Toast to a Visual Icon, Pa Femi Akintobi


By Mary Nnah

It was a moment of joy for Pa Femi Akintobi and his immediate family as he was hosted to a grand reception in commemoration of his 78th birthday by the Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria (GPN) in Lagos recently.

GPN, a professional body born to give a new narrative to photojournalism, chose to identify and celebrate the septuagenarian for his advisory roles in the affairs of the profession.

The chairman of the GPN and Photo Editor of THISDAY Newspaper, Mr Abiodun Ajala, in his eulogy described Pa Akintobi as “a rare photojournalist, an inspiring leader and a true senior citizen of the country who lives and works by the principles of justice, fair play and Integrity”.

Ajala continued, “During our trials in the Machiavellian hands of our erstwhile colleagues in PJAN, he stood for truth, justice, fair play and ultimate good of photojournalism nationwide.

“For the pursuit of such noble ideals, he got insulted and blackmailed. Despite all the sabotaging distractions, he stood firm and threw his professional weight onto the cause of justice, fairness and team spirit.”

A member of GPN and Photo Editor, Independent Newspapers, Mr Kunle Ajayi attested to the celebrant’s great moral compass.

“Pa Akintobi is being celebrated because of his audacity to stand for truth when the group(GPN) was wrongly treated. I urge us to take a clue from Baba’s exemplary character and always stand for the truth.” he said.

A veteran and senior photojournalist, Mr Benedict Uwalaka, also in his remark commended Pa Akintobi as an astute achiever and worthy of emulation.

“I count it a privilege to be part of this gathering. Your integrity stands you out among your equals without an iota of doubt and this was proven during the pre/post-election period of PJAN that culminates in GPN.”

Pa Akintobi, is one of the founding fathers of the Photojournalists Association of Nigeria. He worked at Concord Newspapers and PUNCH. During his active years, Pa Akintobi documented the Afro beat legend, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti and also had a sizable cut in Nigeria football history.