In this piece, ISMAILA UBA extols the virtues of former Ondo State Commissioner for Information and a House of Representatives aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Idanre/Ifedore Constituency, Kayode Akinmade, who clocks 51 today.
This is the day that the Lord has made and we shall rejoice in it. Kayode Akinmade, quintessential journalist, information manager and technocrat, turns 51, and the drums are being rolled out in willing numbers.The man Kayode Akinmade means different thing to different people. To many,Akinmade is a former Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy and to others he is just an accomplished journalist and PR guru. But to us in the National Assembly and in particular, Office of the Hon. Speaker, he is someone more than just a boss. In the few years when he served as the Special Adviser to Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, he left indelible landmarks. He is a father figure and mentor who has left indelible marks in the media Department and indeed the House of Representatives.
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Akinmade during his stint in the office of the then Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole between 2007 and 2010. I was then the Principal Information officer in the Speaker’s Office, representing the bureaucratic wing of NASS in the media Department. Though he spent barely three years in the office, the effect he had, indeed the structure he laid, has since been adopted and continually implemented by the Media Teams of successive Honourable Speakers.
Within just three months of his arrival to the Media Unit of the office of the Honourable Speaker, Akinmade had put in place strategies that positively boosted the image of the Honourable Speaker, and by extension, the House of Representatives. He was able to galvanise each and every member of the Media Unit to be productive and excel through personal contact and practical motivation. And this is not forgetting some of us were core civil servants with a predictable mentality and attitude to duty we deemed overbearing.
He was the first S. A. Media to involve students on Industrial Attachment, N.Y.S.C members, as well as other career or political aides within the unit in developing articles, opinions and write-ups on several House resolutions and actions which in turn helped in boosting the image of the Honourable Speaker and that of the 6th House of Representatives. Indeed, he led from the front.
I still recall that Akinmade came in at a very difficult period when the House of Representatives was struggling to maintain a good and credible public image, as it was just arising from the Hon. Patricia Eteh leadership saga. But as an experienced journalist and reputable political editor, he quickly settled down for business, came up with a comprehensive blueprint and sure-footed measures and mixed them up with his journalistic acumen to rebuild a positive image and restore the integrity of the House.
When Speaker Bankole came up with the “Follow the Money” and Input-output-outcome mantras, it was Akinmade’s dexterity and strategy that helped to transform these mantras into popular mechanisms of efficient oversight at the Committee level in the House of Representatives through ceaseless articles and features. Needless to say it was adequately hyped by the Special Adviser, Media. The drive eventually led to the recovery of huge unutilised and ideal government funds. At a point in time, the then President Umaru Musa Yar’adua had to personally call Speaker Bankole to acknowledge and commend the Speaker’s Media team for doing what the late President described as a commendable and patriotic job.
A leader extraordinaire, Akinmade always knew how to bring out the best in all members of his team, no matter the level or cadre of the individual. And to all, he accorded the necessary level of respect, even though he was in charge. His humility didn’t just speak, it screamed! I learnt and still continue to learn a lot form this great boss, big brother and friend of mine, my mentor in so many ways.
Akinmade came to the Office of the Honourable Speaker and made instant friends and comrades within the entire Units in the Office of the Speaker. And even after many Regimes have come and gone, those who knew him, and those who didn’t get to meet him all alike are still a washed with the positive testimony due to the legacy and touch he left behind. He is a man who never portrayed pride of accomplishment. Indeed his sense of humility was a thing of legend.
Born on January 9, 1967, Akinmade attended Christ Nursery and Primary School, Ado-Ekiti in present-day Ekiti State from 1972 to 1977. Between 1977 and 1983, he attended Oluorogbo Grammar School, Akure, Ondo State, where he earned his West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE). For his tertiary education, he attended the Federal School of Arts and Science, Ondo, between 1985 and 1987, proceeding to earn a Bachelor of Arts Honours in English Language at the Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti (OSUA), now Ekiti State University (EKSU), in 1992. Not one to rest one his oars, Akinmade proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, where he earned a post-graduate diploma in Journalism.
Next, he headed to the University of Lagos where, between 2003 and 2004, he studied for his Master of Arts degree in Public and International Affairs. His academic and leadership skills were further sharpened at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, USA, where he earned a Certificate in Crisis and Conflict Management. Throughout his educationalcareer, Akinmade has been driven by the quest to make his immediate environment a better place, firmly believing that a cardinal goal of the quest for knowledge is problem-solving.