Insecurity: i haven’t visited my hometown in one year, says pioneer Concord Md
The foundational Managing Director of National Concord Newspapers, Chief henry Odukomaiya, on Saturday, decried the growing insecurity in the country, saying the situation discouraged him from visiting his hometown of Ibefun, Ogun State in over a year.
Odukomaiya noted that this was despite the close proximity of his hometown to his residence.
In an interview with Sunday PUNCH at his Lagos State residence on the occasion of his 87th birthday celebration, he said, “My hometown is one hour and 15 minutes away from here, but I don’t dare. I haven’t been there in over one year because of the insecurity.
“I feel sorry for what we are going through but there is nothing I can do about it. I have stopped going there until things are better—if they become better before I die.”
The former Deputy Chief executive of Daily Times, who is also the only surviving one of 10 children, thanked God for longevity, adding that he wanted to live longer to witness the completion of his daughter’s doctorate programme.
“My biggest wish is to live for another 10 years. It is for God to give me the grace to live for another 10 years in good health, which is very important. One of the reasons I badly wish that is that my youngest daughter, who is married, is pursuing a PHD in African Literature.
“I would want her to finish under my sponsorship and not for the financing to be passed on to my wife or any other person. That is one of my biggest wishes. She has only about two or three more semesters,” he said.
Odukomaiya expressed displeasure over the current practice of journalism in Nigeria. Asked to give an assessment of the profession today, he described it as ironic that dedication among members of the press was on the decline, though the vast majority of journalists are more educated than those of the older generation.
he said, “I’ve always answered that question by saying it is a paradox. It is hardly possible for you to find any journalist practising with less than a first degree from a university. In spite of that, paradoxically, they are doing it with a lesser degree of dedication and finesse than those of my generation, only a few of whom were graduates.
“At the time I practised journalism, I wasn’t a graduate. It was only (because of) the Daily Times, through Babatunde Jose, that I was sent to the Glasgow royal Polytechnic to acquire a higher National Diploma in journalism and that was years after I had started.”
The Diocesan, Diocese of Lagos West, Anglican Communion, rt rev James Odedeji, in his remarks, described the celebrator as a man of principle and duty.
The cleric said, “I have known him since May 1, 1998. I was the vicar and archdeacon of Archbishop vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja. I spent seven years and four months there. Incidentally, I’m a surgeon and he was my patient. I operated on him. he is a very good, dutiful, principled and meticulous man.”
ven. Festus Olowosile of the Diocese of Lagos West, in his sermon titled ‘Attitude of Gratitude,’ noted that it was crucial for one to live in obedience to God for one to have a life of gratitude.
“If there is bitterness, pride or anger in you, you cannot know how to praise God. even what we are doing here will mean nothing to you. If your soul is not connected with God, you will not appreciate what we are doing now,” he said.
Also in attendance were Odukomaiya’s wife, children, extended family members, clerics and AVMCC members.
A former Managing Director/ editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspapers, Mr Oyinlade Bonuola, paid tribute to Odukomaiya as a stickler for excellent grammar, saying many of the celebrator’s lessons had stuck with him several decades after being under his tutelage.