By Dapo Akinrefon & Gabriel Olawale
NOTABLE Nigerians including Governor Kayode Fayemi, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; former Speaker of the House of Represenatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole; former Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Nike Akande; Mr. Ray Ekpu, media icons, Sunday, paid glowing tributes to General Manger and Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye on his 60th birthday celebration.
They described Mr. Adefaye as a man of honour and integrity during the celebration held at Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos.
The event attracted Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, former Speaker of the House of Represenatives, Mr. Dimeji Banjole the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch, Mr. Ray Ekpu; the Alapomu of Apomuland, Oba Adenekan Afolabi; Alara Odaye of Ara Ife, Oba Adebisis Layede; President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Mustapha Isah; President, Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Mr. Chris Isiguzo; chairman NUJ, Lagos Council, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi; member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Umar Bature; Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso and Senior Special Assistant to the President, Mr Louis Odion.
Others are former Commissioner for Information in Lagos State, Mr Steve Ayorinde; former Ogun State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Samuel; Managing Directors of Nation, Guardian, ThisDay, Leadership, New Telegraph and Daily Independent, Messrs Victor Ifijeh, Martins Oloja, Eniola Bello, Ayo Aminu, Azu Ishiekwene and Ted Iwere respectively.
Also present were former Managing Director of Daily Times, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi; former Lagos NUJ chairman, Dr. Qasim Akireti; former Provost of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, NIJ, Mr. Gbemiga Ogunleye; Managing Director of The Nigerian Xpress, Mr. Steve Nwosu and Mr Dare Babarinsa.
He stood by me – Ooni of Ife
In his remarks, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi described Adefaye as a man who stood by him when he was newly enthroned as the Ife monarch.
He said: “This is a double honour for the celebrant. Despite the fact he is a true son of the soil, he is simple in his approach and has a vast knowledge of happenings in this country. He is someone very dear to my heart because during my transition in life, he was there for me, he stood by me.
I have joy in my heart because I have been looking for ways to celebrate him. I asked him a couple of weeks ago, in modest and quiet style, but he said kabiyesi we are not going to do anything that much. I am happy and fulfilled that I am here, it gives me so much joy that I am here to celebrate you and give you this honour as you are 60.
“God that created you and preserved your life knows why He did so. Many people have died but you are alive, you are worth celebrating.”
Adefaye’s accomplishment speaks for him—Ray Ekpu
Chairman of the event, Mr. Ray Ekpu commended the former NGE president saying his accomplishment speaks for him.
Ekpu said: “I said to him, 60 speaks well on you and also doesn’t speak well on you, first because if you didn’t tell me, I would have said you are 50.
“On the other hand, it speaks well on you because you are the Editor-in-Chief and General Manager, Provost of the NIJ, former president of Nigeria Guild of Editors, among other positions, member Governing Council, University of Lagos.
“When you look at all this, he has humble family and when you look at this in addition with all the position he has served, he has done very well and 60, in terms of accomplishment, speaks well on him.”
He’s a teacher of journalist – Fayemi
Governor Fayemi, in his tributes, described Adefaye as a teacher of journalist.
He said: “I am here as a reporter. I belong to this profession; I belong to this profession that brought our brother Gbenga Adefaye to limelight. Many of us, it’s our profession that brought us to lime light. I am a product of his intensive investment over the years. We all know him as that reverend being in Vanguard newspaper and also a teacher of journalist which, for me, is the highest form of duty and beyond just writing history in hurry. It’s a pleasure for me to be here and I am also here on behalf of other governors who told me to represent them at this occasion. Adefaye is a good friend and I am happy as he celebrates his 60th birthday. It is important and I am glad it is a floor that is full of experience and success.
“I thank God for all that he has accomplished and more that he is going to accomplish. I also congratulate madam for standing behind him.”
Adefaye is high priest of media cabal – Ishiekwene
Also speaking, Managing Director of Leadership Newspaper, Mr. Ishiekwene, described Adefaye as the high priest of the media cabal.
He said: “Some of us who know him, know that there is a cabal in the media and some of us who know that the celebrant is the high priest of media cabal. I will like to say that it’s a great honour for me to be here. We had a dinner for him in Abuja which was hosted by the guild. He has accomplished so much in the industry and I wish him more accomplishments.
“He has a depth of compassion and insight for the profession, I have worked with him for the past 25 years and watched him under pressure. He maintains his confidence and when you are in difficulties, and you need a word of advice, he has a kind word to say to you.
He has devoted his life and everything to the service of the profession and we are very grateful.
“We thank his wife, for understanding and on behalf of his colleague I will like to thank Mrs Adefaye for the work she has done over the years and the entire family.”
He’s man of honour and integrity – Akande
Also paying glowing tributes, former Minister of Investment, Mrs Akande commended Adefaye for taking Vanguard to a high level.
She said: “He is a hardworking man, a man that has taken Vanguard to a very high level, I have known him for many years, he is a man of honour and integrity.”
Sam Amuka remains my role model – Gbenga Adefaye
In an emotional remark, the celebrant, Mr. Adefaye commended his wife, Vanguard Publisher and organisers for giving him a benefiting birthday.
He said: “I celebrate birthdays for my kids from ages 1-7 but subsequent birthdays, I drove them to the nearest bookshop and bought books for them. It is sad that we are in an era where people no longer read. So, I make it a point of duty for them to read.
“As regards birthday celebrations, I have a role model in Mr. Sam Amuka, the chairman and Publisher of Vanguard newspaper. At every of his birthday, he disappears, he cares less about birthday celebration. “This birthday is a coup against me and they were able to do because of coronavirus that prevented me from travelling abroad. Ordinarily, I travel abroad during my birthdays but because of coronavirus, I decided to stay back.
“The Editor of Vanguard newspapers, Mr. Eze Anaba and my wife, planned the birthday. I am grateful to Vanguard Media Limited, my family, friends and well-wishers.
“Again, I am grateful to my chairman, Uncle Sam. Vanguard has always been my family since 1986 and since then, I have been grateful. It is not about money but the satisfaction. I will remember today for the rest of my life.”