Lanre Issa – Oniru is A Year Older

After my youth service, I remained in Abuja hoping that something will come up. I had received very positive recommendations, including written ones from my bosses at the then National Electoral Commission, the percusor to the present Independent National Electoral Commission so I had high hopes that I would pick a job earlier than I thought. In fact the late Steve Osemeke, the long serving Director of Public Affairs of of INEC had strongly recommended me for employment. Somehow, the employment never came.

Chuks Okocha believed in me and encouraged me to pick up a career in journalism. He looked out for opportunities for me and even paid my fare to attend an interview in Lagos. I am sure that Chuks has forgotten this aspect of his generosity to me. I remain eternally grateful.

While I was still waiting and hoping for a Job, a certain young man, Lanre Issa-Onilu was transferred by Herald Newspapers to head it’s Abuja office. He was part of the repositioning of the Kwara state government owned newspaper initiated by Raheem Adedoyin. Lanre Issa-Onilu wanted a young reporter that would be his foot soldier. Unanimously all the big boys in journalism in Abuja then — Chuks Okocha, Chuks Ohuegbe, Faruk Adejoh-Audu, Nosike Ogbuenyi, Sufuyan Ojeifo, Biodun Adeniyi, Femi Ojewuyi and others- recommended me. That was how I got my first job. My salary then was N1,930 monthly.

Oga Lanre believed in me. He put me thru basic news writing. He sent me to Jos to cover the Diya coup trial. That buoyed my confidence. It set me on a strong footing.

This is wishing oga Lanre Issa-Onilu a happy birthday. May God grant you your wishes.

By Ben Agande

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