YJ Itopa

When the good news was broken among all working journalists, other critical media stakeholders and within the government house of Kogi State a couple of days ago that Chief Latifat Oyeyemi Kolapo, the media consultant to the Kogi State Government and the woman who the immediate past Chairman of Kogi State Chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Alhaji Adeiza Momohjimoh likes to always, and aptly so, described as his helpmeet ‘Sister from another Mother’ had been deserveably nominated by her good people of Ogun State as the IYALODE OF EGBA Muslims, the wishes of everyone, most especially journalists who saw and still see her as the media specialist whose magic wand Consultancy Services to Kogi State Government brought down the evil wall which hitherto literally set the media practitioners in the state and Government house poles apart from weaving the necessary fibre of the embrace for wholesome business of news dissemination, forcing the rains of both arms of government – both the Executive and the Media to drop only in drizzles for each other, was to personally attend the occasion as a token of his or her appreciation for her uncommon display of professionalism in her capacity as Governor Bello’s Media Consultant.

Ask any of the journalists in Kogi State today, you will be told that it was Kolapo who came and open channel of mutual understanding and relationship before news dissemination tree in Kogi State began to lushly grow for the good of the citizenry in the sense that government policies, programmes, their implementation and Feedback mechanism ( the pulse of the people) have unabetedly flowed between the populace and government.

Truly, Kogi Journalists had reason, like ants, as the Nigerian Poet, J.P Clark-Bekederemo would say, ‘file out of the wood’ to celebrate Kolapo on the event of her wearing the golden crown of IYALODE of Egba Muslims.

Alas! The event had come on Saturday 13th January, 2024, with a blaze of colour, grace and glory without all of us having the fulfilment of attending the popular event. ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.’ Many of us had lamented.

Yet, the attendance from the state was very impressive. Many government functionaries including the former Senator Abubakar Ohere, Secretary to Kogi State Government (SSG) and the commissioner for Information and Communications, Kinsley Fanwo were in Ogun State to honour the good woman on behalf of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello.

And our own Adeiza Momohjimoh, Kolapo’s brother from another mother was there to represent Kogi State Journalists. And he ably did so.
When he returned safely from Egba land like other attendees (from far and near) many of us quickly hovered around him to tell us about the event like children would a moonlight storyteller or I should better say, would a Muslim who newly returns from pilgrimage to Prophet Muhammed’s birth place, the holy land of Mecca.

Flooding the Press Centre to welcome Adeiza and to hear him talk about the need of the ceremony of the good woman of Egba land were many journalists.

Kola Adeyemi, former News Agency of Nigeria’s Chief Correspondent and now Publisher of Vital news, Ibrahim Obansa of the Guardian, Abu Michael, Publisher of The Nigerian Post and former Chief Press Secretary to an erstwhile deputy governor of the state, Julius Atabo of Daily Independent newspaper, Oyibo Salihu of Blueprint were all present.

The friendly Deputy News editor of The Graphic newspaper, Grace Kato also drove from her office to hear the news about the celebration of Kolapo by Nigerians in Egba land.

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The new Chairman of the State NUJ, Ademu Seidu, a number of his executive members played host to his predecessor who brought the news of the event of IYALODE of Egba land to us. A host of other colleagues were present at the Council for the good news.

“Chairman, welcome from Ogun State. We thank God for Journey mercies. How was our benefactor’s event?” One Journalist asked. Thank God. It was highly successful. Mrs. Kolapo sent her profound appreciation to you all.The former NUJ boss answered.

“The event was a huge success as I said. Very important Nigerians from different walks of life, both from within and outside the country, were in Ogun to honour her. Kolapo is a prophetess that was not only honoured at home but also outside her home because of her kind character and competencies.

Everything went well for her. Even the Ogun State weather was no exception. Very friendly on that day. Bright but not fierce, no malevolent drizzles of the rain as the sky continued to radiate love and smiles above the earth as if it was saying to Kolapo, ‘ Oh you good woman, go ahead with your crowning, nothing touches you. We are also your friend. Many Nigerians spoke glowingly about her.’ Adeiza informed.

He had barely concluded his last words when Grace Kato chimmed in: ” With what the woman is doing for us as Journalists, no one will be in doubt that she must have also related very well with people elsewhere.

In such occasion, floodgates of honey-brewed tributes would be open to flow and brim the bank of her river of competencies and capacities as a thorough bred Journalist.

“You are very correct. Adeiza said. Hear what many eminent Nigerians said about her at the occasion.” “Former President Obasanjo called Kolapo his daughter, regretting that but for another event that held him back in South Africa he would have loved to personally attend the occasion.

The former President said of her :”Your recognition as IYALODE of Egba Muslims reflects the leadership qualities that I have noticed in you over the years. You are a veteran Journalist and a pride of Egba land.” Obasanjo was represented by his wife.

In the words of our own Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello,.Kolapo had always represented the spirit of Egba very well wherever she went.”You have brought to bear, your experience, expertise, brilliance and dedication to whatever you believe in have always put a green carpet under your feet. You are an extraordinary being that Kogi will always want to identify with you. And you are Egba’s blessing to Kogi State and humanity.” Adeiza reported.

Before now, the IYALODE of Egba Muslims in her over 26 years practice as a media professional had worked in many places one of which was her position as a Senior Special Adviser on Corporate Corporation and Strategy to former Minister of Finance and Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga.

Adeiza reported Aganga’s tribute to his former SSA on her IYALODE of Egba Muslims crowning. “I have always known you for your strong Faith and adherence to the tenets of Islamic Religion and it’s teachings as well as your passion to serve. The crown definitely fits the head and I have no doubt that this will spur you to delivering greater service to the Almighty God.”

Many others like former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Pastor Tunde Bakare who is the General Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church and a host of others spoke at the occasion. And they all attested to the exceptionally good character of Kolapo.

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Of all the tributes paid to Chief Kolapo, according to Adeiza, the one that best captured the essence of the woman he knew Kolapo to be, given his relationship with her as an erstwhile Kogi NUJ Chairman, was the one given at the occasion by the Belgium based activist daughter of the great MKO Abiola of blessed memory, Hafsat Abiola.

He told us the story and we listened to him with rapt attention. He quoted the daughter of the slain wife of Abiola’s beautiful wife, Kudirat Abiola as saying:

“Talking of kindness, care, love and concern for others, I am yet to see Kolapo’s equal. She really deserved this honour. I have never seen a friend like her. My path and hers crossed in her years at the Punch newspaper when she interviewed me. I have found a compassionate person in her since that time.

My friend and sister deserved this honour. I thank the people of Egba land for choosing Kolapo as IYALODE of Egba Muslims. The Kolapo that I know will not only use this her new role to positively touch the lives of Muslims. Even non Muslims will benefit from her milk of kindness.’

The Kogi State Chapter as I wrote earlier was represented by Adeiza at the event. But the biggest representation of Kolapo’s professional colleagues was the presence of the cerebral President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Dr. Chief Isiguzo, MFR.

Isiguzo spoke for the entire media men and women in the country and Adeiza, remembered all the good words that Kolapo’s colleagues expressed through their President.

He reports: “It is with immense joy and admiration that I, on behalf of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, extend my warmest congratulations to you on your well deserved installation as IYALODE of Egba Muslims.

“I am not only celebrating your remarkable achievements in the realm of Journalism and Media Consultancy but also recognising the profound impact you have had as the distinguished Publisher of the Point Newspaper…”

Kolapo is one woman rolled into many, Adeiza continues. “She is also the Chief Executive officer of GROWTH TRACKERS INITIATIVE, a TV production Company with branches in over fifteen States of the Federation. A workaholic, she is the Chief Executive officer/Group Managing Director of RIGHT- DEV Limited, a first rate player in Media Consulting Strategic Rebrand Marketing.

She had won many media awards including The Ambassador of Nigerian Women Journalist Award which was the honour bestowed on her on the sidelines of the World Bank meeting in Washington D C, United States some years ago.
To be precise, Kolapo won the award in October, 2013.

In her award Kitty is also the Nollywood Media Personality of the Year Award among others. Unknown to you, the woman is the first female Group Business Editor of the Punch Newspaper. Kolapo is the Author of the book ‘ The Making of an Oracle. Not the type that will rest on her oars, she is said to have started rounding off her phD in Economics.’ He concluded.

“Chairman, thank you for this highly inspirational story.” The woman has all these qualities, yet you can never see her getting intoxicated with it unlike many others ” Oyibo Salihu of Blueprint Newspaper observed in admiration.

“Don’t you see how she always dresses humbly and decently as a good Muslim woman. Yet she looks beautiful, radiant and gorgeous in her responsible dressing.’ Alhaji Yekini Jimoh of Tribune admired.

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“Yekini, if you observe, people who are properly educated are like that. They are usually quiet and calm. They are never like the empty barrels that make the most noise. That is what sophistication does. The woman is simply elegant in many ways” Mr. Abu Michael added.

“That is my sister for you! You know we Yoruba don’t trifle with education,” Kola Adeyemi said. “You have started again. Who told you that it is only Yoruba people that love education?” Ibrahim Obansa countered

“Do you want to compare Ebira with Yoruba? How many Ebira children go to school? He asked. Ebira are more in school that Yoruba are, Obansa answered. Be deceiving your self. Kola said with derisive smiles.

Laughing, Julius Atabo intervened: Okay! Okay! I say stop the debate. Let us leave Kola and his jokes. We should just pray that God should give us the enablement to send out children to school. God will bless our houses with children like Kolapo.,’Amen! Amen? They all chorused.

Thanking his Predecessor, on behalf of the Council, for representing the event, the new Chairman, Comrade Seidu Ademu prayed the Almighty God to grant the IYALODE of Egba Muslims good health, long life and the wisdom with which she would reign in grace and glamour.

“I followed the vivid report of the occasion as told by our former Chairman I can say I too had literally attended the Egba event.” Said one Journalist. How, are you a magician? If you had said you were there in spirit, praying for the success of her installation, I would understand’ A colleague wondered.

He insisted: All of the above. Physically and spiritially, I was in Egba. As the story was moving, I was moving with it. I saw myself traveling with our former Council boss to Abuja where he joined our President to fly in a plane to Ogun State for the occasion. I saw myself in the same flight with them, rubbing shoulders with the high and the mighty, feasting and dancing to the thrilling music of musicians like Kolawole Kwam 2 and Musiliu Ayinla Omowura at Chief Kesigntom Adebukola Adebutu Hall, Abeokuta.

There is no if wishes were horses beggars will ride in this matter. In Chief Kolapo, beggars wishes do come to pass and they ride horses, richly bedecked horses. With this story I heard, we all went. The story carried us from Lokoja, like horses would gallop with their riders, to Ogun and brought us safely home.

“Okay, let us not drag it too much!” Adeiza advised. ” I agree with him we all attended it . This is to say how deep we all appreciate her for the role she played in mending the broken carapace of Media relationship with the Kogi State Government.

Kolapo is like a good story. If is well reported, it can carry listeners or readers to and from where the acticities took place. Good reportage can indeed make us to be present at the occasion we did not attend. It all speak of our love for the good woman.

And I personally thank Governor Yahaya Bello for giving my ‘Sister from another mother’ the opportunity to serve us so greatly as the oasis in the firmament of the government’ media team.

And I rejoice with her like other Nigerians as she wears the prestigious crown of IYALODE of Egba Muslims even as God keeps her for bigger roles she will play in no distant future – Because of her edifying character- in the socio – political affairs of this country,” he prayed.

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