Cerebral Journalist, Raheem Akingbolu Shares The Good News @50


Award-winning journalist, Raheem Akingbolu, today, July 11, clocks 50th.


To celebrate the special day, the cerebral writer, whose image, views and reports are highly respected across all spheres has decided to share his memoirs with Nigerians.


Daily Bells brings to you the good news from the man popularly known as RHM.







Today, I have brought good news; my news and my testimony. On July 11, 2021, yours sincerely will be 50. Did I hear you wish me a happy birthday in advance? Perhaps this is my biggest news ever. Yes, it is. It means so much to me because of the hurdles I have crossed in the last five decades.


Before going into the nitty-gritty of my story, it will be laxity on my part if I fail to show appreciation, first to God; my God, our creator, who in his cornucopia of mercy has given me the grace to witness this day. Though a few days away, I pray and I pray I witness it.


My father was a great man…


My regret: my parents are not here again to be part of this historical feat–they died exactly six years ago. My father, Late Chief Sheu Jejelola Akingbolu, the Seriki Musulumi of Aramoko Ekiti was a great man. He loved God. He loved his family. He loved his children. He served God and he served humanity. He was there for us –his children throughout. Though a farmer and community leader, my father dined and wined with those that mattered in my community and knew early what education could do. After each of such meetings, Chief, as we used to call him, would come home to counsel us on life and the need for us to know the son of whom we were.


According to him, if the criteria for the appointment of commissioner of Agriculture, for instance, were based on the length of one’s farmland, perhaps he would have been considered long before some of us were born. But because of the place of education in modern governance, the local farmers were left out in the selection process, my father would reckon. For this reason, my father wanted his children to go to school and joined the ‘big leagues’ ,the league of the elites and decision makers. As a result of his love for education, he once hired a local teacher to teach him how to read and write. He learnt it the hard way but it was too late.


Like a man who saw tomorrow, my father prophesized greatness into our lives and urged us to pray well and work hard to actualize his wish for us. His wish was that we sustained his legacy. In Aramoko Ekiti, our place of birth and among some Ekiti/Ondo Muslim elites, Chief Seriki Aramoko was known and regarded as a peace maker. He played his role well and left a legacy of a man who gave his all to community service. That was the man who nurtured me…Okankokoki Omo Ulugbo.


Battle with measles…


However, if my father instilled in me the necessary behavioral etiquettes and native wisdom that were necessary for a child to succeed, my mother sacrificed all she had so I could live. My mother, Raliat Ige-Adubi Akingbolu, started well, she had a sizable shop where she sold household items before I was born. Then the unexpected happened. I was afflicted with measles during the formative years and was about becoming a cripple. That was how my late mother embarked on the tortuous journey to save her innocent kid. Within two years, the journey had taken her round almost all the known hospitals in the then Ondo State, yet the legs remained twisted. Then a doctor suggested to her, albeit reluctantly, that the only option was to take me to The University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan. The doctor was reluctant because he didn’t know where my peasant farmer father and a woman who was just a petty trader could get money required to foot the hospital bill. A week after the advice was given; my mother left home to meet the doctor and informed him of her determination to embark on the journey. She implored the medical practitioner to give her details on how to go about it. He obliged. The helpless woman returned to her husband that he should contact his cousin, Mrs Adunola Richard, who was then living in Ibadan. Curiously, my father probed her further to know why she wanted her sister’s contact. It was then she informed the then newly installed Seriki that she had concluded to take his son to UCH. My father was speechless, thinking of money but my mother said if it remained for her to sell her father’s house and all she had in shop and at home, she would shoulder the responsibility. That was where the second stage of the rescue mission continued. For years, she was going to and fro UCH. By the time the whole treatment would be concluded, her shop was gone, her personal belongings were gone. At the end, I returned from Ibadan a complete boy but with scars on my leg, no thanks to the Plaster of Paris (POP) that I wore like trousers for a long time. I always scratched it with different types of sharp objects available. On my final arrival, my name was changed by some funny women in the community who gave me different appellations. Of all, the one that aptly told the story and stuck until I became an adult was ‘Orowo ra ese nibadan’ (One who was able to get an artificial leg in Ibadan).



Primary School Enrolment @ 7…


By the time I would complete the treatment, all my age mates had all enrolled in various primary schools. After my 7th birthday in 1978, I was considered fit to face the rigor and was enrolled in primary school. I got to Ansar-U-Deen Pry School, Aramoko Ekiti as a young pupil whose mind was already opened. I was ready to learn and eager to cover the ground to meet up with my age mates. Some of them had been enrolled when they were age five and six but were still observing what we know in the local parlance then as ‘Jele o sinmi’. I came in to challenge them and in a few weeks, I proved my mettle. Our class teacher in Primary 1A, the late Mr. Ajetomobi, after due consultation made me the Class Captain. By the end of the term, I came first. This feat was maintained, from pry 1 to six and I was class captain from Pry 1-5. By the time I got to primary six, the teachers were already waiting for me to assume office as the senior prefect and that was what happened. I became the toast of all the teachers, especially my Class Teacher in primary six, Mr. Sanmi Oke, from Iropora Ekiti, who later became a Reverend Canon in the Ekiti Anglican Communion. He died a few years ago as a venerable. Looking back, I can confidently say that the fatherly roles played by the various teachers modeled and shaped my life and those of others. Today, I’m happy that the class of 1984 in AUD has produced prominent people in academia, banking, legal profession, politics, business and many other endeavours. May the souls of Oke, Ajemobi and other teachers, who God used to shape our destinies at that early stage rest in peace! Some of my mates then were; Rufai Shittu, a political leader in Ekiti, who served as Councilor in my ward between 1999 and 2003, Sesan Ayodeji, (the School Janitor), now a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Kabir Akingbolu, my brother, now a Lawyer, Tajudeen Sheu, an Economist and Banker and a host of others. But for Rev. Oke and others, perhaps these people and yours sincerely would have remained half-baked men or palm wine tappers in Ekiti.



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Going back to AUD…


Regrettably, the same school, established as far back as 1946 and had nurtured many people who are now leaders in their respective fields., has almost been abandoned by its old boys and girls. Of course, Ekiti State Government has played its role and played it well but the old students can complement the effort.


Last year, I was introduced to the current Headmistress of the school as an old boy at a function and she impressed on me the need for the old students to look back and contribute their quotas to the ‘hen that laid the golden egg’.


However, to commemorate my 50th birthday, I have decided to seek the support of the government, organisations and individuals, especially you to remodel the school hall.


Besides, the occasion will also be used to recognize and present appreciation gifts to some of my known former teachers (during my secondary and pry schools) days. Of course, the widows of Rev. Canon Oke and Mr. Ajetomobi would also be appreciated.


*Iwaro Ratibi Mosque will receive a cash prize in memory of my late father, who was the Mosque’s Imam for decades.


*10 widows in Aramoko community will be recognized and lifted in memory of my mother


*Another 10 widows in Aramoko will be lifted in honour of my darling wife who has remained steadfast in her support for me since our path crossed two decades ago.


*Aramoko Central Mosque will also get a gift in memory of the late Imam Ayilara who named me ‘Abdulraheem’ in 197I.


*My former Principal at the District Commercial Secondary School will be recognized and honoured with an appreciative gift.


*Christ Apostolic Church, Aramoko will also get a gift in honour of another former teacher and mother figure, Prophetess E.0 Oyejide for the role she played when I was in Secondary School.


*Leah Sharibu, the young School girl from Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, who has remained in Boko Haram captivity for years will be recognized as a heroine of our generation and a gift will be sent to her parents through the Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Yobe State chapter.


Dear sir, you receive this letter because I know your value and the value you have added to my life. I know you will be delighted to celebrate with me and make this project a reality. To me, it looks big but I have belief in God and in you that you will always support me.


It was rough at the beginning. I have hawked on the street. I have been a gardener. I was once a Yoruba oral poet, moving from one party to the other to entertain people. I was a teacher. I’m now a Journalist.



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However, I give God all the glory because He has been faithful to me as a reporter. I have traversed almost all the continents of the world. I have won laurels. I have acquired local and international training. I have met people, yes; prominent ones for that matter. You are one of them and I must admit that my relationship with you has helped my growth, professionally and otherwise.


On this note, it is my wish that my 50th birthday should not just go without touching lives as well as giving back to the society, hence, my decision to pick my alma mata as a memorable project.


Finally, I hereby invite you to my 50th year’s birthday lecture and the flag off of the remodeling of the Ansa-U-Deen Pry School Hall on Thursday 22, July, 2021. The time of the event is 1pm.



The theme of the lecture is; Art of Giving Back: The Roles of Individuals in Nation Building.



Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, Managing Director, Deux Project Limited, will chair the event, while the Principal of Christ School, Ado Ekiti, Rev. Canon Rotimi Oso, will deliver the lecture.



Goodwill messages will be delivered both physically and via zoom by notable figures in the media and the country’s marketing communications industry.



Yours sincerely,

Raheem Akingbolu


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