Dickson Olubunmi Akinwumi, former private secretary to Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s wife, Mrs. HID Awolowo, shares his experience with the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, in this interview. Dickson who worked for the Awolowo matriarch between 1990 and 1993 now publishes an online brand magazine, brandcampaign.com.ng, and the print version, Brandcampaign magazine. Excerpt…
Could you tell us your parental background, youth days and school life?
I was born at Ile Abiye Hospital in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, January 19, 1967. My father, Michael Akinwumi , the Odofin hails from Ipole Iloro-Ekiti in Ekiti West local government area of Ekiti State while my mother, Florence hails from Ado Ekiti. So, I am a full blooded Ekiti boy who went to secondary school at Annunciation College, Ikere-Ekiti. I later studied Sociology at Ondo State University of Ado Ekiti, graduated in 1989, after which I went to Ezeagbogu Ezinihite in Imo State for my National Youths Service Corps programme.
How was life after service and what did you do next?
I was back home looking for job in 1990 until providence smiled on me through my first cousin, Olufemi Famuyibo who linked me with two people I would ever cherish in life, Folu Olamiti and Biodun Oluwole who were senior editors with The Tribune newspapers then and found me suitable to work as Private and Press Secretary to Mama HID Awolowo, the Chairman of African Newspapers of Nigeria. I was employed in November 1990 till 1993 when I had to go for my Post Graduate Diploma Course in Journalism at Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Lagos between 1993 and June 1994. While at Nigerian Institute of Journalism, I also worked as a senior reporter with the defunct The Republic Newspaper as a Transport beat anchor between November 1993 and June 1994.
Share your experience as private secretary to the wife of late Obafemi Awolowo?
It was both interesting and challenging working with an elderly woman. I was 23 years old working with a 77-year old woman. Interestingly, I met several prominent personalities and loved by everyone in the town of Ikenne Remo, the home of the Awolowos. It was challenging because I was so busy working with a woman who would not sleep till late in the night, receiving visitors and solving problems or trying issues for many who came from near and far. Kings, presidents, ambassadors, political leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, bourgeois, proletariats, students and artisans were always coming to visit Mama and I had to attend to them. Also challenging was that Mama Awolowo was too strict. I was taught to be disciplined and humble in life. I learnt from Mama how to love a spouse. Even after death, Mama showed love to Papa Obafemi Awolowo through prayers and care for his children and property.
Why did you leave Awolowo house after three years and where did you later move to?
I was a very young man who was very adventurous. I resigned to pursue my Post Graduate course in Journalism. After my course, I was also helped again by Mr Folu Olamiti to work with Babu Akinbolola and Kole Ademulegun as Media Link Outdoor Advertising Limited, Ilupeju, Lagos in 1995. I worked there till December 1997 and had to move to some other media houses.
Having worked in a political dynasty, did you ever attempt to join politics?
All these years, I have been involved in politics but not actively until 2004 when I aspired to represent the people of Ado- Ekiti in the state House of Assembly, but it didn’t work out. I later moved to Lagos in 2008 to join my friend and brother, John Ajayi who publishes Marketing Edge Magazine in Lagos as Executive Editor. I left in 2011 to establish my own Magazine, Brandcampaign Magazine Nigeria and Brandcampaign.com.ng which are among the most respected and widely read in the industry. Fortunately, I am one of the few good brands and marketing writers in Nigeria having won the Media Nite out awards in 2015 and Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) best brand journalist award in 2016.
What is your philosophy about life, role models in life and best books ever read?
Dickson Olubunmi Akinwumi :Be patient. Be disciplined. Be humble. My best books are 48 laws of power by Robert Green. My role models are Folu Olamiti for his humility and Mandela, Obafemi Awolowo and Martin Luther King for their services to humanity.
Tell us about your family
I’m happily married and blessed with children.