Though a master of breath-taking headline casting and an adept at breaking news, Mr Mike Awoyinfa, pioneer editor of the then bestselling Weekend Concord and founding Managing Director of the Sun Newspapers never saw it coming.
The hardcore journalist, who turned 70 recently, was beaten at his own game of springing news surprises and holding readers spellbound with screaming headlines when his family organised a surprise birthday party in his honour on Saturday 23 July 2022 at Maradiva Twinwater, Lekki, Lagos.
“I was shocked when I entered this hall, Awoyinfa, who believes journalism is a game, said while giving the vote of thanks.
“My children gave me the impression that we were just going to get a small family get-together of about five or six of us. Only to come here to see this kind of miracle.”
“It was indeed an evening of miracle, of music, of dance and of course surprises as not only was the hall filled to capacity even at such short notice, waves from the Atlantic Ocean rising up to greet guests was enough novelty.
Still, when Awoyinfa, accompanied by his wife and children, were ushered into the hall filled with guests waiting to celebrate his contributions to journalism in Nigeria, he knew he was in for what he never bargained for.
“How did you do it? I am still trembling. I don’t know what has struck me. I don’t know what has made me to deserve all this.
“Well, I thank God Almighty. It is only God that made this. If an angel had told me in a dream that on my 70th birthday that this would happen, that I would be in a gorgeous setting like this, watching even at the sea, looking at Paradise, looking at everything, having people, I would like to see around me in heaven surrounding me, I would not have believed it,” he said.
“Awoyinfa could not but express his appreciation to his wife and children for the surprise party, which he likened to a coup d’état. He also thanked everyone who participated in the party and those who contributed to make it a success.
“These children, I thank you for what you have done. And I thank everybody who has participated or contributed to make this thing a success today. God will bless you.
“I never knew my wife could be a coup plotter. We’ve been sleeping in the same room, and something like this is going to happen and I never got wind of it.
“I was looking for my file on Weekend Concord, the file containing all my stories. I almost died. She has a way od packing things. I said, “Where is my collection of Weekend Concord?” She said, “E ma worry. Ma ba yin wa.” Up till now. Because if I am to write my memoir, those are the things I would use. ”
Awoyinfa thanked his wife profusely, particularly for being with him all over the years and for tolerating him.
“She is the only woman who can live with me. She loves me so much to have given me handsome boys. God will bless you. Thank you for tolerating me.
“I thank all of you for coming here. You’ve honoured me. God will honour you in Jesus’ name. Your children will do something bigger than this for you in Jesus name. I am so touched that even the food they brought I am so excited I cannot eat it. I am so overfilled with joy. God will fill your hearts with joy in Jesus’s name.
Guests who graced the occasion included Chief Segun Osoba, former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Goodie Ibru, Chief Dele Momodu, Mr. Tunji Bello, Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tony Momoh and Mr Eric Osagie.