Yes! It is that special time of celebration and thanksgiving for us at the City People Media Group. It is that period of the year when family, friends and hundreds of journalists converge from far and near to celebrate a consummate journalist, a publisher per excellence and an amazing human being. Yes, the 24th of April is here again, it is time to celebrate the birthday of one of journalism’s most respected Icons, the Publisher, Editor-In-Chief of City People and Chairman of the City People Media Group, Dr. Olugbenga Oluseye Kehinde.
Anyone who has been privileged to know this humble and unassuming gentleman for a period of years will attest to the fact that rarely does his birthday roll past without any celebration. No matter how scarce resources may be at the time, a modest celebration, at the very least, would be held to honour him. And no, this is not because he is loud by nature. On the contrary, he detests bringing undue attention to himself. For someone who delights in celebrating others and consistently puts them under the spotlight, it is a puzzle how he avoids publicity like one avoids the Coronavirus. That is the Seye Kehinde we all know. And we have grown to respect his wishes when it comes to keeping a low profile. But, every year when the 24th of April approaches, family, friends, colleagues and staff pressure him to jettison his ‘low profile’ nature, at least for one day, and allow us roll out the drums on his behalf and celebrate him on his special day, the way every deserving Icon should be celebrated. This is a testimony of how much he is loved by everyone around him. But sadly, there shall be no such celebrations this year. No merriments. No assorted food and drinks. No eulogies. COVID-19 has spoilt our celebrations. Koro ti ba nkan je! But, still, like we say in Journalism, the show must go on, regardless of any situation. We will roll out the drums for you, sir, on Social media. In our private homes, we will uncork Champagne, or a bottle of your favourite Trophy, in your honour. We will shower you with unsolicited adulations and respect and let the internet pages drip of profound tributes paid to you by some of your most loyal friends, colleagues and staff who have remained eternally grateful to you for being one of the most fantastic human beings they have ever known. Yes, with or without ‘Koro,’ you, Dr. Seye Kehinde, will be celebrated and given the honour that you are eminently deserving of.
How does one begin to eulogise this outstanding journalist? How do you pay tribute a man who represents different things to different people? How do you excite a man who, from the very first few words you put on paper, he can read your mind and tell exactly what you want to construct on paper even before you’re done writing your first line?
Personally, I have always found you to be an intriguing personality. On the surface, you seem like an open book. Easy to read, easy to predict. Unassuming. But what many do not realize is that beneath that façade of simplicity lies one of the most complex yet brilliant minds many of us will ever come across. Then again, isn’t that obvious about you? To run a publishing outfit that has produced some of the most compelling and widely accepted publications for over 23 years does require a good measure of brilliance. To successfully manage a media outfit that has consistently churned out dozens of reputable journalists who themselves have become notable entrepreneurs, demands utmost brilliance from the man who steers the affairs of the company. In an erratic business climate like ours, you cannot run a business, let alone a publishing outfit, and hope that luck and destiny will be your friends. They may for a short while. But not for 23 years. You have to put in something extra. Hard work, tenacity, doggedness, incredible managerial ability and again, brilliance, tons of it, are some of the most key elements every business owner, especially a publisher, must possess to survive in our clime. All of these and much more are what makes Dr. Seye Kehinde the accomplished journalist and media guru that he is today.
We celebrate you, sir. We salute your courage. We salute your tenacity. And we thank you for being an exemplary leader. We thank you for not being afraid to teach us all the ‘editorial tricks’ of the trade that you know. We thank you for imparting in us values, discipline and ethics of the profession that we probably may never have learnt anywhere else.
As you celebrate your 55th birthday, we pray, profoundly, that you grow from strength to strength. As we all look onto you for inspiration, direction and guidance on the job, may you not be lacking in the wisdom to direct us appropriately. We will always remain indebted to you for letting us drink freely from your fountain of knowledge. City People shall grow in leaps and bounds. City People Online shall flourish. City People TV shall, within the shortest distance, shall become the envy of all. We wish you more successes in all your endeavours. We wish you unprecedented prosperity beyond your imagination. Above all of these, we wish you long life, in good health and comfort. You deserve all of these and much more, sir, these shall be your portion by the special grace of the Lord Almighty.
Happy 55 Birthday and God bless you for us.
Igba odun, odun kan o!
–WALE LAWAL (Editor)