Global Excellence Publisher On Life @ 60
A few days back, Mayor Akinpelu, who is regarded as the King of Softshell journalism in Nigeria and Publisher of Global Excellence Magazine clocked 60, but he could not celebrate it because of the current lockdown. He has moved the celebration forward. Recently, he spoke to City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE about his life and very many things people don’t know about him. Below are excerpts of his birthday interview.
How have you balanced out your various roles as a Publisher & Socialite over the years?
I have come to balance out the 2, over time. I am a club person. I like to go clubbing. When I left Guardian Express Newspaper and I joined Prime People Magazine, one of the columns I was writing was People, Places & Parties. I was like a Society Writer for Prime People. Because of that, I have to go to a lot of parties, I had to cover parties. We used to write Strange Stories, where we travel to villages to get unusual stories, like a village where people don’t talk. Apart from that, when i come back I must still cover parties. I was also writing a lot of columns like Silverspoon where I met a lot of the silver spoons of the time, like Femi Otedola, Lanre Tejuoso, Segun Awolowo. They were the young people of that generation moving up then and I was a Reporter. We all used to hang out together. That was when I cultivated the habit of going to clubs. There was a time when I was still a single guy and I was living at Adigboluja and Dele Momodu was staying in the flat upstairs and I was living in the flat downstairs, I used to go to club every day, every single day. I went to club. Because of that” I am used to it. Even at my old age now, I still go and my wife would make fun of me and say this man, you still think you are a young man. Because I still go to the club every week, especially on Fridays. And I go to Crescendo on Sundays for the Live Band. sometimes I go to Cielo on Thursdays. I am a night-life person.
Let’s talk about your love for White. I remember that when I first met you at NIJ where we both went for a short course, you were always in white Buba and Sokoto. How did that start? And you kept it going for a long time.
The story about my wearing white is very interesting. When I was in Prime People I used to do a lot of stories and columns. So, there was a particular story that I did about people who wear white and why they wear white. One of the people that I interviewed was Femi Otedola. He used to wear only White then. Most times now he still wears White. When I interviewed Femi he told me then that he had a dream. That he saw his grandfather, in that dream. That his grandfather told him that he should start wearing white. That he is going to be a great person. At that time, Femi used to tell me, I am going to be the Abiola of our generation. And that I am going to be very rich. That was way back when he was a nobody. We are talking about way back in the 80s, when he was still driving one old car like that and he was still living with his father on Adeniran Ogunsanya in Surulere, before he moved on to Off Bode Thomas, then to Ilupeju, then to GRA, then to Ikoyi. He has always said that. When I interviewed him, he said look, I am going to be very rich. And my grandfather said I should wear only White. He was young then and he influenced a lot of young people.
His dressing was unique then. He used to wear White. He will then use Aso Oke to do cap and the shoe. Fela used to wear Shoes that is done in Aso Oke. They will use the Aso Oke to make the Shoe and to do the cap.
I was influenced by that interview. I also said to myself, I am also going to dress like this. He now said fine. If you want to dress like me, let me give you some caps. He gave me some caps and some shoes. That is how I started wearing White. Like him, I will wear White and I will wear aso-oke cap and use aso oke to do shoes. I was doing that till we started FAME Magazine. I was the Editor-In-Chief/MD so I had to move around agencies to solicit for adverts. So, I started wearing suits. Prior to that time, I don’t wear coloured at all. I wear only White guinea brocade. I now had to start wearing suits to go and make presentations at agencies. But since that time most of the time, I wear White.
You are also one journalist who has created Class for himself. You’ve carved a niche for yourself in terms of your personality. Tell us how this began?
I think what influenced that basically was like I said as a Reporter, I was already moving up, and moving with people from very rich homes. And I had a column then that I was writing called Silverspoon. I used to go and interview Sons & Daughters of very rich people and interviewed almost everybody. When I was moving with all these guys I was just a Reporter. I didn’t have a car. I had one Kabukabu then. The number plate of the Kabukabu than was KNF. It was KNF that used to take me round then, when I want to go and cover assignment. All these my friends have cars. I will go and meet them. Many don’t know that the story that really gave me my break in Journalism was the Tejuosho/Okoya Wedding. It was huge. After that was the Bianca/Ojukwu Wedding that Kunle Bakare & I did. So, as at that time, I was a Reporter but my profile was high. At that time, we didn’t have so many society reporters than like we have now. So, I stood out naturally. There were a few of us then who used to compete like Bob Dee then. When Dele Momodu first came from Ibadan and joined Weekend Concord when we get to assignments both of us will eye each other, and we both knew we are there to get stories. I remember the wedding of the Awolowos. He was very close to the Awolowos, so he beat me to it. I had to acknowledge that fact when I got to the office. When we got to Ikenne he could enter everywhere in Awolowo’s house in Ikenne. He had Access. I didn’t have that access.
So, it was that opportunity very early in my career that helped me. I was still in my 20s then. So, I was able to meet celebrities and successful people. I think all that helped to shape the kind of person I turned out to be as I grew on the job.