On October 1, 1993, my tenure as acting Editor in Methodist Church Nigeria began; on August 1, 2000, it ended. As I reflect on the 7 years, they have been filled with testimonies, memories, and encounters with different personalities and leaders. One of the memorable personalities I worked closely with of which I have chosen to share in this tribute is Prince Bamidele Olumuyiwa Osundahunsi. I am very grateful to God for the opportunity and honour to serve as the Conference Editor, Methodist Church Nigeria. It allowed me, under the oversight of a team of spiritual fathers, professional editors, and leaders, namely – His Grace Most Rev Ayo Ladigbolu, His Grace Most Rev Michael Kehinde Stephen, His Grace Most Rev Michael Ogo, Very Rev David. Oludare Somoye, Elder Adegbite, Mr Sola Omole, Mr A Ajijola (a former Registrar, University of Lagos), and Prince ‘Dele Osundahunsi. With my background as a Visual Artist and training at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Lagos, I gained practical knowledge from this team of fathers that served as Editorial Board, Methodist Church Nigeria.
Among my tasks and job duties as Editor was to ‘prepare, rewrite and edit copy to improve readability; Read copy or proof to detect and correct errors in spelling, punctuation, and syntax; Allocate print space for story text, photos, and illustrations according to space parameters and copy significance, using knowledge of layout principles; Plan the contents of publications according to the publication’s style, editorial policy, and publishing requirements; Verify facts, dates, and statistics, using standard reference sources; Review and approve proofs submitted … prior to publication production; Develop story or content ideas, considering reader or audience appeal; Oversee publication production, including artwork, layout, computer typesetting, and printing, ensuring adherence to deadlines and budget requirements; Confer with management and editorial staff members regarding placement and emphasis of developing news stories; Assign topics, events and stories to individual writers or reporters for coverage; Read, evaluate and edit manuscripts or other materials submitted for publication and confer with authors regarding changes in content, style or organisation, or publication.’ I also monitored diocesan news-gathering operations to ensure utilization of all news sources.
This tribute is to remember and show how grateful I have been for having had the opportunity and honour to work with Prince Osundahunsi, a legendary editor on whose shoulder I stood in order to verify facts and determine if a manuscript or article is ready for final publication. Prince Osundahunsi rekindled my writing life and Nigerian Methodism. He encouraged me through his craft of writing, experience, and intelligence. Prince Osundahunsi was fearless, knowledgeable, witty and kind. He could be loftily dismissive of anything he considered mediocre or pretentious. Prince Osundahunsi was at the same time a fierce champion of the people and things he believed in.
Born into the Osundahunsi family in Ilesa, Osun State, on Thursday 17 September, 1942, he enjoyed his childhood time with his junior sister, Mummy Foluke Adeboye, Nee Osundahunsi (wife of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of Christ, Pastor Adejare Adeboye), his junior brother, Barrister Femi Osundahunsi, and his elderly maternal sister, Mrs Grace Adewumi. Prince Osundahunsi attended the University of Nsukka in 1964 but finally finished at University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, in 1968 because of the Biafra War. He obtained his M.Sc from the prestigious University of Ibadan. He worked as lecturer at the Ibadan Polytechnic and University of Ibadan before he relocated to Lagos to work as the Editor, Nigerian Institute of Management.
With many accomplishments throughout his tenure as Editor, Nigerian Institute of Management, Prince Osundahunsi worked tirelessly to improve the editorial process for both authors and reviewers. His hands-on approach to working with authors, reviewers, and the Nigerian Institute of Management staff and editorial team witnessed not only the improvement and clarification of processes related to submitting to Institute’s magazine and and many other publications, ‘but the editorial process itself. These included the implementation of a new manuscript submission system …, updated policies on supplemental material … article deposits, along with constant attention and revision to the Instructions for Authors.’ Prince Osundahunsi provided invaluable service in ensuring the management integrity of the materials published. Prince Osundahunsi also specialised in training people to prepare for a job or career. In one of his works, ‘“Report Writing for Manager” in Management in Nigeria,’ Prince Osundahunsi explained the importance of education in adjusting to change and acquiring ‘skills that make life more interesting and enjoyable.’
Under Prince Osundahunsi, an energetic and innovative Editor, the Nigerian Institute of Management’s magazine was better positioned and circulated in promoting management ethics, transparency, and accuracy within the Institute and Nigeria in general. Prince Osundahunsi also served Methodist Church in different capacities especially at Methodist Church of the Trinity, Tinubu, Lagos, where he worshipped until he ascended on Sunday 20th June, 2010.
Prince Osundahunsi created time for me in the production of Methodist News, the official organ, Methodist Church Nigeria. He told me a lot of things about Methodism especially about some events during the Nigeria civil war and Methodist crisis. His home at Aguda, Surulere, Lagos, and his office at Nigerian Institute of Management, Idowu Taylor, Victoria Island, Lagos, were accessible to me anytime. Prince Osundahunsi’s Christian stewardship reminds us that, ‘something begins to happen as we grow to acknowledge God’s ownership and our “loanership” of our lives and possessions.’ Prince Osundahunsi died empty. Prince Osundahunsi’s service to God and Nigeria summons us to begin to ask, Lord, how would you have me share my gifts? What would you have me do with my skills, money, position, time, and possessions?
Please remember Prince Osundahunsi’s family in prayer especially his daughter Osundahunsi Timilehin.