Chief Eric Teniola is a distinguished media guru who has dominated the Journalism profession for over 4 decades, working in various media houses. Not only that. He served as Chief Press Secretary to 2 governors in the South West years back, before he went on to work at The Presidency for years. The big news is that Chief Eric Teniola is 70 and he will be celebrating it on Tuesday 30th July 2019 at the Chapel of Christ The Light Church CBD, Alausa, Lagos. Reception/Book Launch follows immediately after the church service at Regency Hall, Otunba Jobi Fele Way, CBD, Ikeja.
A few days back, he told City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE how he feels at 70. Below are excerpts of the interview.
So, Chief Eric Teniola is 70? We can confirm to you authoritatively that he is. In the next few days,, his friends, family members and well-wishers will gather in Lagos to celebrate this great Nigerian who has not only been a distinguished Nigerian Journalist but served 2 governors in Ondo State and went on to greater heights to become a top public servant who served at the highest echelon of government in Abuja. He worked with the late Secretary to Government, Gidado Idris.
How does it feel turning 70? “I feel happy”, he says. “I have to thank God Almighty for sparing my life up to this level. I never thought I would be 70 but in God’s wisdom, I will be 70 and all glory to God.
I say this because God has been very, very wonderful in my life. The things I never dreamt of. The places I never dreamt of, I went there. God has taken me there.
Like everybody, I have had my Ups and Downs, but God has been very, very kind, God has been extremely kind. I thank God. After thanking God, I thank my parents who are deceased now, for piloting my life to where I am now. Then, I thank my friends, so numerous to mention. I have never had disappointments from friends in my life. They have been very, very, very kind to me. Almost, all my friends have been very, very kind to me, very supportive.
I believe in friendship. I believe with friends, you can achieve many things in your life. All my friends stood by me throughout my journey till these days. So, those are the segments. I will like to mention. I thank God, first. I thank my parents. I thank my friends. And of course my family, I have a very loving and very kind wife. And my kids, my children.
They love me and I love them so much. I am grateful to God for everything that has happened to my life”.
What will he say life has taught him at 70? “Well, I will say the most basic lesson is Endurance & Humility. One must have to endure. Life does not offer you all the beds of roses at the same time. I will say life has taught me to Endure. And then Humility, in that everything came from God, and we have to return back to our God. So, why must you be arrogant, why are you stupidly arrogant about life? There is no big deal about anything in your life. Everything was given to you, your brain, your intelligence, your beauty, your money. These are gifts from God. The billionaire of today is not the most hardworking. It is just that, it just happened. He happens to have the money. Its destiny. That is the way God has created some people. Sometimes we call it luck.
Hard work is there. But I believe in Endurance and Humility to achieve anything in life”.
Why did he choose Journalism and not a different profession? “It just happened by accident. I started my career as a Civil Servant. I was a Senior Technical Assistant in the Ministry of Works & Transport. I was employed by my late Uncle, Chief Ayo Akintoba. That was in 1971. And we were in charge of V10, then in Ibadan in the old Western state.
And they employed me. But I have this love for reading the newspaper. I was spending all my money to buy a newspaper. One day somebody said there was an interview in the Nigerian Tribune, I went there. I met one Mr Akintade in The Tribune. He said what have I come to do? I said I want to be a Reporter. He said the job is almost half done. Our News Editor back then was Mr. Fola Oredoyin. He is late now”.
“The Editor then was Mr. Ikan Yakubu. He was from Bendel State. He interviewed me and the 2nd day, they said I should come. Honestly, the salary at that time was very attractive, coupled with the adventure of the job. That made me leave my job at the Ministry of Works and Transport. That was in 1971.
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