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Broadcasters, others pay tribute to Julie Coker at 80

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Last Sunday, all roads led to Omo Ajorosun Club, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State, where Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi, the Ekefa Olubadan of Ibadanland and the first Culture Ambassador of the National Museum and Monument, Ile Ife, celebrated ace screen queen, Chief Julie Coker, who clocked 80.

At the event, veteran broadcasters — Alabi, Dr. Yemi Farounbi, Mrs. Shade Hastrup and Chief Taiwo Ayorinde — urged young ones to emulate the excellent and passionate disposition of the renowned icon of television broadcasting and Yeye Eto of Lagos in their career.

Oloye Alabi said: “It takes excellence to recognise excellence. One, without being immodest, has been in the forefront that iconic people, people who have made huge contribution to the development of the society should be recognised and honoured in their lifetime. All these posthumous awards and accolades don’t count more. Chief Julie Coker was not only a beauty while in service, she stood for perfection in production and for her to have risen to become the Head of Presentation on the Nigerian network television when elocution walk with her. We must recognise people who make excellent contribution to society and she deserves it.

“The way we were trained and the way our bosses interacted with us, in any profession, not only in the media, you must get the appointment by merit. You must have passion for the job. Imagine Christians coming to work on Christmas day, Muslims coming to work on Sallah day, they didn’t mind. The young professionals must emulate her excellence and passion for the job.”

On his part, the former Ambassador to Philippines and ace broadcaster, who was chairman of the occasion, Farounbi, said: “The reason why we are celebrating her is because she is an embodiment of excellence, embodiment of all that is the best in broadcasting. She was passionate about high quality broadcasting. She was passionate about community service. She was passionate about the downtrodden, the underprivileged. So, when you look at the totality of her life, when you look at the totality of excellence she stands for, we thought that at 80 we should look back and say Julie thank you so much.

Young professionals were urged to learn from her professional ethics, standards, class and commitment to professionalism, excellence, integrity and courage in doing this job.

He added that that the first thing to take note about Chief Coker is passion.

The Baale of Ekotede, Ibadan and veteran broadcaster, Chief Taiwo Ayorinde, said Coker, a bundle of talents, “exhibited excellence in her presentation.”

Mrs. Shade Hastrup, who retired from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), described her “as an embodiment of excellence, humility and pleasantness in and outside.”

During the celebration of the ace screen queen, who clocked 80, The Screen Hugs Culture, was launched in her honour.

Miss Oyo State 2019/20, Faith Oladayo read news bulletin on behalf of the celebrant.

Many media and broadcast personalities were also present at the occasion to honour the icon.

Coker joined the Nigerian Television Service, (NTV, Lagos) now the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) where she retired as the Head of Presentations.

Retiring from NTA, the ace broadcaster ran TV magazine programmes called, Julie’s World, alongside a couple of children’s programmes. So, also let off her experiences by authoring some books, including children’s stories, which are given out as souvenirs.

A few weeks back, a San Diego media reported that the veteran broadcaster and culture aficionado has been appointed as the new president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) in the United States of America.

Coker is expected to help reposition San Diego’s tourism industry to get back on track in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

She came to San Diego after serving as the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Despite the challenging times, Coker said, she is excited to help San Diego’s tourism industry get back to business and cement its reputation as one of the country’s premier destinations.

She said: “I look forward to helping tell San Diego’s story to the world and attracting more visitors and more business to benefit its local economy.”

Coker has also left her mark in the Nigerian entertainment space, where in 1976, she released a highlife album, Ere Yon (Sweet Songs), followed by Tomorrow, in 1981. Her third and final studio album was God Bless Our Pope, released in 1982.


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