Capturing A Sojourn in Journalism, Politics

Yinka Olatunbosun

Olufemi Oluwole’s autobiography, ‘The Acts of Men,’ tells the story of a man who is determined to succeed against all odds. The vehicle through which he achieved his dream is journalism. The author opens the 20-chapter book with an article he wrote in the Punch Newspaper on October 11, 2005, entitled, ‘Indigeneship by Birth and Elections,’ where he highlighted the problem of place of origin common around election period.

In the article, he opens the storytelling with the case of his principal, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, who also faced the same problem during his electoral campaign period in 2003. Through his writings, Oluwole questions the yardstick for judging one’s ancestry especially when such a person has made a lifetime contribution to another community.

This article, which gives an insight into Oluwole’s brand of investigative/developmental journalism, showcases the kind of journalist he is. The second chapter of the book takes the reader back to how he joined The Source magazine by chance, despite the fact that he only followed a friend, Adeola Akinremi, for an interview at the magazine. However, while at The Source magazine, he informed him that anyone could actually come for the interview. That was a period when the newspaper he worked for, Otunba Segun Runsewe’s National Network Newspapers had just folded up. 

He walks his readers back to his secondary school days where he highlights his love for drawing and writing, and other habits that shaped his character formation. Later on in the narrative which is steeped in survivalist themes, he revealed how television programming of the pre-internet era impacted his worldview.

Further, he recounts vividly the programmes during those periods and how they formed his worldview. His rare encounter with Dr. Ore Falomo, the personal physician to Chief MKO Abiola, and Mr Kola Abiola, on June 5, 1996, a day after the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. In the book, he also documents his meeting which the human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Further, he described the role played by Gani’s son, Mohammed, in facilitating the release of his editor at New Treasurer, Sonde Abbah from the grip of the State Security Services (SSS) after the Obasanjo story, while the Head of Chambers, Edwin Anikwen facilitated his own release after he was brought in for questioning.

The role the author and Matthias Okubo played in saving the Alliance for Democracy (AD) government of Senator Bola Tinubu, the Lagos State governor then, from the onslaught of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2003 election was also brought to the fore in the book.

The author, in this chapter, writes on specific instances he gained knowledge through his closeness to the corridors of powers, especially with Tinubu’s many crises, power sharing formula, Marwa’s legacies, Obasanjo’s seizure of Lagos LG funds, among others.

In a later chapter, he writes on how he visited Beko Ransome-Kuti’s abode alongside Gbenga Soloki as well as his dark-humoured moment at Fela’s Kalakuta Shrine. The book, which aptly captures Oluwole’s past, especially his sojourn in journalism and politics, is recommended for people who love easy reads particularly biographies. It is an important reference book for journalists and political aides to learn the ropes of the profession and understand the need to preserve humanity as well as personal integrity.

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