Akinkunmi Samson Olalekan was born in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria in the mid 80’s. The first son in a family of four. First two boys, last two girls. Greatness beckoned.
Akinkunmi, Yoruba translation: One filled with bravery, is a historical family of warriors hailed from Ago-Owu, Abeokuta North in Ogun State, South-West Nigeria.
His father, Felix a marine engineer, is very much a man of the arts himself. Sam’s earliest artistic impressions were supplied by his disciplined father. Felix a versatile man of many parts ran a graphic design company called Darling Productions. It was part time business he ran to get through tertiary education. Little did he know, his first son would be forever enchanted with the arts.
The tide of art is strong; its wave pulls Sam along.
Felicia, Sam’s mum is a script writer, broadcaster turned Textile Entrepreneur and successful business merchant, noted as a highly vocal and blunt personality. Unequivocal and vast in public speaking, she’s never one to back down from a constructive argument until valid points are exercised. Her confidence and zeal are life altering qualities that deeply rub off on him.
At age four, he was enrolled at Premier Day Nurseryand Primary School, Palm Avenue, Mushin Lagos. It was there his creative nous was nursed. According to Mr K.O Oke, one of his class teachers he wrote his first complete poem at the ripe age of eight!
Widely regarded by tutors and peers as a class act (pun intended), Sam has always been a man of arts. Exceptional at drawing, excellent in diction, he was diligent short little boy with unrelenting competitive spirit borne of always wanting to be ahead. Often the one to entertain classmate with miming, rapping and singing during free periods and breaks, his artistic and musical talents were obvious and he was duly allowed to express himself, sometimes bordering on indulgent. It was a healthy platform, germane to harness his potential.
At the completion of primary education, he secured admission at the state schoolin his mother’s hometown, Epe Grammar School, Epe. A boarding student, Sam would spend on two years in Epe before he had to be transferred back to Mushin, Lagos. Family and health commitments meant he couldn’t be too far from home.
Back in familiar environs and fast growing, Sam continued his education and development at Nigeria Premier College, Palm Avenue, Mushin, Lagos. He continued to blossom academically and was noticeably bright in his knowledge of English Language, Fine and Visual Arts and Social studies/Government subjects. He was a pioneering Member of the literary and debating society. Also an active member of the Press Club, he was a sports caster and commentator. Commitments nevertheless that didn’t keep him away from the football pitches, where his leadership skills, fitness and spirit was always apparent. He captained the school Junior and Senior teams, he was well admired and respected by teammates and junior students. It was where he earned his lifelong nickname Sammer, named after the legendary German captain Mathias Sammer.
A nick that has stuck, and perhaps brought luck.
On graduating from secondary school, his academic quest took him back to his state of origin, Ogun.
Ogun State University (later renamed Olabisi Onabanjo University) was where he bagged a diploma in Mass Communication.
Mentored by the works and writings of Shakespeare, Edward Lear, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Jared Angira, Sly-Cheeny Coker, Obafemi Awolowo, NgugiWaThiongoetc, Akinkunmi was a bright light meant for great things and this was apparent in his earliest writings. He’s indebted to his teachers. (Check the list above, you can’t go wrong learning from those class acts).
At OOU, came the priceless opportunity of working at national broadcast organization, Voice Of Nigeria (VON), Ikoyi, Lagos on industrial attachment. He got his wish of working in the mad room (as staffs often call the News Room because of its unending buzz of activities). News sourcing, reportorial, editorial were some of his designation as he horned his mass media and journalism skills in a professional habitat that had an enabling environment for a young broadcaster to learn.
He came. He was eager. He learned.
In 2007, he was awarded a certificate in Public Relations from the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) after passing nine of ten papers in one sitting with distinction.
The following year, he wrote and passed with distinction all five papers of the Institute’s stage three diploma program. Akinkunmi would be inducted along with many as an Associate of NIPR. In attendance was former minister of Information Prof Alex Akinyele a fellow of the Institute himself, such was the occasion’s splendor of the induction ceremony. Akinkunmi was also awarded a professional diploma in public relations, an achievement he values and cherishes.
On May 1st 2008, Akinkunmi published his first book Mind’s Silhouette – Reflections of the heart. A collection of forty poems of his earliest poetry impression.
It was a project he dreamed about and wanted to actualize. Mind’s Silhouette was ready to go to press two years before eventual publication. It was long overdue.
The years after the release of Mind’s Silhouette heralded in a period of academic and personal growth, self-discovery and travel. The quest to sight, learn and explore what the diaspora had to offer. It was a journey that took Sam to many African countries most notably Ghana, Kenya and South-Africa to mention a few where he did freelance writing, PR and media consultancy services, proof reading and editing and all forms of creative writing for individuals and companies on demand.
Akinkunmi Samson Olalekan also holds a Bachelor degree in Mass Communication (First Class honors) from EcoleProfessionelleSpecialisee La Cite University (EPS), Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
For his NYSC service year his place of primary assignment was the deans office, Faculty of Arts, University of Benin, Ugbowo, Benin City.
His hobbies and passion include playing football and watching it, rapping, travelling, and meeting interesting personalities from all walks and races. Some of his favorite places are Lagos, Abeokuta, Zanzibar, Doha and Istanbul.