’t even tell me anything.  It was at the tail end of his government  in 1989 that he asked me to make a request and that he would grant it. That was March 30, 1989. And I asked him to sponsor me to Hajj. He was surprised, so he sponsored me and I left his service as Press Secretary. The day we were going to Hajj  was the day the Odua Board was also meeting and the Military Governors were the heads of the board. so Oresanya was the current chairman then. So when we were about leaving for Hajj, one of the protocol officers, Kola Fatunbi saw me, they went to pick the food for the Odua Board at the government house and he shouted ‘egbon congratulations’. I thought he was greeting me for Hajj and I was thinking whats the big deal . He now said ‘you have been appointed the Public Affairs Officer of Odua. They’ve already taken the press release of your appointment to media houses’.
You know why the Governor did that? When he came I was coordinating the publicity promotion for ODUA INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED. Idiagbon and Buhari said they should stop rotating meetings between Akure, Ibadan and Abeokuta. so the meeting was holding in Ibadan permanently and he asked me how much they paid me and I said I wasn’t paid, I was then coordinating  the AGM and also their publicity. I think he found out from the secretary to the Military Government that i wasn’t getting paid for that. That was how the job came. so when i arrived Hajj whenever they were doing special prayers I would just be like, God Me? what a gift!
What did you attribute all that to? 
Destiny. Although the prediction may not be specific, but in clear terms they said I would be  great. I told you the drill I went through from my grandmother, my grandfather, my parents. they always sound it to my ear ‘leaders don’t do this, leaders don’t do that’.
You learnt from a lot from great people, you sat at the feet of giants..who would moulded you say moulded you to what you become?
all of them had hands in it. I told people this, when great men and women accept you into their inner recess please don’t bring any personal problems to them, particularly financial problems. Don’t raise it, because they will be scared. Let them see their values in you. The late Parakoyi of Ibadanland, Chief Bode Akindele is a man of standards, extreme protocol and if I would say with all due respect that our association lasted for 36 years. Look at the first lady Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mama Folake Solanke, look at Bola Ige, Dr Yemi Farounbi…these are great people but they welcomed me into their fold. I always ask myself what they see in me. I’ve never lost my sense of self discipline and i don’t ask them for money. I also remember Arisekola Alao of blessed memory. Chief Ebenezer Obey too. I danced live in front of Obey 50 years ago at the Oyenuga’s party. That was where we struck our friendship and by the time I became the social page editor of Sunday Sketch in 1974 they all became my friends. If you needed anything to do with reviews, plays you must come to my desk. There were just three Sunday papers in Nigeria then. The great Sunday Times, Sunday Sketch and also Punch started i think as weekly then.
Working with four governors, was there any particular time your work put you in trouble?
Ah! I had issues with MKO Abiola who was my mentor. Everybody knew we were so close. He would invite me to come to Lagos when he had matters to discuss. Also Kabiyesi Arapasowu Olubadan, I was his confidant. I was his official director of protocols and confidant. When kabiyesi wants to discuss something in confidence with me, none of his family members, even wives must stay with us. Oba Yinusa Bankola Ogundipe. I was his confidant.
 What happened that time, Alaafin of Oyo, Ikubababa yeye was going to make MKO Abiola the Aare Ona Kakanfo and the relationship between Governor Olurin and Alaafin Adeyemi was stormy. I was press secretary to Governor Olurin at that time. so Abiola invited Babangida who was the  Head Of State to the installation in Oyo, but Babangida  sent the Chief of Air Force, Alfa to represent him and my boss was already in a ceremonial army uniform because it was going to be a big ceremony and we wereat the Government House waiting to receive the representative of the Head of State. They had sent a signal a day before that Babangida was not coming but that he would send a representative. so when Alfa drove into the Government House he wore a civilian dress.
Are you asking me?  I dont know. So my boss saluted him and Alfa said it was a private thing that Olurin shouldn’t bother to go, that he should go to his work. Alfa went to oyo and asked us to step back. Abiola got furious and when he was interviewed and they asked why the Military Governors did not attend his installation, Abiola said ‘all those ones  are eaglet Governors’…eaglet Governors? A full colonel of the Nigerian Army who fought in Lebanon and won medals. Then Raji Rasaki and Akhigbe you called them eaglet Governors? I wrote a rejoinder which rubbished MKO Abiola and it was published. The tone was ‘what do you take yourself for…’
And he was your friend?
Ah, I was avoiding him. If i see him at any function I would hide, but he later wrote a letter of apology.
Did he reach out to you after your rejoinder was published?
Ah! In the military days? Security would be watching out for you to see if you are double-dealing. That would be too dangerous. Its best to be straightforward. All the people that know us together, particularly his family stigmatised me. Later they now transferred Olurin and I started working  with Oresanya. University of Ibadan was launching one foundation and Abiola was the toast of any foundation at that time. so he came to the University of Ibadan. That time was different, not unlike now when thousands follow a Governor everywhere he goes. That time only four of us would follow the Governor out. The ADC, Director of Protocol, NSO and the Press secretary, definitely we would be standing behind the Governor. When I saw Abiola at the event, I was scared.
Did he see you?
I was behind my oga and his back was also turned to me, so I pulled a straight face, but the MC broke the ice as he recognised the VIPs, he now said my senior, Akogun Lekan Alabi is also here. So Abiola looked back and said ‘oh, you are here?’ Akogun Apaye, (he used to call me that) I quickly went to him and he said he would be sleeping in Ibadan that day and we should meet. I went to meet him at the vice chancellor’s chalet and he asked me why I was running from him, he said you did your job, any good press secretary would do what you did. I was like ‘so you were not angry?’ He asked me to come on Sunday and I went to his Ikeja home and that was how it ended. He told me my life history that day. You know he was also not an ordinary being?
Again when i was 60, we had a party at the Civic Centre. A week to my party Alaafin lost his eldest daughter, Princess Akofade, she died at the UCH so Alaafin couldnt attend. Later he sent me a message to choose any weekend and that he would host me and my family. He also asked me to come with the media to the palace in Oyo. We chose a date but suddenly Sikiru Ayinde Barrister too died, we mourned him for a week and we now went to Oyo. Alaafin threw a feast, the media were present and he gave a speech where he spoke for over an hour and he said so many things about me. You know he also had issues with Bola Ige and Olurin?  He said throughout that period I never issued a statement against him. That people in position as advisers should learn a lesson that one day they would leave the office. That time it was God that saved me. People went behind to tell Olurin that I was close to Alaafin and that I  always go to Oyo, but my uncle was in Oyo for over 40 years and I must go and visit him. My advice is for those who manage whatever they claim to manage for Presidents and Governors, they should all be careful. How can you be insulting personalties and important people. you can go to issues, but don’t personalise to please your bosses.
At 70, how do you feel with the present situation of the country?
This is not the Nigeria  our fathers and mothers dreamed of. Nigeria of their dream and the one we met was Nigeria of merit. You get things by merits and not by who you know. When you get things by merit, your colleagues and people you are in the same class will respect you. But for the Federal Government to be talking quota and giving admission to those who scored 20 percent, there’s no way the ones with the 80 percent will not look down on the quota candidate. Because if not for the Federal Character, it cant be so. The Federal Military Government under Ironsi turned Nigeria to a Unitary system. whatever happens in Gombe must happen in Owerri without considering the culture, resource and the needs of the people. It is deception to be saying Nigeria is one,we are a country of many nations. so we should copy regionalism with less job for the Federal Government. Let us go back and do it as it was done in the past. Western Region had Agent- General in UK, Eastern Region   had, Northern Region also ha, then Nigeria had High Commissioners. All these confabs, restructuring…how many confabs have we had?. Go to the reports, implement them. But the first thing to do is to decentralize the system back to what they call true Federalism. Ironsi turned the government to provinces, because he had hidden agenda. Zik said its only a matter of time when the Igbos will take over Nigeria, that was before the Nzeogwu coup. Unification decree of Ironsi meant they could transfer civil servants from Kano to Ogoja, they could transfer from Ibadan to Katsina. Then you look at it, what is our size in the Federal Civil Service? Sir Ahmadu Bello is my number 1 man. he was a realist who was telling Zik, Awolowo and others before they got the independence that we should sort our differences before we go into union, but they said let us take independence first, Ahamdu Bello was telling them they should resolve because we are not the same, he was saying that, in reality and pragmatism. He was my number 1 nationalist. Another thing about him was the love for culture, what he wanted to be in life was to be the Sardauna of Sokoto. They predicted when his mother was pregnant that he would be the reincarnation of Usman Dan Fodio. Despite that the British handed power to him, he chose Sir Tafawa Balewa to become the Prime Minister. I cant see that happening in present Nigeria. Ahamdu Bello was not interested in Prime Ministership, he only wanted to become the Sardauna. Another thing, I’ve said it that if anybody can show me the picture of  Sardauna in suit, that I would give the person a million naira on the spot.
He never wore a suit?
I’m yet to see the picture of him wearing a suit. I also stopped wearing suit in 2002 when I was promoted from Mogaji to Jagun- Olubadan. Ever before I quit government service, I’ve always loved traditional attires. I’m a real Yoruba man. That time when i was working with the government i was wearing the best suits in the world. I was going to Italy to buy suits. But the day I became the Jagun Olubadan in 2002 I said bye to foreign clothes and started wearing strictly traditional attires. Because promotion, enhancement should not be exterior but interior. You must follow your culture, embrace it and be sincere.
You are a practising muslim and also a cultural ambassador, how do you fuse that?
culture and religion are parallel, they are both from God almighty. There are over 200 religions in the world. The two most popular ones are Islam and Christianity, the Ifa worshippers too will say God, Jews have their own and culture is the identification of each tribe with names, dresses, food, language music and philosophy which are all from God. They will never meet because they are parallel. They still promote and practise their culture in Israel, same with Saudi Arabia. It is the black man, thank God we are also waking up. The Chinese and Japanese have woken up. Look at the Queen of England, if I’m correct she is the longest serving monarch in the world. There are certain things and culture they observe during the installation of the Queen, but its not always shown to the world. Many things they hide, yet they are advancing. Modern day Israel was created in 1948, its now a world power. Every year Saudi Arabia develops facilities for pilgrims.
You are the Ekefa-olubadan, the 6th in line to the throne and you are just 70 years. Had there ever been a time an Olubadan was that young?
Olubadan Kobiowu was the youngest Olubadan. He became Olubadan at 50 in 1964. But what the Ibadan Traditional Chieftancy system pronounces is the order of God almighty based on destiny. Anyone who would become Olubadan must have chosen the crown from heaven. Its not by might, its not by exams, its just destiny. And there are 3 stages as i was told by the late Oba Arapasowu . He said the three major celebrations in the life of an Ibadan man and his family is the day your father’s family chooses you as the Mogaji, he said if the mother of a Mogaji is alive, she should be reeling on the floor because her son becomes the head of her husband’s clan. You know at that time they don’t get pregnant before marriage, so there’s no way a bastard would come into the family. Second celebration is when a Mogaji is promoted and the third which is the grandest is when an Olubadan is crowned. The king of this verse town, stretching from Asejire to places. Is that a town or a country? For you to become the traditional head and the symbol of ibadanland with our economic power and social power, its a matter of destiny. Once God said you will become an Olubadan, its a matter of time, place and how.
Why did you leave the Odua Group 6 years ahead of your retirement?
I just decided to leave when the ovation was loudest. Something just told me to leave. The GMD at that time, Adebayo Jimoh didn’t want to approve my letter, even the other Directors, they were trying to persuade me not to go, but i told them it is a great honour. Some people were chased out of office, I needed to go that time but I’m a friend of Odua. If you need me anytime , i would be available. You know Odua survived Babangida’s decree? Babangida decreed the dissolution of Odua after the Gideon Orka coup. He said any meeting that allows governors to be meeting to be dissolved, funnily they didn’t lift a finger against the NNDC, Kaduna. They set up a body of trustees marking out things to sell. So I ran to MKO Abiola,  I waited for about 9 hours to see him. When he saw me he was scared and was like, Oloye, what happened? i said its a serious matter. I didnt go for my sake, but for the sake of the Yorubaland, do you know what that means? To dismantle Odua? I told Abiola everything, and between 12am that he saw me and 5am, the matter was resolved . I remembered vividly what he said that night, ‘go and tell my people, nothing can remove Olumo, nothing can remove Oke Badan, Odua will stay’ and I said thank you sir and that was it!
At 70, what are the things that would change in you?
The doctors did certain prescriptions on what you should eat, drink once you are 40. There was an article i once read in a magazine ‘how to fire your boss’. The author outlined some things you must do before you get fired …like paying all your mortgage, your children must be out of school, dont get caught in any court case, pray against illness…i carried that book about and i said i was going to follow that . The day our last born graduated, I was glad. So my retirement was planned, timed.
Now, I’m engaged in syndicated writings, lectures and seminars, the traditional title and duties increased and i have 3 weekly live radio analysis that keep my brain very alert. I do exercise and I love eating amala.

What about music?
The whole world will tell you, Yusuff Olatunji is my number 1. Not only because he was my father’s friend or that his band played at my naming ceremony, but I tell people just listen to him, the philosophy. listen to his lead drummer, Kasumu Isola. for a band to have remained together for close to 50 years without breaking up, it tells a lot about him. if you see his house at Lafenwa, Governor Osoba changed the name of the street to his name.
For someone that doesn’t seek financial favour from people, how rich are you?
prosperity is better than richness. Richness is the balance of the money in your bank accounts, but when you are prosperous, you have more than enough for your need , people will think you are richer than what they say. again, there is contentment. Even if you are the richest man in the world, contentment is key.


We Are Planning To Revolutionize Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry – Idowu Lamidi, CEO, Dollar Construction Company




Idowu Lamidi

The CEO of fast-growing multinational construction company in Nigeria, Dollar Construction Company, Idowu Lamidi, recently  shared his view on how he ventured into construction business and why he decided to build quality estates in Ibadan among many salient issues… Excerpts

Can our readers meet you?

My name is Idowu Lamidi, I started my life in Ibadan, before going to the North. I bagged my HND in Land Administration and I am currently studying Business administration in Nasarawa State Polytechnic. In Dollar Construction Company, our lives have always been on business and we are in Ibadan not just to make money, or build estates but build homes for people. Once you people have a good home, crime will reduce. For someone living in a tattered house and you are threatening such person with prison, he will even tell you that there is no difference with where he is staying and that is why when people go to prison, they come out hardened, but someone that has comfort runs away from problem. That is why an adage in English says “the owner of a glass house will not throw stone” that is why we are here.

You said you grew up in Ibadan, you were born in Ibadan, but you are from Oyo town.  Why did you take your business first to Abuja before you came to Ibadan?

In the course of doing my Industrial Training in Abuja with a company, called ADCAN and it was from there that I started the company.

What brought about the name Dollar Construction Company?

In 2007, when I wanted to register the company, I and my wife trying to form name from our names but could not come up with one, then I told her that we should sleep over it When I woke up, I just tell her that the company will be called Dollar Construction Company. She said what kind of name is that and I told her that is a name that everybody would always remember.

Today, people know my company name more than they know my real name.  In some area in Abuja, if you say you are looking for Idowu Lamidi, people asked you, nobody bears that name here. But once you say Dollar Construction, everybody will know that because everybody need promo and they see that currency as an achievement even today if you take one dollar which is not up to a thousand dollar, even some adults if you give it to them and you give them one thousand naira, they will prefer to take one dollar. It’s about something catchy that anybody can remember, like if you are coming to any of our estate, I’m going to dollar estate, the only question they will ask now is which of the dollar is it the dollar phase one, two or three. We make it so easy to remember.

The situation of the third phase is formerly Oyo State Trade Fair Ground, how did you acquire this kind of massive land for your project?

The land used to be for Trade Fair ground, which is under Oyo State Ministry of Commerce and Industry and it acquired Wemabodtech to build neighborhood market.  When my company joined Wemabodtech, we told them this is a land locked area, and that it would only be good for building homes.

If you are planning a market, many things have to be put into consideration. Good road network must be one of the considerations and the situation must be between three or more communities. The proposed site, which is eleven hectares, is too big for a one-community market. If you look at where this land is situated, apart from Aerodrome Estate, every other thing here are like educational institution. To our left here, we have The Polytechnic Ibadan, to our right we have Aerodrome and Ventura Plaza, directly opposite us, and we have University of Ibadan. Surrounding us, there is no community as such; then who are you now building the market for? Secondly, the road to access the market is not there, you do not create local streets to access a market of this magnitude because it will cause a lot of traffic. You cannot tell people what to sell in their markets, people that will be bringing rice in trailers, people that will be bringing beans, tiles, lightening in trailers, and different kind of things. That is why you see today, iwo road is always jam-packed, it is not because of too many cars, but because of too many tucks accessing the place at a time. Look at Gbagi Central Market also, because of those trucks also coming to drop goods, they are not cars that you can just quickly reverse and move on. Before a trailer can turn, it will take nothing less than 15-20 minutes and you have like 10-15 queues to turn, you are going to have issues. We now advice that we cannot use it for market, it has to be used for residential, because one, this area again at night, it’s always like a ghost town, the schools close by six, four, three, everybody goes home, there will not be any activities. However, making it a home, by 6 o’clock, people start coming back home, it gives life to the place because when you have a home, you will have transportation system that runs 24hours around that place. It gives the police also comfort that are there that there are people who will call the police when things go wrong or if there is any crime trying to take place. If it is a market, once it is 6  o’clock, the market will short down totally that is why we now applied for change of use to the executive governor of oyo state through the ministry of land and the governor gave us the change of use and that is why we are now doing residential and not marketing.

Talking about the phases that you have, phase one, two or three, is it a strategic kind of progress for you to keep having different phases, even if the phase one is still not yet developed. What exactly are you trying to achieve by that?

To make estate ready is not all about the building alone. We may have the building and I do not have money to buy furniture because if you are moving to a new house, my mindset maybe different from yours. In Dollar Phase one, most of the houses there is completed but the owners have not moved in maybe because, some want to move in with a new car or I cannot move in with my old furniture but once you have made the road available, security, light and water, the estate is ready for you to move in. That is what we have been able to achieve in our phase one, and in our phase two, people have already moved in. If I did not move in to my house does not mean that the estate is not ready. The estate is ready but how I may look at it with this kind of hose that I might have, I need a Bentley Car to accompany the house, I need to move in at my wedding ceremony, I need to move in with this, these furnitures are too old, it now depends on you. Some people will even move in and even say it is even breakthrough for me to have finish this house. Moreover, it is not about moving phase one to phase two, I can assure you that we are going to have up to phase 5. Now, the prices of these estates are different, if you cannot afford to buy in phase one, you can go for the phase two because our phase two is cheaper, phase 3 is more expensive than phase two and phase 1. Your taste in the environment you want to live in, I keep telling people, our estate, we are going to provide same quality of infrastructure; it may not be same quality of house. In our phase 2, we allow bungalows, but in our phase one and three, nothing like bungalows. These are houses of contemporary, if you ask an architect; they will tell you contemporary houses are what we are building and not what we are used to.  The phase 2 is a bit cheaper so that Civil Servants and the middle class can also afford it. Those are the reason we keep opening different phases to accommodate as much people as available that need houses.

We have seen some of your achievement in previous projects like phase one and phase two, and this one, one will be pushed to ask that how do you plan to finance this project considering the current unfavorable economic situation in the country. What is your plan for this project?

Well, financing of housing project, they say it takes community to raise a child. That is our strength and that is why you see that we do not have good car, because our priority is to deliver these estates. Our plan is to have a good road, neighborhood, a place you can raise your child, like in this estate now we always have an open space where we call green area. We also have a recreation Club house, I don’t mean night club. Like on Saturday and Sunday, you are not going out, you just stroll with to the club house with some games for the children, where adult can take cool drinks and listen to countryside music those are the things we are doing in all of our estates. All these are planned, these are not after thoughts. I always tell people that we have limited estate in Ibadan. What we have in Ibadan mostly are GRA because the property owners came together and put gate doesn’t make it an estate. This is comprehensive development, we have a clinic here, and we have everything here.

So what you are saying in essence is that what differentiates these estates is not the infrastructure bodies but there are buildings and structures.

You started in Abuja, what attracted you to Ibadan?

Yeah, our plan is to conquer the southwest because if you are doing well outside your home, it does not talk good about you. First, how many people can afford to buy our kind of houses in Ibadan? We look at that first, how many people can afford to buy same houses in Abuja? A businessperson will use that to plan. We are planning to conquer the south west to provide housing, but it may not be possible for us to build building in Oyo or in Oshogbo, Ede or in towns and villages across southwest, but it is possible to provide site and services in those area so that people now build their strength.

Dollar Construction is it only for Estates. What other things do you do there?

We are among the category B in Federal Government contractor list. We have category A which are the Dantata, Berger, Chinese, CCECC, and others. We are doing government contracts very well, year in, year out that is why you see that it is very easy for us to provide infrastructure in our estates. The only equipment we have in road construction is the spreader because it is not what we use often but we have all other equipment and it is so easy for us to build roads in our estates.

There are lot of estate/construction companies in Ibadan and some will say, buy one take one free, what stands dollar construction over all these construction companies?

Housing is something that everybody prefers. In my lifetime, I plan to have as many as possible houses because it’s one way of transferring wealth to generation yet unborn. Those people saying, buy one land and take one arm free they have their targeted audience and in which it is working for them because somebody that bought land which is 600 thousand and you give him ram that is worth 350 thousand, I think the person has his mindset tied somewhere. We are targeting our own audience. They are targeting their own audiences, that is the reason you see most of those estates will not see the light of the day because it takes a lot to build an estate, not Baale that will just sell land and call it one estate, which is still good because they are also providing services to people. If you that can buy land of N100million, I do not think ram will be your priority. However, it is nothing out of place to appreciating our clients by getting those gifts during festive periods but your primary reason of buying property with us is not for ram.

Having successfully exhibited the previous estates the phase 1, what is your mega plan for year 2023?

What develops cities mostly, not just the housing. When we have good houses and nobody to live in it, it does not make sense or so. Our mega plan for 2023 is that we want to make industrial layout. Oyo-Ibadan road at least we should have so many industrial lay out there, Lagos-Ibadan, we should have a lot of industrial lay out so that we can have industries coming in and that will make our houses affordable, because if I’m working in a good place and the company can provide affordable housing, my problem is half solved. Our houses are very affordable with the kind of amenities that come with it. There are houses for N3billion, N5billion, in Lagos, Abuja, I have build house that I have sold for N3.5billion before, N1.4billion before and almost N2billion before. If we are having same kind of structure that is much lesser here, I do not think it is not affordable. We are into site and services, which means that you have gotten your land, and we’ve made the infrastructure, street light, water system, perimeter fencing and you sell to people in plot maybe 500, 600 and individuals build what they feel like, that is what is called site and servicing.

One of the challenges faced in real estate not only in Oyo State but in every other place is scandal…how have you been able to be scandal-free? And, how have you been able to be free from the ‘omo onile’ factor?

Experience has taught us a lot of lesson, even people buy property from us knows that we have a milestone payment plan. If the person dies in the process, in all our form, we have the next of kin to the person on it. We will contact the next of kin of such person. It doesn’t allow us have issues, and when the issues are cleared, everyone hands off. For us now, all our offices are always at the site, you come to us at the site, and you meet us at there so that you can easily know quickly if anything is happening. For every site we have sold, we also report it to EFCC. Every month we report our transaction back to EFCC to know who own the site or house. Our workers know so it will be difficult for you to say that person is no longer the owner of the house because there will be too many testimony against you. When we are selling house to you, we give you speculation and it is not that you will just buy the land and you will now run to Abuja and say maybe after 20years you will come and resell it, we will revoke it. We have not had issues of selling land to one person and we say this land does not belong to one person again, we can revoke If we sell land to you and we give you payment plans and you default 3 times. We will revoke and it shows that you do not have capacity for that kind of project and there will not be any need to embark on it.

How do you stay focused with what you are doing?

I started real estate at a very tender age, when I was just 24 years old. I have worked with some big companies in the real estate sector before I started my company. I believe that the greatest enjoyment is for someone to sleep and this is what I do, and if I see one bottle of cold drink, I can take if the opportunity provides itself.

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‘Buhari Has Failed Woefully And APC Had Lost Its Goodwill’ -Oyo Former Attorney-General, Bayo Ojo




Chief Mutalubi Adebayo Ojo read Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, he later proceeded to the University of Ibadan to study Law. He equally served as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice under late Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State. Last Tuesday, he appeared on Ayekooto On Radio, a magazine programme anchored by Olayinka Agboola live on Lagelu 96.7fm, Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State
 On one of your Social Media profile pages, you wrote that laws must be used as tools of social engineering, for economic development and poverty eradication. Why did you think along this line?
Lawyers are called legal luminaries all over the world especially in a democracy to lighten paths and ways of their fellow citizens so that they can see through and will not fall or slip from their ways. Law is an object to develop the country and engineer development and tackle poverty.
 Today, as we are speaking, do you consider yourself to be a full fledge politician?
I must not pretend about that. I am a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  I formally joined the party very recently during the revalidation exercise. When I was in government under our late leader, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, I was not a card-carrying member of the party.
 What was it like when you were the Chief Lawmaker in Oyo State?
It was all about service to humanity, contributing your quotas to your community, state and society at large. All of us cannot be satisfied to remain in our comfort zones because if it is something we are going to eat together with our family and how to educate our children, we do not have such problems. Let us think of others who are less privileged and who do not have the same opportunity like us.  In life there are basic amenities of life such as food, shelter and education and health. Let us strive to make life more meaningful to people, I believe that any aspiration to be in government and public service should be geared towards service. As a commissioner, I served to the best of my ability.
 States are at war with  Government on the issue of the Value Added Tax collection (VAT). What is your opinion?
I have a very different view and I have expressed it at different fora before. Value Added Tax (VAT) is not listed specifically in the exclusive list. We have already had in place a VAT act – since the era of the military. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been collecting it from individuals, company without any level of protest from any level of government. It will be wrong for any state now to enact another VAT law like Lagos and Rivers have done. We already have a federal act which has covered the field and that will be inconsistent with any law that is happening now.
During the second republic, we had a similar case between Attorney General of Ogun State and Aberuaba which was litigated up to the Supreme court that it was stated that Ogun State could not enact sales tax.
Also, during Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State, there was this law that was enacted by Lagos state government on hospitality and consumption tax. It happened that Eko Hotel took the state government to court that they could not be paying the same tax when they were already paying same to the federal government and they won the case.
 Now, as a lawyer and politician, you know the way things are in Nigeria today – insecurity and economic woes, where did we get it wrong?
Leadership is the major problem facing Nigeria. Our current president, Muhammadu Buhari has failed and has disappointed many people. He has failed woefully and the party, APC has lost its goodwill that brought it to power in 2015.
 But some observers said Jugdes/Lawyers, Policemen and Journalists are mainly responsible for the situation Nigeria has found itself…
I do not agree with that assumptions that Lawyers, Judges, Police and Journalist are responsible for Nigeria’s problems today. We have all failed. We cannot have a better country if we do not have a good family unit. A good community cannot exist if there is a bad local government and state. We have lost it all and all sectors are affected.  We are the problems and if people in the country agree to change and do the right things then Nigeria will be better.
 What do you think is the difference between APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
There is no difference between the two parties. Our political parties are not ideology-based. They are just platformS through which one can get elected to serve. There is nothing like progressives’ party in my understanding. Both parties are bereft of ideologies.
 So, what is the way forward ?
We cannot keep complaining that because politics is a dirty game. It is dirty because majority of the people participating in it presently are dirty. We must not leave it to charlatans, we must all participate in it to improve the system.
 What is your take on the ongoing agitation for Yoruba nation?
Looking at the rate at which we are going in this country, unless Nigeria is restructured, we may disintegrate. Things are not at ease and we have never been divided like this before. The Hausas are seeing themselves as different from the Fulanis. There is nothing like one north again, even the Hausas and the Fulanis are even more divided than the south. We need to sit down and find solutions to the myriad of problems we are facing. Independence of Yoruba Nation is just one of the valid options to be used to solve Nigeria’s problems.
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Before Covid-19, Nigeria’s Media Already Had Covid-18 -Edward Dickson, MD, Nigerian Tribune




-Ayotunde Ayanda
Mr Edward Dickson, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief at African Newspapers Nigeria Plc, the publishers of the Tribune Titles has said that the country’s traditional media houses already had ‘COVID-18’ before the advent of COVID-19.
According to the newspaperman, the media houses were already being treated at what he called ‘the proverbial intensive care unit’ adding that it was increasingly onerous and difficult to stay afloat in the business’s murky waters.
Speaking further about survival strategies for the newspaper industry in Nigeria, Dickson said “specifically, it has been hectic running the Tribune titles. Running publishing outfits like this has been onerous. As a business, it is one that has been so difficult to understand. One can never be able to understand it. I will tell you that every copy of our publications out there is being sold at a loss. Go to any newspaper house in Nigeria and find out.
“And, you see, it has been those of us that God put in charge that are doing our very best to ensure that we keep publishing even if we have to burn fingers. The newspaper industry must survive. It must not crash because if it does, then, our society will be in deep trouble.”
Reason for this, according to the University of Ibadan’s master’s degree holder in Managerial Psychology, is because “the typical newspaper house has a constitutional role to play as the watchdog and the conscience of the society.
“So, an average media manager sees it as his or her cardinal responsibility to ensure that the newspaper under his care does not die”.
Edward Dickson made these submissions while featuring on a weekly radio show, ‘Ayekooto on Radio’ anchored by Olayinka Agboola and broadcast live on Lagelu 96.7 FM, Felele, Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State’s on Tuesday evening.
While speaking about his most embarrassing moment as a journalist, Dickson said “There was this day in 1994 during the struggle for the actualization of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election believed to have been won by Basorun MKO Abiola- that day, I was in a combi bus going to work at the Punch Newspapers. I was seated at the back and it was time for the noon news on radio and it was announced  just shortly before we got to Onipetesi Bus Stop in Ikeja that the Punch Newspaper had been shut down by the then military administration.
“The reaction of my fellow passengers in the bus shocked me. They said Punch’s wahala was too much. Some asked if Punch was the only newspaper in Nigeria adding that it was good that the government shut it down. I was so shocked. And these were the people the newspaper was trying to represent by fighting for their collective rights. I was embarrassed more because at that time, I was the newspaper’s correspondent that was covering MKO Abiola’s house and activities surrounding him.”
The Tribune Editor also proudly confirm that he feels quite fulfilled as a professional journalist.
He said “I have always wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer all my life. Added to this is the fact that I was also resolute that I would work at the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper. I have enjoyed every moment of my life as a journalist”.
When asked to define who a professional journalist is, he responded “a professional journalist is somebody that has gone through prescribed courses in Journalism at the university or polytechnic or the institute of journalism. This experience makes a difference between him or her and somebody who merely knows how to string one or two sentences together in English or whatever language.”
Dickson added that the dichotomy between the traditional journalists and bloggers as well as those who operate on the social media will soon disappear.
“This is because we are at the infancy stage of this development. If you take a cursory look at the names of the people behind the numerous online publishing outfits, you will find out that they are mostly our colleagues who worked with the traditional media outfits who have moved on to establish their own newspaper platforms online. All our traditional newspapers also have online platforms.
While speaking about ‘fake news’, he said “Only those who seek fake news get fed with fake news. I belong to a generation of ‘old school’ journalists. Yes, I feel bad when I see folks publishing fake news. But then, if you see or read fake news, you will know. Most fake news stand only on one leg. It is a taboo to publish fake news or one-legged story at the Tribune House. The reaction of the other side must also be published. If you are interested in authentic news, you know where to go, even, online.”
On the issue of regulation, Dickson submitted “the media in Nigeria remains one of the most regulated.”
When asked about how he reacted when he heard about the demise of David Ajiboye, one of his former staff members who went on to become a management staff at Yinka Ayefele’s Fresh FM Radio, the top journalist said “the news of David’s death got to me as a shock. I met him in 1998 when he came in to serve as an intern at the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper. He was able to make a name for himself and before long, he became more known as an entertainment reporter and he went on to work with Dr Yinka Ayefele as his publicist. He later rose to become a manager of one of Fresh FM’s branches in Ado Ekiti. His death is a huge loss to the profession.”
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