By Ajani Okanlawon
Nigerian journalists – young and old – on Saturday celebrated Hakeem Bello, Special Adviser on Media to former Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola, as he turned 50.
Mr. Bello, who sponsored a training workshop for 50 journalists at the Journalism Clinic in Surulere, Lagos to mark the anniversary was described as a thorough professional by different speakers.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Malam Garba Shehu, said Bello had all the qualities of a good journalist.
He described him as a role model who has contributed so much to the growth of journalism in Nigeria.
Shehu also commended Bello, a former Editor of Daily Times, for organising the workshop for younger journalists in a rare display of appreciation to the profession.
President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Garba Deen Muhammad, thank Bello for coming up with the 50 @ 50 training programme.
While congratulating Bello for giving back by sponsoring the training programme, Muhammad said that the NGE would love to identify with the workshop which was very good for the profession.
Immediate past Lagos Commissioner for Information, Lateef Ibirogba, described Bello as an associate, colleague and brother.
“I worked with Bello to serve Lagos State on information with the Fashola administration.
“We are still together because Hakeem is an honest and hardworking person.
“There are times we had 10 to 11 events in a day and Hakeem would not stand until he cleared the last of the story from his table.
“There is no time you call on him that he will give an excuse of being tired. He is very meticulous and I pray for longer life for him,” Ibirogba said.
Commissioner-designate, Steve Ayorinde, said he had nothing other than respect for Bello.
“Throughout the eight years he was the spokesman for Governor Fashola, Bello never had issues that would have created problems for the administration,” Ayorinde said.
Former Secretary of the NGE, Mrs Angela Agoawike, traced her relationship with Bello back to their NYSC days in Kaduna.
Well-travelled, Agoawike urged journalists attending the workshop to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available for improvement on the job.
She described Bello, who also became her colleague at Daily Times, as a sincere, honest and hardworking man who was always there to give a helping hand to others.
“I knew Bello from our days in the same platoon in the National Youth programme in Kaduna and from there to Daily times. He has remained steadfast and sincere,” she said.
Other speakers included General Manager, Radio Nigeria One, Funke Treasure Durodola; Founder, TheCable.ng, Simon Kolawole and CEO, Technology Times, Shina Badaru.
Also present were Deputy Managing Director, The Sun, Steve Nwosu; CEO, Qed.ng, Olumide Iyanda; NGE Secretary General, Victoria Ibanga; Editor-in-Chief, Political Economist, Ken Ugbechie, and CEO of Core Media, Jide Adeniran.
The training for 50 journalists was organised by media trainer and facilitator, Taiwo Obe.