I still can’t believe this man in 70. When I met him last Wednesday evening at his office in Lagos, he was in a black Tee Shirt and Black pants. He looked funky. Save for his grey hair, he could pass for 55 or 60. He still has the swags of a guy. His melodious voice is still intact.
But believe it or not, Mr. Gori Ogunyemi is 70. All through these years, he has maintained his Simply Mr. No Chief. No Otunba title.
As you read this, he is in a celebratory mood. This veteran journalist and Advertising practitioner turned 70 today and a big party has been planned for him today by his pretty wife and kids to celebrate, a good husband and daddy.
But can you believe that this stylish “Egbon” does not look an inch that age?
His melodious voice makes you to want to keep listening to him speak all the time. In the last 70 years he has accomplished a lot, from having been one of the pioneers in Society reporting in the media. He was at Punch Newspapers in the days of Uncle Sam Amuka. He later left for Advertising/PR sector.
Not many know his story. This is because Gori Ogunyemi though a media man has kept his very private life off the pages of newspaper.
A few weeks back City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE spent quality time with Uncle Gori at his new Lagos office.
Let’s start by having you share with us what’s on your mind at 70.
Sometimes its scary. But you know 70 is just a member. I feel 30. I can feel 40. I can dress 20 if I want. As far as I am commend it has a lot to do with the grace of God. It’s a time for sober reflection. I have lost a lot of friends along the line.
When you remember you are 70, then you remember some of your friends that have passed on along the way. You cannot but give thanks to God. I have gone through about 69 Xmases. It’s a lot of years. Whoever turns 70 must give thanks to God whichever way or form because sometimes you wonder if you really deserve it.
At 70, I feel alive, no ailment, no life-threatening ailment, I am sound and solid. And I am able to move around. I can still dance. I love to dance.
I look back at my family as well. They are ok. I particularly must be grateful to God for so many reasons. On the family side, my children have turned out to be lovely children. I have one wife, only one wife and my wife has been a fantastic woman. When people look at me and they say you look young its because, I have a good wife who understands me.
Women are always women. If you have a good wife you will have rest of mind. I have peace. I am at peace with myself.
I am at peace at home.
So on that front, I am very grateful.
I mentioned my children, they are all doing very well. Its not as if I sat them down and lectured them. In actual fact, truth be told, if my kids did half of the things I did when I was growing up, I probably would have run mental.
My children are lovely kids. I praise God for them. Once your children turn age 12 up, you are on your own because that in the age when whatever you say turns negative as far as they are concerned.
But in my own case, one way through that period, we were able to manage our selves. And don’t forget, they didn’t really live with me. They lived most of their lives in England. From a very young age, they’ve been living abroad. I am for ever grateful to God. I am grateful to God. I am very grateful to God. I have said that 3 times. On that’s front I am at peace with myself.
Did 70 creeps in on you or is it something you have always been looking forward to it?
I am the one that has always been scared of my birthdays. My wife would almost screen at me. You are the only one that I know that is always afraid of his birthday. I have no reason whatsoever to be. I have no reason to give or to tell her. But on my birthdays. I just go on a Downer until she comes around.
Last year for instance everybody was abroad on my birthday. I went to the Ogunlesi’s party. Fola Ogunlesi’s daughters wedding. I was alone, more or less at home. That the kind of person. I am. On my birthday, something has to happen, for me to come alive. But the day before it. I will look forward to it. So my birthdays are usually a Downner. But this year is different. My children just connived with their mum. All they did was to just inform me that they were going to give me a party and that it was none of my business. I said No. It is my business.
But they managed to keep it a secret for a very long time until their mum came back on the 31stt of October and brought the cards at that time and I got to know the venue.
Up until that time I didn’t know the venue.
They all didn’t tell me anything. I just knew they were working, what they were doing they won’t tell me.
I was afraid they night not get it right. I was like, if you asking me to invite my friends and they get there and things are not the way I would want it… My daughter now said. You are our father.
We know you. We know your friends. We know the kind of parties your host. We know the kind of parties your attend. So why are you afraid.
We are adults. You raised us. At that point I said ok oh. I leave you to do it.
Since that time when I look around the house I find cases of wine, champagne.
I will go and sniff around and count and began to wonder will these kids get it right.
All these that I am saying makes me happy. At a point I offered something almost in significant and my first born, junior said, daddy we do not need a cent or a Kobo of yours.
If there is anything you think we have not done just mention it. Between you and I not one Kobo of mine has gone into this party. My wife and kids have really tried. I didn’t know what the IVS will look like until my wife came back and I saw it and I really liked the different concept of 3 cards in I and My head was really swollen. My 2 sons strangely read Graphics. They now went and retrained and did other things. And now, that’s what they are working with. They wanted to show me that this is our area.