Many Nigerians in the public sector, media, arts and tourism industry yesterday poured encomiums on the former Lagos State Commissioner of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, as he clocked the golden age of 50.
Ayorinde, who has been described by many as a committed man of culture and an exemplary journalist, was also honoured with a pan-African zoom webinar conference with the theme: Close the gap – For African Tourism to Reboot, Revive and Refocus.
Extolling the celebrant’s virtues, Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, recalled Ayorinde’s admirable coverage of arts and culture as a young journalist, carving a niche for himself “as a first rate literary critic and an art historian.”
In a letter he personally signed, Fayemi said: “You not only brought class and panache to art and culture journalism, you also made your pages an encyclopedia of literary intelligence, and became widely respected by arts and culture enthusiasts. One is particularly proud of your consistent commitment to the defence of professional integrity in your role as a journalist, editor and media manager.
In his tribute, former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, under whom Ayorinde served as commissioner, described him as “a fine gentleman and a brother who is more than a friend.
“I personally attest to your mental dexterity as exemplified in your numerous contributions and achievements during our administration in Lagos State.”
Similarly, the of Minister of Information, Culture and Tourosm, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while congratulating Ayorinde during the virtual stake-holders’ conference held today in his honour, said his time at the helm of Lagos tourism had significant impact on the state’s tourism landmark project.
“I congratulate today a man whose vision and commitment to the development of this sector is never in doubt. It must be to Steve’s joy that it is in his anniversary month that the Federal government has decided to hand over the use of the National Theatre in Lagos to better use by the Lagos State Government through the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
In his own congratulatory remark, Chairman of Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN), described Ayorinde as a thorough-bred professional with a good pedigree.
“As he marks his milestone, I celebrate a steadfast professional whose contributions to journalism helped shape the routes for budding arts and culture correspondents to thread on.
For the Chairman of Punch Nigeria Ltd, Mrs. Angela Amuwa, Ayorinde’s life has been exemplary. She recalled her first encounter with the former editor of Punch on the Arts page of The Guardian “through his fine prose,” adding that his distinct style made him a joy to read.The Publisher of Ovation magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, also described Ayorinde as a commmitted and amiable journalist who build brudges and keeps his friends. “I’m not surprised about the giant strides he’s made in every endeavour that he has undertaken or each challenge that he has faced,” Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, stated in his birthday remarks.
Momodu said: “Steve’s competence shone brilliantly when he served the administration of Governor Akinwumi Ambode in Lagos State during which he handled important portfolios such as Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture and other assignments. Even in the turbulent days, he remained calm, loyal and focused to the last day. A man of great integrity, he is much acclaimed and admired.”