Today on this programme, we bring to you, one of the paramount ruler of the Yoruba kingdom, and also a veteran journalist, a Public Relation guru, a publisher and presently, a paramount, whose life, as the only surviving son of the parent, is not only endearing, but a reflection of doggedness, persistence and determination. Most fascinating in his achievement, is the fact that, he was recalled back after six years to his former job, where he voluntarily resigned when the choice of compromise beckoned.
The Youth Engage, this week, welcome's his royal majesty, the Akinale of the towulade kingdom, OBA OLUFEMI OGUNLEYE the former Public Relation Manager of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye was born in Away compound, totoro Owu, Abeokuta, on September 23, 1944, to Pa. Johnson Akanni Oguntaye Ogunleye (Desolu Compound, Totoro, Abeokuta) and Madam Victoria Adebisi Efunduran Totoro, Abeokuta). Both parents lived in Akinale, their satellite settlement, founded by their progenitors, in the Ewekoro local government, where they reigned as Baale and color till 1981 and 1983, when husband and wife passed on respectively. Olufemi was the only surviving child, out of 14 siblings.
After his primary and secondary school,in Ashore, Akinale and Abeokuta, between 1949 and 1962, Olufemi sojourned in Jos, with an uncle, as a stenographer and worked at various private and government departments, such as: ATMN, RAYFIELD, JOS, Federal Ministry of finance, post and telegraphs, the Nigerian ceramics limited and the media, all in the plateau between 1963 and 1969.
He also worked as a cub reporter, in the defunct UMBC middle belt Herald in jos and later, worked in the new Nigerian newspapers, of the same station, in the mid-sixties. He made great strides, that endeared him to the prestigious Daily Times Newspaper, which hired and trained him, at the famous Daily Times Training Institute, after which, he was granted several reportorial positions, in Jos, Kaduna, Zaria, and Kano, from where he was brought to Lagos, to anchor the then most important beat at the Lagos Airport. In his career at the Daily Times, he won several accolades and awards from great editors, such as Prince Henry Odukomaiya, Areoye Oyebola and Gbolabo Ogunsanwo for laudable editorial achievements. Among top stories, published by the Daily Times, which earned Femi, commendation, and reward, were "THE DEATH OF KWAME NKRUMAH and his burial request" in 1972 and "Waziri Ibrahim importation of a Rolls Royce car and payment of N56,000 Custom Duty in Kano in 1973."
Still fresh, from the training hands of Prince Tony Momoh; the Training Manager of the Daily Times Training Institute, Femi was propelled, to join several commentators, on the life and times of the late Ghanaian President, who was as a result of his topple by the Ghanaian military, exiled himself to the neighbouring West African country Guinea.
This and other exclusive stories, like: The Jordanian Boeing 707 chartered to airlift pilgrims, on a return flight to Kano which crashed at the threshold of the Kano International airport, the killing of over 100 returnees, were exclusive coverage, in the Sunday Times, for which the editor, Gbolabo ogunsanwo wrote Femi, a commendation letter, and reward. In April 1974, there was a military coup that ousted President Hamani Diouri out of government, in the Niger Republic. Femi was summoned, to proceed to Niamey in the Niger Republic, for the story. Accompanied by the paper political analyst, Haroun Adamu, both journalists did justice to the event, through their enterprising reports. Femi added an ice on the cake, by his exclusive visit to the remote hometown of Togon, several kilometers south of Niamey, where the country's first lady, Madam Diouri, who was murdered in the exercise, was interned. His interview with the victim's mother as an eyewitness during the putsch provided an emotionally laden story. These are by no means exhaustive records of daring and remarkable editorial exploits of Femi, at different times on his beats, particularly in Kano, the consequence of which the then state Governor, late police commissioner Audu Bako declared him, a personal on-grata in June 1974.He served the Nigerian union of journalists, at the state and national levels, before he opted for public relation practice in later years.
In 1976, he boarded a flight as head of public relations, in the liquidated Nigerian Airways, from where finally; he voluntarily retired, after 25years of unblemished and meritorious service. Femi ogunleye became a house name in aviation, in Nigeria, Africa and beyond. He traveled widely, trained in aviation public relations and management in various international centers such as Ash-ridge College, London, British Airways, London, KLM Dutch airline, Amsterdam, Fokker airplane manufacturers, Amsterdam, Boeing and McDouglas airplane manufacturers in Seattle, Washington and long Beach, California USA. He also read mass communication at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos where he bagged a diploma in the 1979/1980 session, capping it with a sandwich course, in modern management, at the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1980.
Besides his attachment training with the IATA PR headquarters in Geneva, Femi also had an exposure, to aviation management at the ICAO in Montreal, Canada. He was a three-month working experience, at the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya in 1978. He was among Nigerian public relations delegates, to the 9th world PR Congress in Bombay, India in 1982, as well as being the only African speaker, at the International Association of business communications (IABC) conference in Palo Alto, San Francisco, the USA in 1983.
A consummate aviation journalist, with several published articles in the local and international newspaper and journals, Femi ogunleye was a publisher of the first rural newspaper in Ogun State; the village news, which was launched at the Akin Olugbade social center, Abeokuta in February 1986. He also published an aviation magazine; Flight Africa and newspaper Flight Express. He his an author of two books: WT 040; the daunting story of the defunct Nigeria Airways, from where he retired as General Manager in 2000, and Nigeria Civil Aviation decade of security, safety, and passenger comfort development; a book cataloging the scale of development of Nigeria's Aviation safety agency.
A public relation guru and a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of public relations, member of the British Institute of Public Relations, member of the Public Relation Society of America, socialite and member of many social clubs in Nigeria. Femi Ogunleye plays golfs and he is a member of several golf clubs in Nigeria and overseas.
He earned the title of Apagun pote of Apomu Owu and later Lisa Apomu owu, Abeokuta. He also holds Egba tittle chieftaincy of Ekerin Apagun Egba, bestowed on him by late Alake Egba, Oba Oyebade Liped, in 1992. Coming from the pedigree of the founders of Akinalde and Lapeleke town, in Ewekoro local govt. (a great grandson of Lapeleke), he was installed, the 15th Baale of Akinale in October 2004. The Olowu and paramount ruler of the ancient Owu kingdom, Oba Olusanya Adegboyega Dosunmu and the entire Owu kingdom, in recognizing the invaluable contribution of Lapeleke, among the owu heroes, who contributed immensely to the survival of Abeokuta and the Egba nation vis-à-vis the pivotal role of Akinale, as a rendezvous of men of valour, in the allied forces that checkmated, as a interlopers of various degrees on the Abeokuta-Lagos axial road, rewarded the Lapeleke dynasty and Akinale, his settlement with the great owu heritage, the crown. Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye, was then, crowned at the first owu coronet, in Akinale on Friday 31st,March 2006, with the Royal title of Afogunlanafade, Delesolu 1, Towulade of Akinale, Arole olowu.
Today, through the instrumentality of the ogun state govt and support of the president of the Egba traditional council and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Okukenu IV, Alake of Egbaland, Towulade of Akinale now sits in the hallowed chambers of Egba traditional council and the ogun state council of Obas.