By Ozumi Abdul
Unlike other climes, where heroes and icons are celebrated, honoured, revered and venerated during their lifetimes, in Nigeria, ours seems to be the complete and apt reverse.
Heroes are in deed are not honoured in their homelands, and Nigeria is a testament to that.
We hypocritically wait for them die before we sing their praise songs,pay posthumous homages and shower encomiums on them when they are gone; when we lose them, when it’s already too late for our proverbial snakes to cry when the heads are off.
Little wonder, Nigerian Reggae-dancehall singer, Patrick Nnameka Okorie, better knowm as Patoranking sang the song thus: “celebrate me when I dey alive, appreciate me now when I dey alive, no be say when I leave this world you go dey fake am for my wife….”
It’s always a case of when the well is full, we spend two minutes to gather water, and when it is is empty, we look tirelessly to fill the void.
As for Sir Richard Akinnola || however, it’s a different ball game, a completely different kind of situation put together because I have read tens of epistolary eulogizing articles about his
human rights, magnanimity and pro-democracy activistism.
In fact i feel lifted and buoyed that people are now appreciating for the first time,the fact that the democracy the country currently enjoys today, no matter how fledgling, faulty and nascent it appears was borne out of the sacrifices and forthrightness of individuals like Sir Richard Akinnola ||, who have not relented in fighting for good governance and ensuring that democracy transcends elections to include a lifestyle of respect, dignity and accountability in Nigeria.
Sir Richard Akinnola || is an uncommon patriot of unequal measures, with uncompromising posture in always telling the truth to leaders, insisting on propriety and regularly mobilising to safeguard the sanctity of human rights and the integrity of the nation.
He is a man who is comfortable in his own shoes, contented, forthright, honest and with the courage of his convictions.
Sir Richard Akinnola || is always speaking the truth, supporting social justice and public-spirited causes and all manner of progressive ideas.
As an Executive Director of the Centre for Free Speech Organisation, Sir Richard Akinnola || played key roles in the struggle for democracy especially during the Abacha years, and at some point spent time in detention and suffered so many deprivations.
He is a lover of humanity with insatiable and quenchless love for the sanctity of human lives.
This he does annually via his foundation, Richard Akinnola Foundation, which brings smiles into the wrinkled, trauma-filled faces of children and widows of deceased journalists in Nigeria.
Touched by the need to ameliorate the agony, pain and suffering that widows and children of journalists often go through when their breadwinners are no more, Sir Richard Akinnola set up an organisation – Richard Akinnola Foundation.
The non-governmental organisation is meant to cater to the needs of the dependants of departed journalists that did not leave enough property behind for their immediate family members.
The NGO, founded in April 2010, has been able to quietly dish out millions of naira to many widows and children of journalists across the country.
Indeed, the rare philanthropic gestures usually displayed by this humble but irrepressible veteran journalist has always ignited an indescribable joy among those who benefit from the largesse.
Having spent over 35 years in the media industry, Sir Richard Akinnola || has gladly trained and mentored many journalists and written many books.
Not directly trained by him though as a journalist, but i revere him as a mentor and father.
I bless the day with faith the day fate made our paths crossed.
Happy Birthday to you Sir Daddy Richie as fondly call you.
Igba odun kan ni o Baba Richie🍾🍸🎂