Tunde Akanbi: An iconic veteran journalist @60

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Alh Muhammed Tunde Akanbi

“This brings to the fore, the voluntary retirement and birthday celebration of a respected veteran journalist, a media sage, a celebrated broadcaster with popular appeal and a consummate pen pusher, who commands absolute respect in the course of doing what journalism profession demands”


By Babatunde Isiaka

There is time for everything in life. Life is transient. Time to be born and time to die, time to sleep and time to wake up, time for hunger and time for satisfaction or fullness, time for sorrow and time for happiness, time for celebration and time for mourning, time to assume duty and time to quit.

It is natural that every human being, who is opportune to live long, will undergo these stages in life. This explains the dynamism of life. Nothing seems to be constant in this world. Change remains, undoubtedly, only phenomenon that is constant.

The former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara State Council, Alhaji Muhammed Tunde Akanbi Oriokoh yesterday (Saturday, August 3, 2019) retired from active service after 32 years of serving the state government through Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Kwara, Ilorin).

Incidentally, his voluntary retirement coincided with his birthday. Today (Sunday, August 4, 2019) marks his 60th birthday.

This brings to the fore, the voluntary retirement and birthday celebration of a respected veteran journalist, a media sage, a celebrated broadcaster with popular appeal and a consummate pen pusher, who commands absolute respect in the course of doing what journalism profession demands.

During his time as the state NUJ Council Chairman, between 1998 and 2001, Alhaji Tunde Akanbi added life to the council Secretariat. Being a charismatic leader as he is, some members-loving activities and games were introduced in the council Secretariat.

This good leadership quality ultimately attracted many members to the Secretariat as every member did return to the Secretariat after daily work to play different games such as table tennis and the likes.

During his period as the Chairman, I was at that time in school of Journalism. The Press Centre became a cynosure of all eyes. To some us that were just coming up as journalists in the making, we loved to be associated with the profession and the lively programmes in the Secretariat practically gave us an impetus to further develop mental positive attitude towards the media profession.

Added to this was the strategic location of the Secretariat. It was located directly in front of Government House with a very spacious land. Going there also afforded us the ample opportunity to cast a glance at the beautiful ambience of the Government House.

For the record, former NUJ Council Secretariat was beside former Ministry of Water Resources, both in front of Government House. The place is now where the Banquet Hall is located. The old NUJ Secretariat was levelled in 2010 by the then Governor, Dr Bukola Saraki, during which yours sincerely was the NUJ state council Treasurer, the same position I’m incidentally holding currently.

The impact of Alhaji Tunde Akanbi ‘Say Kayi’ as he is being fondly called in the progress and development of journalism in the country, is enormous and profound.

To say that he commands respect in this profession and beyond is to repeat the obvious. You will all agree with me if I addressed him as an executive journalist. His charisma and good public relations trait accord him the possibility to relate freely with highly placed figures in the country.

His popularity in the profession does not open to a debate. Here is a man, who loves everybody that comes his way and he is also loved by all.

Though retired from government service, he is never tired as far as pen fraternity is concerned. He will be missed, but never forgotten, because he has done so much for all of us. The radio Kwara will surely miss him the more.

Although he did not make it to the position of General Manager before he took a bow, the enormity of his sterling contributions to the growth and development of the station will continue to remain ever green in minds of the staff and management of the Radio Kwara.

His invaluable contributions to the profession with his lengthy years of experience readily qualified him to be part of the elders in the profession. I have a strong convinction that he is still with us both in spirit and in physical. The union will never be the same without his leadership.

Say Kayi sir, please don’t let your retirement stop you from practicing the journalism again. As a widely reputed effective information manager, your contributions will be highly needed, to move the pen profession forward. We feel happy and pleased any time will see you in our midst. Because Yoruba adage says ‘Agba kii wa ni Oja ki Ori Omo tuntun o wo’. This is an ultimate sacrifice you need to make. Your fatherly roles are shaping the profession and keeping it on the right track.

The birthday and retirement send forth ceremony will take place today Sunday August 4th, 2019, at Mandate Studio Hall, Radio Kwara, Ilorin, at 10am.

His 60th birthday anniversary is never a vainglorious celebration. It is coming at a better time when he is voluntarily retiring from service. Voluntary retirement and attaining 60 years of age are landmark achievements in life. Because not every worker will make it to the point of voluntary retirement, as job mobility, social mobility and premature death prevent many from achieving the feat.

I wish you a happy retirement, filled with joy, fun and happiness. As you are beginning another new chapter of life, I wish you a long, healthy and exciting retirement.

Babatunde Layiwola Isiaka writes from the Directorate of Coorporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, Ilorin

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