Celebrating the spirit of Concord 14 years after shut-down
Intermittently, there was uproar of laughter from one corner of the hall and before it dies down another would kick off. Adults, mostly males, hugged themselves firmly; they were just happy for the reunion after a long period. It drove home the missed moments they’d spent together. Not least were the jokes and a recall of some of the pranks they played together as coworkers.
It was clear many of them had not seen each other after the doors of Concord Press Limited was firmly shut in 2001.
That was the mood in the hall for the most part of the night when former employees of Concord Press Limited, founded by the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, gathered in Lagos last week for a re-union and celebration of six members of that family who recently got political and private appointments.
In his opening remarks, a representative of the Reunion/Reception Planning Committee, Ogbeni Goke Odeyinka, said that apart from using the event to honour those who were recently appointed, whether in the public or private spheres, the forum was meant to bring all former Concord Press staff together and a thing of joy that its members were found worthy to be called to serve.
Odeyinka recalled that they related with one another as brothers, which he felt was one of the secrets of the success of Concord Press. He was optimistic that the forum had come to stay with plans to stage an annual event. According to him, during the planning stage, many asked what would happen after the reunion party. He therefore called on all members to ensure that the forum remained as one.
For the chairperson of the day, one of the wives of the late business mogul, Dr. Doyin Abiola, when she was informed about the reunion, she did not quite realised the import of the event until invitation was sent that six former employees would be celebrated, saying it was a joyful thing and very heartwarming. She prayed that all those being celebrated because of their new assignments would not disappoint and that the responsibility of those appointed succeeding relied on all the members of the forum.
While providing insight on what they should do to succeed, Abiola informed that good leadership required analyzing situations critically before coming up with solution, as well as having methodology.
Also making input was the first child of the late publisher Kola Abiola who came with his brother Deji and called on Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to honour his father with the Grand Commander of Federal Republic (GCFR) title for paying the supreme price that gave the country its present democratic gain.
It would be recalled MKO died in the struggle to claim his mandate of winning the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
Abiola said that with the honour, it would have been stated that his father not only made the supreme sacrifice for the country to enjoy democratic governance but also that he won the election that was annulled. An elated Abiola paid glowing tribute to his father, describing him as a genius and a man with foresight.
He revealed that Concord Press would be back although in line with current realities, adding that the online platform would be revived first before the print edition would be made available in every part of the country.
According to him, the biggest joy he had on the night was seeing great men, who were unknown in the past, come out of the Concord press family.
Some former staff of Concord Press, who were recently given political appointments were recognized and given awards. They included the Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello; Special Adviser, Media/publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina; Member, House of Representatives, Mallam Mohammed Sani Zorro; Senior Special Assistant, Media to Governor of Niger State, Mr. Jide Orintunsin; President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Waheed Odusile; Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mr. Ohi Alegbe and the Managing Director of the Sun Newspapers Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie.
The Group General Manager, NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, who spoke on behalf of the honourees, thanked the members of the planning committee for doing a good job and for finding them worthy to be honoured.
Reacting to Kola Abiola’s statement that the Concord Press would be back, Alegbe said it is heartwarming to hear that the publication will be coming back.