Sunday, November 22, 2020 9:12 am
By Muyiwa Akintunde
Our paths crossed in the late 80s in Ilorin, the capital of his home state (Kogi had not been born). He was a reporter at the state-owned Herald while I worked with The Guardian.
A journalist in a government media organisation is typically laidback. Ground breaking stories are no-go area as they mainly hit at the failure of the state, their employers.
Tunde Asaju was different. Young and restless, he went about his task diligently and had stories that were the envy of the rest of us covering the state.
About two years later, he came to Newswatch premises in Lagos to meet me. We were recruiting reporters. I encouraged him to go through the process. Being an Assistant Editor, I wasn’t senior enough to be in the recruitment team. But I was sure he would acquit himself. He did. And I was proud how he turned out to be one of the reporters editors always wanted in their teams while working on major stories.
It was during this period that he earned the sobriquet, “fecunded bravura”! He did a story for my desk, Back-of-the-Book. I found the copy irresistible from the first line, until I came across those terms that almost blew my head. I can’t now remember in which order ‘fecund’ and ‘bravura’ were in the story. “Tunde”, I beckoned him, “ewo tun ni ‘fecunded bravura'”? (Which one is fecunded bravura again).
At Newswatch, he had the opportunity of going for a fellowship in France and he excelled. Soon after, I moved on. But we stayed in touch. Being married from his neck of the woods endeared my family to his (I won’t want him to initiate the process of withdrawing the Title Deed issued to me on my wedding day.
He had told the story of how he became a legislative aide to then Senate President Ken Nnamani in 2005. I worked in a PR firm that consulted for the Office of the Senate President. Our tasks included building internal and external teams for the OSP. I headed the media unit of the external team and my boss asked me to make recommendations for the parallel internal staff. For the Special Adviser, I suggested Augsten Adamu, who had been daily editor of Champion newspaper. And for his immediate assistant, it was Tunde Asaju.
Like Tunde, I also got to know Augsten (now Late) in Ilorin and our families later became inseparable. But both Augsten and Tunde would not have had my recommendations if they weren’t superb at their jobs. Both of them I knew as well grounded journalists in my Ilorin years.
I was glad when my boss Nnemeka Maduegbuna gave me a positive feedback about how well Augsten and Tunde performed in the hiring process. And they did not disappoint on the beat.
Tunde will later relocate to Canada. He lives in Ottawa. Ota wa looto, sugbon Oluwa segun gbogbo won (Please ask your neighbours to interpret😀😀😀). But we only have physical distance. The bond has grown even stronger. As recent as about a fortnight ago, he linked me up for a PR consultancy.
At 60, you have become a senior citizen. But you have so much intellectually that it will be a disservice to humanity to consider you retired. It is therefore my prayer that you will continue to have fulfilment in all that you do.
May God grant you the Grace for accomplishment. May your labour over your family and loved ones be rewarded mightily. May you be strengthened where you’re weak by the Most High.
Warm felicitation from my wife and children on this special day. And greetings to your admirable family.
Fecunded bravura, my dear brother!
-Muyiwa Akintunde, journalist and public relations expert, writes from Lagos