The Oloyode I knew
I was undergoing the mandatory but a rather tough tutelage of “career scripting” at the famous “Room 30 of NTA, Lagos” to eventually number amongst the revered club of writers for Play of the Week. The Ihria Enakimios, Larri Williamses… My tough assignment, “Write an hour serious dramatic episode with a cast of maximum 3 on a single set… not just dialogues but plenty of actions!
Are you kidding me? A cast of 2 on a single set! And for an hour? But there I was sweating at churning out scripts after scripts to get at least one approved for production. All along a very influential producer was watching me without me knowing that he was paying me any attention! One day this senior producer just burst in and told his colleagues: “E jeki ogbeni yi maa lo si ‘Youth and Children!’” (Let this chap move to the ‘Youth and Children’ unit)…
That was the beginning of a long and profitable association with the Egbons that I still remember for his dandy, white shirt, white trousers and wait for it, the then fashionable men’s high heel, white shoes. And it was by his decision that I moved to the ‘Youtgh Forum’ programme to start writing its weekly drama sketches (I still have copies of some of these children’s drama episodes). I was launched as a new young writer in March 1976 on the programme by a former NTA DG, Sola Omole.
When I was producing the resident Theatre group at National Museum, Onikan, Organisation for Young Artistes (OYA), Egbons, who I now recall as a top shot with the giant advertising company, Lintas, was amongst the respectable group of “Veterans” regularly visiting and giving us useful corrections during our rehearsals…
During his tenure as Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) president, Chief Tunde Oloyede and ITPAN Secretary (Uncle Albert – Mr. B.) gave me a commission for a business faculty of the association’s trainings for professionals. This led to my training module; The Business of TV/Movie Productions, which I was delivering regularly during ITPAN’s trainings.
I put my “millions” of gratuity from the multi-national, Xerox, to revive the rested Yoruba TV programme, Feyikogbon. I engaged a production house, reassembled the scattered cast and bought airtime on NTA to broadcast the then weekly programme. After only six episodes, with no adverts or sponsors, my “millions” vanished! I had a young family to cater to. It was Chief Oloyede who saved me from this premature bankruptcy. He coasted me on the path of profitable and effective COLLABORATIONS with NTA, the artistes group and a production house, his Media International. And that was how I subsequently succeeded putting the programme to broadcast on the states and NTA stations in South-West on Unilever sponsorship from 2000 – 2004.
Before and after I launched “African Repertoire Theatre (ART) to restage late Chief Duro Ladipo’s epic, Oba Koso), Global Children Theatre (GCT) and Big Screen for partnership screening at Lagos Country Club in the year 2000, Chief Oloyede’s Media International produced all our promotional materials.
We last spoke early 2015, when after the successful surgeries of Hernia and Twisted Intestines I called him about the movie I was “prepping”. He was upset that I hadn’t been in touch for long. I explained my surgeries and as usual we warmed up into our usual brotherly discussion. He hoped to live up to 70 (last year) and we both prayed for him to live longer. My own vertebrates collapsed in 2016 to put me in the wheelchair and I have only just regained my normal health. I missed a personal goodbye to our Egbons but happy he at least lived till 2017. I pray for eternal rest for him.
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