ON January 23, the old students association of Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta, presented Ayinde Soaga with its Old Boy’s Association’s Merit Award for 2009.
Ayinde attended the school between 1973 and 1978. He was admitted at Oke- Egunya and graduated at Oke-Saje. He joined the Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation, OGBC, in August 1978, shortly after completing the School certificate.
Then Secretary of the Old Boys’ Association, Chief Ayotunde Ayopo encouraged the very young Ayinde to start attending the old boy’s association meetings from 1979, when it was then a forum for really old boys. In 1979, Ayinde Soaga was only 18 years old.
Ayinde was promptly elected as Publicity Secretary of the BBHS OBA Abeokuta branch, a post he held until he proceeded on the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC in Uyo, then Cross River State in 1985, after bagging Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication from the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta.
After serving the nation in Uyo, he returned to Abeokuta, and began freelancing in both NTA 10 Lagos and NTA Abeokuta, in the period of Structural Adjustment Programme SAP. The then General Manager of NTA Abeokuta, Dr. Biodun Sotumbi persuaded him to take up full employment with the station as a reporter in 1987.
On his return to Abeokuta in 1986, the OBA Abeokuta branch presented him for election as National Publicity Secretary, a position he held for two terms. He was later presented as National Social Secretary, a position he also discharged for two terms.
Ayinde has served the OBA meritoriously, particularly in publicizing its activities in both the print and electronic media, taking advantage of friends in the media and other old boys’, particularly the late Tunji Oseni and the late Yinka Craig. Indeed, Ayinde partnered with the late Messers Tunji Oseni and Yinka Craig, as Masters of Ceremony at the famous BBHS OBA N10 million Development Fund Launch at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island Lagos, in 1989.The memorable event brought together BBHS greats like late Chief MKO Abiola, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Prince Bola Ajibola, and former OBA Presidents including Chief Joseph Olatunji Osibamowo and Chief Folorunso Oke.
On his transfer to NTA Network News Headquarters, Lagos in 1995, Ayinde was promptly elected Publicity Secretary of the OBA Lagos Branch, a position he held until his transfer to NTA News Headquarters Abuja in 1999.
He soon linked up with old boys in Abuja attending the then bi-monthly meetings. He also served the Abuja Branch as Publicity Secretary until he was elected Vice President of the Branch in 2006. He was chairman of the committee which facilitated the over N6m refurbishment of the old Assembly Hall at Okesaje into a beautiful edifice, in a record period of less than one month.
An alumnus of both the FRCN Training School, Ikoyi Lagos and the NTA TV College Jos, Ayinde has worked as reporter on many desks including Business, Politics, particularly National Assembly coverage and Foreign Affairs and as Newscaster and Anchor/Presenter of many programmes. He has served as Head of Political and Foreign Affairs Desks at NTA News Headquarters, before his deployment as Manager News and Current Affairs at NTA Channel 5 Abuja. He also teaches at the TV College, Jos, which is now a degree awarding institution. He is currently in the Training and Capacity Building Directorate at the NTA Headquarters, Abuja.
Ayinde has travelled the world reporting for NTA. A member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and Nigerian Guild of Editors, Ayinde is a fellow of the Korean Press Foundation and the International Visitor Programme of the US State Department.