News Analysis

Life and Times of Prince Atilade Olatokunbo Atoyebi

 Talk of any field of human endeavours anywhere in the world, names of Nigerians will not miss out.

Journalism, being one of the fields, is a noble profession that has records of brilliant and dedicated brains in Nigeria. Among those that have made remarkable impacts, especially in the area of radio broadcasting is prince Atilade Olatokunbo Atoyebi.

Born in the ancient town of Ogbomosho in April, 1948, into the royal family of Onpetu of Ijeruland, Oba Solomon Ladeji Atoyebi, Atilade radiated royalty.

Young Atilade began his educational pursuits at Ijeru Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso after which he attended Fiditi Grammar School and Ogbomoso Grammar School before proceeding to the prestigious university of Lagos where he studied Mass Communication and finished in 1972 as the best graduating student in the department, which earned him the Daily Times of Nigeria prize of 2-week facility tour of the United Kingdom.

The zeal to be a force to reckon with in his chosen profession spurred Prince Atoyebi to have his Master programme in Journalism at University of Wisconsin, USA after which he advanced his career with Management Training in Public Corporations and Enterprises at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, ASCON, Badagry.

Prince Atoyebi became a graduate at the age of 24, a feat very rare at that period and after a brief stay as an information officer with Federal Ministry of Information joined the service of Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC now Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN.

Ati-Ato or Atila as fondly called made remarkable impacts in FRCN where he rose through the ranks to become the Executive Director, FRCN Lagos National Station for 6 years after which he was transferred back home, making him the last to hold the position of Executive Director in Ibadan National Station.

He bowed out of service in 2008, after 35 years of meritorious contributions.

Prince Atoyebi, an achiever, a prolific writer and a professional to the core, famous for his news analysis write ups in the 80s, contributed tremendously to the establishment of many radio stations among them are radio Nigeria’s Treasure FM, Port Harcourt, Amuludun FM, Ibadan, and the then Choice FM, Ikeja as well as Ajilete FM, Ogbomoso, Oke-Ogun FM in Oyo north, Impact Business Radio, Ibadan and Unilag FM.

At a time when many staff still belonged to analogue era, he initiated the integration of his core interest, information and communications technology, ICT into the operations of Radio Nigeria. For that initiative, he was given the privilege of serving as the chairman of the committee that launched Radio Nigeria into the internet. In fact, the first cyber cafe for FRCN, Ibadan National Station was established by Prince Atoyebi in 2008.

According to a maxim, a gold fish has no hiding place, it was therefore not surprising that on his retirement in 2008, Prince Atilade Atoyebi was appointed as Executive Chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State where he made indelible impact.

Prince Atoyebi also served as a member of the Federal Government committee that produced the current National Policy on Information.

Unlike some chief executives who use their power to inflict hardship on their subordinates, for Prince Atoyebi, as executive director, advancing the cause of the workforce was his top priority.

He travelled far and wide to impart knowledge, especially broadcast journalism, a profession which he spent all his productive life to master.

Prince Atoyebi never detached from his source, Ogbomosho as he played active roles in the development of the town. He was a member of Ogbomoso Recreation Club and Special Adviser/ Trustee of Ogbomosho Community Initiative, which focused on turning miscreants in the town to responsible and productive citizens.

Who really will forget you, Prince Atoyebi? Are we talking of immediate family to whom you were  a source of hope and aspirations or the extended family members who have succeeded from your words of admonition or groomed broadcasters who are thriving from your pool of knowledge or friends who are still relevant based on your connections?

As the pen drops, the ink dries and the mouth closes while heaven opens to receive a doyen of journalism, prince Atilade Olatokunbo Atoyebi has successfully etched his name in the sand of history and shall forever be remembered for his impactful life.

Ridwan Fasasi

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