Muyiwa Akintunde has had a beautiful career in Journalism. He has also had a fulfilling experience in Public Relations practice. He is a thorough bred professional to the core. No wonder he was able to distinguish himself.
The big news is that he is 60. And he is quite happy about the landmark age. He spoke recently about his new life at 60.
Below are excerpts of the interview.
How do you feel at 60?
I feel great and grateful to God for making me see this milestone that created doubts in my mind. Now more than even before I believe that God has made the worst to be over. And I therefore more committed to humanity.
What are the lessons you have learnt?
I live my life to trust people even to a fault. It has cost me so much in many circumstances. But if I have to live my life all over again, I will live it the same way.
Life has also taught me to make haste but with caution. I will strive not to depart from that line.
Do you feel accomplished?
Accomplishment is relative. But I feel fulfilled in the career path I chose. I chose journalism, journalism didn’t choose me. And I applied myself to the profession as much as God gave me the grace to.
When I was done with the part of my life, I again make another choice not foisted on me: public relations. I like to apply myself to everything I do. I’m still work-in-progress in the profession. It can only get better.
Why did you go into Journalism? What year?
I fell in love with the writings of Allah Dey (Alade Odunewu), John West (Lateef Jakande), among others right from my years at Lagos City College, Yaba, Lagos. I invested in buying the most popular newspaper then. And my interest got fired such that I didn’t think of any other career except journalism.
My journalism career started first as an intern for six weeks at The Guardian in 1985 when I was a journalism student at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. Then I returned to that newspaper having completed my two-year Diploma course in 1986. I became a freelance reporter in Port Harcourt, hosted by my big brother, Sir John Olufunso Aiku. I was eventually employed as a Reporter in 1987.
Tell us a bit about your career….
As an intern with The Guardian in 1985, I had the privilege of being paired with judicial reporters Kunle Sanyaolu and Funke Doherty (now Mrs. Wole Soyinka).
Both of them were assigned to cover the Tribunals that probed the Second Republic politicians. They found the first few copies I filed good enough to entrust me to cover the afternoon sessions of the tribunals.
I had several bylines that when I returned to school for my final years, I was well celebrated. I was perhaps the first NIJ student that would have a byline in that revered newspaper.
But that didn’t earn me immediate employment at The Guardian when I returned there after my studies. I was advised to freelance for six weeks and told to pick a state where the newspaper didn’t have a state correspondent
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Ebute Meta, Lagos. According to my parents, as a toddler, I locked myself in their upper floor room and had to be ingeniously rescued by neighbours. That made my mother to prevail on her husband to return to Ijaiye Street where they had previously lived.
I grew up in Mushin and had my primary school education at All Saints Anglican School at Montgomery Road, Yaba and later Lagos City College, also in Yaba.
What has changed about you? What has not changed?
I can’t stop trusting people no matter how many times I am either disappointed or betrayed. I believe that a relationship can’t exist without trust.
Nothing has changed except that I want to devote more time and resources to doing good to the fellow man.
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