By Ajibola Abayomi,
November 23, 2018.
Time, people often say heal the wound, but the scares will linker on forever.
Such is the situation with Sir Oluwole Falodun, a veteran journalist and the founder of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Nigeria.
At 76, the visually impaired journalist remains an icon of the Nigerian media.
As a committed unionist, he displayed the comradeship in him recently by donating copies of all his professional books to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, a body he joined in 1979.
Having put in 50 years into journalism, Falodun shared his thought with journalists at the November 2018 Congress of the Lagos State NUJ and recalled the ugly incident that took his sight.
“Though long and painful experienced, but I will tell you how it all happened. Sometimes I suffered eye-glaucoma.
“Then Governor of Lagos State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola offered to finance my surgery abroad but out of patriotism spirit, I said I want it done in Nigeria.
“Unfortunately, in the course of the operation at one of the hospitals on the Lagos Island, there was a surgical error. And that was all that made me remained totally blind since 1996” he said.
His pain however was that he was never allowed access to the democratically elected Governor Bola Tinubu who assumed leadership of the state in 1999 and thereafter pledged to meet his life needs.
He continued his story. “What do you mean? Several efforts were made after then. They were all fruitless. As a matter of fact, we wanted to take legal action against the hospital, it was the timely intervention of the then Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that stopped us.
“I remember him saying: “Egbon efi yan le. Court issue will prolong the matter and nothing may come out of it. He advised we should look for solutions outside litigation.
“He instantly gave me N100, 000 that day and asked me to list my requests for life to continue after the unfortunate incident.
“I did forward my requests to him but unfortunately I was denied access to him after then and throughout his regime I could not see him. Same thing, I could not access Governor Fashola, not until this current Governor Akinwunmi Ambode came on board.
“Based on the requests then, the Lagos State Governor Ambode gave me a house and paid for the school fees of my two children in the university and promised a cash gift of N1,000,000.00( One Million Naira only) out of which N500,000.00 had been given and I learnt the balance is being processed.
“I am indeed grateful for the Lagos state kind gestures and wish everyone involved the best of luck, while I look forward for the release of the outstanding money approved by the Governor.”
Profile of Falodun
According to a presentation by a veteran journalist,Mr Olabisi Hameed, the visually impaired Falodun had a successful career in journalism and public relations, both afforded him opportunity to influence a lot of government and non-government policies that added value to humanity.
As the secretary of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, he influenced the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1973.
As the secretary of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, he was among the delegates at the World Assembly of Youth in Manchester 1972, where the idea of the one year compulsory NYSC was mooted, thereafter the scheme was established in 1973.
Not only had that he used the Manchester conference to lobby for the election of a Nigerian, Chief Olu Fadairo, as the Vice Chairman of the World Assembly of Youth.
The 1995 Merit Award Winner of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations and former publicity Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) tells his story:
“I was born in Ilawe Ekiti in 1942. I attended the Christ School Ado and later proceeded to London School of Journalism. I was there between 1962 and 1965.
“I returned to Nigeria and became pioneer staff of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) as Library Officer. In 1967 I moved to Radio Nigeria. And in 1970, one of my classmates, Dipo Ajayi introduced me to Alhaji Babatunde Jose of the then Daily Times.
“This led to the introduction of my column “Waka About” a Pidgin English weekly write-up to address the growing readers in Pidgin English then. I wrote the column for many years
He became member of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations in 1980 and that of International Public relations (IPR) in 1982.
He was a Group Public Relations Manager of Bayer Nigeria Limited, also the first publicity secretary of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN).
He was the first Publicity Secretary of Lagos Anglican Diocesan Guild of Stewardships (LADGOS) and also a Publicity Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
As Publicity secretary of Anglican Communion, he influenced Dodan barracks through the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN) to make the government promulgate the St. Saviour’s Degree of 1990 during the regime of General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida.