•As Media Veterans & Political Titans Storm Event
It was a roll call of all the who is who in the media industry, especially the veterans on Thursday, March 1st, 2018, when media guru, Chief Tola Adeniyi, launched his new book, In The Belly Of Vultures. The event, which took place at NECA House at the Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja attracted many political juggernauts from the South West, who all came to associate with one of their own. Chief Tola Adeniyi, in years past, has had a distinguished career in the media.
The event had in attendance the likes of Vanguard Publisher, Sam Amuka; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; his successor in office, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo. The Chairman of the occasion was Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (GCON). He was represented by Prof. Maxwell Gidado. The father of the day was Ibadan Chief, Adetunji. Below is City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDEs blow-by-blow account of the book launch.
Chief ADENIYI’S WIFE AS PERFECT HOST
Many of those who have never met Chief Tola Adeniyis wife, Chief (Mrs.) Olubunmi Adeniyi, met her at the event for the very first time. She is a very pretty woman. She was a perfect host and the Chief Co-ordinator of the classy event. Until she retired from Oyo State Civil Service, she was a super Permanent Secretary. She is the Yeyesorun Ile-Ife. She was the 1st woman perm sec in Osun State. She was a former Perm Sec in the old Oyo State. She is also the Yeyemeso of Ede. She retired in 1993.
ATIKU SENDS GOODWILL MESSAGE
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (GCON), was the Chairman of the event. Though, he could not make it, he sent a powerful representative in the person of a close associate, Prof. Maxwell Gidado (SAN) He read Atiku’s bombshell of a speech.
ALHAJI ADETUNJI’S PIVOTAL ROLE
That the author chose Ibadan High Chief, Alhaji Adetunji as Father of the day didn’t come as a surprise to those who know this man of immense stature and his closeness to Chief Tola Adeniyi. Alhaji Adetunji who is like Chief Adeniyi’s adopted father. Tola Adeniyi is regarded as his 1st son in Chief Adetunji’s household. No wonder, 3 of his children came. One of Adetunji’s sons is the NBA President in Ikorodu.
Chief Adetunji is a big businessman, who started his business career with NTC in the good old days and rose to become the biggest distributor of NTC products. That was how he got the appelation Adetunji Onisiga despite the fact that he was never a smoker. He is the founder of Trans International Bank in Ibadan. The bank has since been merged with other banks. He is an Ibadan High Chief. He was also a district Gov. of Rotary 911. He was one of the closest friends of the late Chief Henry Fajemirokun. They were involved in the same chamber of commerce group.
IBB SENDS GEN. OLANREWAJU
Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, was to play a key role at the launch. He would have come personally because of his closeness to Chief Adeniyi, but he could not make it to Lagos from Minna so he sent Gen. Olanrewaju, one of his core loyalists in those good old days in office. Gen. Olanrewaju did a good job. He read IBB’s powerful speech where he counselled Nigerians to stop hate speeches. He said he believed in the unity of Nigeria.
He extolled the virtues of Tola Adeniyi. He described him as an exceptional journalist. He said Nigeria needed a journalist of his stature. “He has a sense of commitment and service.” IBB wrote. He called him a resourceful journalist.
AREMO OSOBA: LOOKING YOUNGER
Many won’t believe it that 2-time Ogun Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, who is a veteran journalist, is preparing for his 80th. He is 79 now, but he does not look it. He looks refreshingly young. He and the author were professionally close in their days at Daily Times In those good old days when men were boys, Osoba defended Tola Adeniyi then, against those who envied and tried to block Adeniyi’s prolific writing within DTN.
At that time, Adeniyi was writing 14 columns within the DTN stable. Osoba, who was a Deputy Editor at that time, encouraged Adeniyi not to despair, but to spread his writing to all the titles “You Are A Talent And A Great Writer”, Osoba told Adeniyi at that time. “Don’t stop writing, go on and write. If you like you can write on the moon. Tola Adeniyi regards Osoba as the greatest reporter of this century.
UNCLE SAM STILL AGILE AT OVER 80
If you were told to guess Uncle Sams age many will fail. Uncle Sam is the Publisher of The Vanguard newspapers. His real mame is Sam Amuka-Pemu. Call him the doyen of Journalism, you won’t be wrong. He is a veteran of the pen trade. He is also called Sad Sam. He is witty. He loves satires. Uncle Sam is over 80 but he does not look it. He still bubbles. He still bounces when he walks. The path of the author and Uncle Sam crossed in the 70’s at Daily Times. Uncle Sam had encouraged Tola Adeniyi’s writing career since 1970, by regularly publishing Adeniyi’s articles in Sunday Times. Uncle Sam is also Adeniyi’s 2nd major influence on his Satiric writings, coming after Kafka, who wrote The Trial Since then, they’ve remained very good friends.
ADENIYI’S TRIBUTE TO SEN. JUBRIL MARTINS KUYE
Many people don’t know that the author and Senator Jubril Martins Kuye are close. They are cousins. And they come from the same town, Ago Iwoye. Senator Jubril Martins Kuye is Tola Adeniyi’s cousin. They are a few ages different from each other. Both once lived together. Infact they used to sleep on the same bed. At a time, one was at Teacher’s Training College, Sagamu and the other was at a Ago-Iwoye Secondary School. They both met again at University of Ibadan. JMK was a year ahead of the author at U. I. When JMN left U.I he handed over his fiance to Tola Adeniyi to take care for him. The lady was to be his 1st wife, Adunni. She is now late.
EX-GOV. MIMIKO Shows SUPPORT
One of the VIPs at the book launch was former Ondo Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who is also a Medical Doctor. He came quite early and sat all throughout the event, till the very end. It is because of the close affinity he shares with the author. Chief Tola Adeniyi has known him since his secondary school days. Mimiko was then a student in Form 1 at St. Louis Secondary School in Ondo, while Adeniyi was a Teacher at St. Monica Girls Grammar School. That was way back in 1969. His elder sister, Prof. Joke Bestman, was also Adeniyi’s Student at St. Monica. Mimiko’s uncle, Lateef Ajao, a retired Lagos State Permanent Secretary is also Tola Adeniyi’s childhood friend. And since 1969, Adeniyi, has followed Mimikos meritorious rise to fame.
GENERAL AKINRINADE LOOKING YOUNGER
Another VIP at the event was Gen. Alani Akinrinade a respected Yoruba leader. He arrived early and waited till the end of the event. He was the cynosure of all eyes at the event because of his pivotal role in Yoruba leadership. The author has never hidden the fact that he holds the General in high esteem. Their age-long relationship is built on the fact that they share almost identical views on the way forward for the Yoruba race and the Nigerian nation.
CHIEF ADEBANJO REMAINS A MAN OF STYLE
One of the respected Yoruba leaders, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, was also there in a coffee- brown suit with a tie to match. At close to 90, Papa Adebanjo has remained steadfast, as a towering figure in the Yoruba nation. He and the author are close. They got closer during Tola Adeniyi’s days as the Editor in Chief of the Nigeria Tribune and at a time he was Deputy Director, Research and Publicity in the old UPN office at Eletu Odibo, Yaba, Lagos.
Adeniyi has a fascination for Chief Adebanjo as a formidable fighter for Truth, Justice and fair play. Adeniyi commended Adebanjo for standing today as one of the most powerful defender of the Yoruba race and a foremost nationalist in the struggle for Nigeria’s survival.
PASTOR BAKARE CAME WITH WIFE
Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly has a beautiful wife. Both came and sat throughout the event. Pastor Bakare and Tola Adeniyi are very close. Bakare wrote the Forward to the new book. Unknown to many, Bakare and Adeniyi share similar backgrounds. Many don’t know Pastor Bakare started life as a Quoranic pupil. Adeniyi admires Bakare’s doggedness fearlessness, outspokeness, incomparable honesty and integrity. Thats how they became friends so much so that Adeniyi never misses his televangelism.
DR. DOYIN ABIOLA’S MOVING SPEECH
At the event, the former MD of Concord Newspapers, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, who is one of the widows of late MKO Abiola delivered a Goodwill message that shook the hall. Looking sweet in her outfit, she commended Chief Tola Adeniyi for keeping hope alive with his writing, but wondered why Nigerians don’t like to act, to give strength to writers like Adeniyi. She lamented how after several years of writings not much has changed in Nigeria. She says she has given up on her generation and has taken to paying a lot of attention to her grand children.
Many don’t know that Doyin Abiola and Tola Adeniyi have come a long way. They were classmates at the University of Ibadan. They also worked together at the Daily Times. In U. I. she read English/Drama (combined honours) she was the 1st person to do so. Tola Adeniyi also read single honours English, with Drama as subsidiary, which meant they were in the same class in English and Drama.
Both also acted as Husband and wife in 2 deparmental plays, while in U. I. One of it is the Diary of Ann, Frank. She played the role of Ann, while he played that of Frank. Both were Lead Characters in the play.
CHIEF AKINGBA IS 80!
Be the first to know that this erudite pro-democracy advocate has just turned 80. He clocked 80 last Thursday, the day Tola Adeniyi launched his book. He came for the book launch and had a small party in the evening of that day. Chief Akingba has paid his dues. Years back, he was the intellectual engine room for NADECO. Many call him Triple A, coined from his names Amos Arogundade Akingba. He is from Okitipupa.
He is a retired University don from U.I. For years, he has been a tireless warrior for self-determination and emencipation of the Yoruba race. He is bold, fearless and highly principled.
ABOUT OBA ODOGBOLU AND TOLA ADENIYI
There were many Obas in attendance. But there was one Kabiyeesi, who stood out distinctly because of his closeness to the author. He was Oba Adedeji Onagoruwa, the king of Odogbolu. They have been friends for over 48 years. They also have other links. Tola Adeniyi’s roots could be traced to Odogbolu, in a way. His mum is part Ayepe, part Odogbolu. His, mums father is Ayepe and his mums paternal grandma is Odogbolu from the Onagoruwa dynasty.
Kabiyeesi Onagoruwa is from the popular Onagoruwa family from Odogbolu. He is related to late Dr. Olu Onagoruwa and Chief Ayodele Onagoruwa, the first certified banker in this part of the country. He was the General Manager of Cooperative Bank for very many years in Ibadan. He is also related to Prof. Tola Atinmo (whose mum is Onagoruwa).
CHIEF JOOP BERKHOUT ATTENDED
One of Nigeria’s leading book publishers, Chief Joop Berkhout was there. Though, he is a whiteman, many don’t know he is a naturalised Nigerian. He has been living in Nigeria for over 40 years. He is regarded as the doyen of modern publishing. He has paid his dues in that industry. He was a former MD of Evans Publishing, founder and chairman, Spectrum Books and founder of Safari Books. Both Joop Berkhout and Adeniyi have come a long way. In 1971, in conjunction with British High Commission, Jook organised a course in Booking selling. Tola Adeniyi was one of the attendees, in his capacity as Manager Ife University Bookshop.