The founder and CEO of BHM Group Ayeni Adekunle has been named ‘Man Of The Year’ by fast rising Nigerian news platform, Sabinews.
The award, which was announced at a special dinner marking the first anniversary of Sabinews at Protea Hotel on Friday May 22, was given in recognition of his ‘contribution to the growth and success of the platform.’
Present at the dinner were YES! Magazine publisher Azuh Arinze, Chairman Sabinews, Niran Adedokun, Coca Cola’s Sam Umukoro and publisher, Nolly Silverscreen, Isabella Akinseye.
Managing partner of Sabinews Toni Kan revealed that Ayeni was one of the few people to stand by the platform consistently from its launch a year ago until present. In his words,
“When we started Sabinews, we spoke to a few people who gave some directions but Ayeni took us to his office, gave us lectures, took out staff in, showed them how it’s done, and he didn’t hold back. It’s been a learning curve and it’s been easy because of Ayeni.
He’s been amazing and really good to us. We thought of what we can do to say thank you, and came up with this award. Next year we hope we find someone as deserving of this award to give it to.”
In his reaction to the award, a visibly delighted Ayeni expressed his gratitude to Kan and the management team at Sabinews, promising to continue doing his utmost to promote the advancement of the news platform. In his words,
‘I’ve been turning down awards for as long as I can remember.
I have nothing against celebrations and decorations. But I am of the opinion that Nigerians celebrate a lot of what would ordinarily pass as mediocrity.
I hold a belief: Too many awards and medals have ruined several brands and careers that otherwise may still have been around today. Think of the 90s and 2000s super banks. Think of the stars of yesteryears. Think of all the big brands and their MDs and all the accolades – then think of the crumbling that followed.
So while one is still dreaming and building, it has been my way to avoid any event that suggests ‘washing’. I’ve not come all the way from Okokomaiko, working since 1995, only to get here and be distracted by some plaques and praises suggesting I’m close to being the best in my field – when I’ve not even started!
But, Just as my friends, Abisoye Fagade, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi and co embarrassed me with a surprise birthday gig three years ago, Toni Kan and his team set a trap for me and I walked into it
I became a writer by reading. And Toni Kan was one of those who shaped my early writing. It’s possible I’ve read everything he’s ever written, but we didn’t become friends until recently. I can’t even remember how it happened.
But I remember clearly now, how he offered to postpone the anniversary celebration for SabiNews because I was away in London. I remember how he called to request I attend the event with my wife. I remember how he asked – almost frantically – if I was cancelling, when I called hours to the dinner on Friday May 22.
How come it didn’t occur to me that maybe this man was up to no good?
You can’t imagine how much I wanted to disappear from that room when he and his partner Peju Akande sandwiched me and opened a plaque with my name on it. ‘SabiNews Man of the year‘.
Of course I don’t think it’s an honour well deserved. And I am, of course, still embarrassed!’