Rising from adversity: For Adeyinka Peter Akintunde, a year after
Adeyinka Peter Akintunde (11th August 1990 – 2nd February 2021)
It’s a day I wished never existed: 2nd February 2021.
A few minutes past 10 pm, the young medical doctor that followed me back to my car that Tuesday at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja applied the tools on the body at the back seat and motioned to come along; back to his desk. He asked my wife to stay behind with the patient we had just brought in.
“Who are you to him”?, he inquired.
“He’s my son”, I mumbled a response.
“I’m sorry, he is gone”.
I hardly display emotion. But for several minutes after those words of finality, I couldn’t control the tears that issued from my eyes.
Quickly, I realised I had to be strong. I had to be strong for my wife, who had dissolved in tears. I had to be strong for our other children (except the one on youth service in Delta State) who had found their way to the hospital to join us.
It was a blow too hard to absolve. It was the end of the story of the eventful life of Adeyinka Peter Akintunde.
Adeyinka was the one I thought God had prepared to do better than me, professionally and otherwise.
Because I started my career as a journalist, many had concluded that I influenced him in that career direction. I had thought he would choose another path. But as early as his first day in junior secondary school, he had decided he would be a journalist, and nothing else.
He would return from the weekend break to regale his classmates with the analysis of the big matches of the weekend. His classmates didn’t waste time to nickname him “Commentator”.
After secondary school education in three schools – Lagos African Church Grammar School, Ifako-Agege (boarding), Golden Triangle College, Alagbado (day) and Command Secondary School, Ibadan (boarding), Adeyinka went on to study Philosophy at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Upon his return from national service in Taraba State, he began his journalism career at News Express. Restless, he worked with HS Media Group (HotSports), Real News and finally The Nation within seven years. I’m grateful to Umunna IO (Isaac Umunna), Taye Oladimeji Ige (Taye Ige), Maureen Chigbo and mentor extraordinaire Lekan Otufodunrin for opening doors to him.
His greatest dream was to report live a FIFA World Cup. Despite not been on the sports desk, he adopted my great friend, Adetokunbo Ohioze Ojeikere (Ade Ojeikere), a celebrated sports editor and analyst, as mentor. Perhaps if 2nd February 2021 did not happen, he would have been in Cameroon filing reports on the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
On that tragic day a year ago today, Adeyinka still talked football. An unrepentant Chelsea fan, I was surprised he had kind words for my team, Arsenal as the north London side battled Wolves that evening at Molineux Stadium, a match the Gunners eventually lost from a winning position.
With the throng of mourners that stormed our modest home from far and near following the sad incident, we received encouragement to shake it off. My family and I deeply appreciate the role of each one of you who visited and called to pray with us. I wish I could real off the names and institutions, but we’ll be on that till another year.
Adeyinka’s death hit me so hard and I knew that I had to quickly apply myself to a passion as catharsis, otherwise something might likely give. And so it was that about a month or so later when Shomoye Valentino (PP Rotarian Valentine Shomoye) called to urged me to join a new club that I would later learnt is RC Ikeja-Alausa Central, the response, even before he could finish his statement, was an emphatic: “Yes”.
For over a decade, I had several opportunities to join the international service organisation, Rotary. Twice I was decorated as Honorary Rotarian for some service to the club, but I didn’t follow up to complete the process. First was the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate in 2013. And then in 2016 by the then Governor of District 9110, Rotarian Bola Onabadejo following my presentation on PR to the Public Image committee of the District.
My bosom friend, Rotarian John Odiboh was unrelenting in prospecting me. But it still didn’t work.
The decision to serve humanity for the rest of my life in honour of my beloved son, Adeyinka happened eventually… with just one phone call. And I’m glad to be in the midst of those who care more about the society than themselves.
– Akintunde is a respected journalist and PR practitioner