HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KAYODE AKINMADE, THE INFORMATION MANAGER PER EXCELLENCE.
"The real worth of every individual lies in his forte."
Life offers man and woman opportunities. These provide us avenues to show our hidden potentials and true colours. Leadership position exposes man as it brings to the fore his temperament, managerial prowess as well as ability to withstand and contain pressure.
Position also exposes the level of greed in us. Position not only promotes; it equally destroys man's name. It depends on how he allows the position to get into his head. It is up to him; use it to serve or butter his own bread at the expense of others.
Kayode Akinmade's rising profile as a trust worthy image maker is becoming a standard yardstick for public relations practitioners and students. Since he was appointed Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, his services has continued to be sought after. That was between 2007 and 2009. Shortly after, he became the Commissioner for Information in Ondo State. And now, he is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Ogun State. He had served as as a Consultant on Media to Governor Dapo Abiodun. Recently, a journalist from Abeokuta told me that Akinmade has bridged the hitherto existing gap between journalists and the Governor. According to him, journalists in the state are happy with his unique style of public relations. A gold fish has no hiding place
Come to think of it, the Idanre-born Media Strategist hardly talks or writes. This nature has made him somehow anonymous. I am sure not many outside media practitioners know him nor his name. Known or not, his style is working as evident in his track records. We might not be familiar with what Kayode Akinmade has done or is doing in Lagos, Abuja or Abeokuta, but we saw him at his elements in Ondo State from 2011-2017.
When Ayo Ayintete of blessed memory told me in confidence late 2010 that Governor Mimiko would soon rejig his Information team, I did not take him serious. He said emphatically,
'Egbon Kayode Akinmade is going to replace Ranti Akerele.' I blurted, 'you mean Yellowman?'
Ayo: You know him? That is the name his friends of decades call him.
I: Let me call him.
Ayo was surprised to know that I knew him that much. Sincerely, even after divulgin so much information about who and who worked in the information machinery of Mimiko while in Abuja, I was not convinced that Akinmade was that close to Iroko.
Six months after that conversation, Yellowman was saddled with the responsibility of managing information inflow and outflow in Ondo State. Under his watch, for the first and hopefully, it would not be the last time, the Ministry of Information came alive. The Ministry had its program packaged in form of news documentary shown on national television houses- AIT, CHANNELS and TVC. Everything about the State was beamed to the world on a weekly basis through the Caring Heart program. It was used to show the world that Ondo State was working.
Akinmade is not the type of leader that thrives on rumour or character assassination. Some mischief makers visited and told him that he should not trust the leader and head of the team Williams Olufunmi. Their reason? He worked with the former deputy governor. So, he is an opposition party member. Akinmade gave Olufunmi the benefit of doubt. He provided the team with all it needed to make the program thrive: a modern day studio, cameras, editing equipments and funds. All we were seeing on television was put together, cooked and served in State Ministry of Information building at Alagbaka. The team of Nike Busari, Babatunde Yakubu, Seun Adetola, Bode Akinwumi, Adeola Adeniyi and Debbie Fumilayo was ubiquitous; they went after government programs like news hounds. Backed by cameramen and Studio editors of Man Bio, Tope Oyinkolade and Michael Olaniyi, Ministry of Information was flying the flag of the state higher than ever before. It was a golden era of the Ministry. When an impressed Governor Mimiko asked him to bring the names of temporary workers among the Caring Heart squad, Akinmade neither added or replaced any. He is that honest.
Kayode Akinmade mastery did not stop there. The print media was not neglected or abandoned. National dailies were carried along too. Backed by a thoroughbred professional journalist-friend as Special Adviser, Femi Adepoju, and Dayo Akindele as Press Officer, every government event was featured in national dailies. He had a crack team. Articles about the government were neither in short supply.
Magazines were being produced regularly. Its doubtful if any administration has shunned out the quantum of publications produced under Akinmade in the state. Public Relations goes beyond being seen on television or heard on Radio. It is not about the man writing in newspapers. It is coordinating and co-opting, getting the right people-round pegs on round holes, to get the job done and thereby produce results as evidence.
Yellowman's style of leadership was to live and let others live. He did not label funds for Media Relatìons, "my money" neither did he spend it as such. The money went round from media practitioners, to the management, staff and reporters as well. A centally-deployed officer told me. "Kayode Akinmadè is a selfless leader. He charged the PS and DIS to make sure I and others benefit from whatever he made available. You know I am a political office holder. I will leave the scene for you. If you do not treat your people well, you will meet again. I was carried along throughout his time."
With Akinmade in charge, the State Ministry of Information was a beehive of activities.
If you are looking for an individual, who hardly loses his temper, Yellowman is the one. An incident occurred that made a journalist working at OSRC have a lot of respect for him. He did a report and it was misinterpreted to the Governor, who asked Akinmade to find out. A meeting was fixed for an hotel in Ijapo. Akinmade, accompanied by Ladi Akeredolu Ale, the GM got there, only to meet the "accused" having a drink.
Akinmade said jokingly, "GM, look at this man about to be dealt with having a drink. He is not troubled at all."
The guy stood up and greeted the duo.
Kayode Akinmade added, "my brother, dont get disturbed. I saw the report. There is nothing offensive there. I have told Mr. Governor. Enjoy yourself. You have nothing to fear."
When they were parting, the journalist got a monetary gift; big one for transportation.
Akinmade has always been a behind-the-scene guy. In those days at Federal School of Arts and Science, Ondo (FSASON), he was a prominent member of the New and Current Affairs (NECAS). He was one of the exco members. Always busy organising and putting things together, but never showed his face. Only we inner caucus members knew his input into our programs.
Akinmade's physical attribute betrays his innate qualities. He does not come to you as a colourful man, not in any way. In reality, he lacks charm, or so he seems. He talks as if the words are heavy to utter. However, what he has upstairs rubbished his outward almost-dour look. The inner Akinmade is mild, yet, full of ideas, passionate, superb manager and results-oriented. Upon finishing his Secondary School at Omooluorogbo Grammar School, Akure, he headed for FSASON for his Advance level papers. Thereafter, he was admitted at the Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti ( now Ekiti State University) for his university education. He was at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) to horn his News writing skills. Kayode Akinmade has been a reporter at Lagos Governor's Office. He became a political page editor. Yellowman was also part of the Tempo newspaper team that battled the military to a standstill in the 90s.
His mantra is, "manage information well. Whenever a politician or government is becoming unpopular, it is because of poor information management."
Come to think of it, Kayode Akinmade has proven that information is supposed to be managed and managed well. He did it here and how well he did it! He is strutting his stuff today in Ogun State. His system has become a standard for others to follow. Commissioners and Press Secretaries have been coming to seek his advise and get his blueprint. And those who applied it are reaping bountiful results and the respect of their principals.
The proof of pudding is in the eating, isnt it?
Happy birthday, Kayode Akinmade, the doyen of Public Relations, a Communications guru like no other.