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Oba Ogunleye, Bonuola, others extol Odukomaiya’s virtues at 87

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The celebrant, Prince Henry Odukomaiya (second left); his wife, Lydia (left); His Royal Majesty, the Towulade of Akinale, Ogun State, Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye , former Managing Director, The Guardian, Lade Bonuola and Prince Olusola Uduko during Odukomaiya’s 87th birthday celebration in Lagos… Saturday.


It was a morning of encomiums and tributes on Saturday, July 10, 2021, as prominent Nigerians, veteran journalists, colleagues; family members and well-wishers celebrated the 87th birthday of Prince Henry Olukayode Odukomaiya.

In his tribute, the former Managing Director of The Guardian Newspapers Limited, Lade Bonuola, said, “all I have become in this world is as a result of crossing Prince Odukomaiya’s path. I think the creator guided it. He was a very courageous journalist, who wrote powerful editorials while in Daily Times.”

He added: “In those days, before you come to the newsroom, you must have listened to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) or Voice of America (VOA). He may take you up and start a conversation to know if you listened to the stations. You must be informed to be a good editor or sub editor. That was what he planted in us. He was the editor of editors and teacher of teachers. If you hear ‘Ladbone’ today, I took after him. What can I give to him in appreciation of what he did to my life rather than to wish him well in the rest of his life that he will continue to know joy.”

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Also speaking, Towulade of Akinale, Ogun State, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, said that Prince Odukomaiya picked him up from nowhere over 50 years ago and brought him to journalism.

He stated that he helped him secure his job at Daily Times where he was receiving full salary. “He later moved me from sports to general reporting. He was a handsome man who dresses well,” the monarch said.

While expressing his appreciation, Prince Odukomiaya acknowledged his former employer at Champion Newspapers, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, for employing him despite ethnic differences.

“I am very grateful to God. I spent all my entire working life in journalism. Since I left media in 1994, I’ve lived a quiet life and tried as much as possible to get closer to God.”

Odukomaiya was born on July 10, 1934. He was educated at the University College, Legon, Ghana, where he studied Classics and left in 1957 a year ahead of his graduation to begin a career in journalism.

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His employers, the Daily Times, later sent him to Glasgow Royal College Polytechnic in 1962 for the Higher National Certificate course in Newspaper Journalism.

He had a distinguished career spanning Daily Times, Concord Press and Champion Newspapers. He mounted the editorship of the Daily Times in 1969 towards the end of the Nigerian Civil war and steered it through the period of national reconciliation till 1972.

He served as deputy chief executive of the Daily Times from 1973 to 1976. In 1979 he was the pioneer managing director and editor-in-chief of the Concord Press. Within two years under his watch the paper grew in stature, successfully challenging many titles that had been in the market for long.

In 1988, he also successfully pioneered the establishment of the Champion newspapers, proving that the market can always take a well-packaged paper.
Since his retirement from full time employment in 1993 he has consulted for various organisations, including his church, where he is today the editor-in-chief of the church magazine. Odukomaiya is well revered for his deep knowledge of the newspaper industry and for producing different generations of news managers.

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