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Oyelade’s insightful chronicle of broadcast journalism

By Guardian Nigeria
28 November 2022   |   3:57 am
Prince Dotun Oyelade is a broadcast journalist, publisher and politician. But he restricted the coverage of his publication, Dotun Oyelade Reporting… (Memoirs of a Newshound), to the first two aspects of his life: journalism and publishing.

Title: Dotun Oyelade Reporting… (Memoirs of a Newshound)
Authors: Dotun Oyelade, Tola Teriba and Ayodeji Ajisope
Publisher: Aikon Integral Concept, Ibadan (2022)
Reviewer: Isaac Olawale Albert

Prince Dotun Oyelade is a broadcast journalist, publisher and politician. But he restricted the coverage of his publication, Dotun Oyelade Reporting… (Memoirs of a Newshound), to the first two aspects of his life: journalism and publishing. He intends to write on his political life in the years to come but flagged some of his political landmarks in the work to include being Publicity Secretary to Alliance for Democracy in 1999 and Private Secretary to Governor Lam Adesina from 1999 to 2003. He was Special Adviser on Public Communications to Governor Christopher Alao Akala from 2007 to 2011 and was also Head of the media campaign team of Governor Seyi Makinde, from January 2018 to May 2019.

The interesting publication is broken into five parts of 18 chapters. The first part consists of two chapters and these have to do with how Oyelade cut his professional teeth in journalism by working at NTV. The first chapter ought to have chronologically been the third but the author made it the first invariably to teach some lessons to students of journalism education.

Oyelade was in Akure in 1978 to report the visit of Olusegun Obasanjo. As he charged through the crowd with his microphone to get a scoop for his federal television channel, he was bullied back by some unfriendly soldiers guiding the head of state. It took him some time to get out of panic mode.

This must have been included in the book to show that it is not easy for an early career journalist to get breaking stories as taught in the classroom; it involves unpredictable risks and embarrassments. It was actually in the second chapter that Oyelade narrated how he was employed by NTA in August 1977 under the leadership of Yemi Farounbi. His supervisors on the job included Bayo Sanda, Fabio Lanipekun, Biodun Sotumbi, Biodun Aladekomo, and Biodun Adetuberu.

In the news department, Oyelade worked with Segun Oyedele, Folu Ogundimu, Segun Soroye, Mufu Akinloye; Kayode Adedire, Femi Idowu, Biodun Ariyo now Senator Biodun Olujinmi, Bankole Laotan, Tunji Oyetoso, Lekan Alabi, Biodun Oduwole, Rasheed Adegbenro, Tunde Jawando, Kola Akinleye, Bukola Famuyiwa, Kunle Adeigbe and a host of others. He used colourful adjectives to describe the innovations brought to NTA by each of these personalities. He called attention to the suspect image of the journalist working under the military, the intrigues of reporting the “Ali must go student protest”, attempts to repress the media etc.

Part two of the book consists of five chapters focusing on Oyelade’s sojourn and exploits at the TSOS/BCOS. In chapter three, he told the story of how the amity between Governor Bola Ige and Dr. Yemi Farounbi led to the founding of TSOS and how the station was provided the best possible facilities and conditions of service for attaining best journalism practice.

He was recruited into the station under very rigorous and painstaking conditions but had an exemplary career there. He listed all the people he worked with in the station but singled out Yanju Adegbite, who later became the Project Coordinator at BCOS from 2011 to 2019, as the first face to appear on TSOS TV. In Chapter 4, he called attention to a number of groundbreaking reports he wrote for the station: the Lawrence Anini saga, the trial of Gen. Mamman Vatsa, the Cocoa House inferno, the death of Awolowo and Dele Giwa; the inaugural AFRC meeting of the Babangida regime etc. In chapter 5 Oyelade called attention to how the corporate identity of BCOS changed when the NPN government of Chief Omololu Olunloyo came to power in October 1983 in Oyo State.

Though the regime was sacked by the military on December 31 same year, the three months period of its existence witnessed several staff of TSOS sacked and redeployed. Oyelade was redeployed to the State secretariat at Agodi where he wasted away in the conference room of the Head of Service until the civilian administration left and he was returned to TSOS which became BCOS with the merger of the TV station and Radio Oyo. Oyelade was serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation in 2001 when Governor Lam Adesina asked him to combine this with the assignment of a Private Secretary. Chapter 6 is a fuller-length discussion of the merger of Radio Oyo and TSOS by the regime of Col. Oladayo Popoola to form BCOS. It also discussed the circumstances under which Chief Bisi Adesola became the first GM of the Corporation. Chapter 7, the shortest of the essays, has to do with how Oyelade went to the US on a fellowship and nearly acceded to a quest to stay back with the media outfit he visited.

Part 3 consists of seven chapters and has to do with Oyelade’s foray into publishing: another field in which he has made outstanding contributions. In chapter 8 he told the story of how it all started in February 1988 after interviewing Professor Ojetunji Aboyade, the world-renowned economist and former Vice Chancellor, University of Ife (now OAU), at the BCOS Studios.

Oyelade was asked if he was enjoying his job and he told Aboyade that the glitz of the job was gone and he was ready to move on. Within a month of this discussion, Oyelade was hired to manage a publishing house jointly established by Professors Akin Mabogunje and Aboyade: Fountain Publication. He was offered an initial salary of N1000 per month in 1988 which was more than twice the salary of a Controller at BCOS at the time.