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EXCLUSIVE: HOW GOD INSTRUCTED ME TO ESTABLISH A VOICE FOR MY PEOPLE Says Dr. Ezekiel Kayode Akande Chairman of Glow 99.1 FM, Akure,

EXCLUSIVE: HOW GOD INSTRUCTED ME TO ESTABLISH A VOICE FOR MY PEOPLE Says Dr. Ezekiel Kayode Akande Chairman of Glow 99.1 FM, Akure, 

... As He Opens Up On His Life and Career as an Anesthesiologist 

Dr. Ezekiel Kayode Akande is one of the few Nigerian-born US-based anesthesiologists. He is the CEO and Medical Director of Somerset Regional Pain Center. Dr. Akande is also the Chairman of Glow 99.1 FM, Akure. This highly successful Anesthesiologist is also an Author.

The Award-winning Medical Physician is a philanthropist, a culture promoter who believes in giving voice to his people and community at large. Dr.Ezekial Kayode Akande is a native of Oke-agbe Akoko in the Akoko North West Local Government area of Ondo State.

On February 21st, 2024, he commissioned a multimillion-naira state-of-the-art radio station, situated at 1, Efon Alaaye Street, Ijapo Estate, Akure, Ondo State. The event was witnessed by several dignitaries and Royal fathers.

Dr. Ezekiel Akande is a member of numerous medical associations, including the International Association for the Study of Pain, the American Academy of Pain Management, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists. His philanthropic endeavours see him belonging to Amnesty International and supporting the United Nations.

In this interview with the Publisher of Event Diary Lifestyle, Princess Adeola Shittu, the Anesthesiologist went down the memory lane on his life, career and two Ministries. Enjoy!

Congratulations on the commissioning of your Radio Station, briefly tell us about yourself

I’m Dr. Ezekiel Akande, a Medical Doctor and Chairman/CEO of Glow 99.1 FM, Akure. I was born over 60 years ago and I am a native of Oke-agbe Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government area of Ondo state. I grew up in Oke-agbe before I left for the Eastern part of the country at the age of 6 to live with my uncle in Delta State and we later moved to Bayelsa State. I did my primary education in today’s Delta and Bayelsa States before I returned home for secondary education. I attended Ogun State Polytechnic in Abeokuta, Nigeria, where within one year I achieved my GCE Advanced Level qualifications in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. I proceeded to the University of Ibadan where I studied Medicine. I graduated from the University 38 years ago. After earning a medical degree from the University of Ibadan, I fulfilled my rotational internship and internal medicine residency at the University of Ife Teaching Hospital, Osun State. Precisely 20 years ago, I relocated to the United States to further my training, which includes; an internal medicine residency with Columbia University and anesthesiology residencies at Maimonides Medical Center and SUNY Stony Brook University Hospital. At Baystate Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Tufts University, where I completed my fellowship in pain management. Before then I had the opportunity to meet the son of former President Buhari and they were instrumental to my traveling aboard. And many years later I had the opportunity to pay back the family for their kind gesture.

To the glory of God, I established one of the foremost medical facilities in eastern Kentucky for comprehensive pain care and I have been the CEO and medical director of Somerset Regional Pain Center since 2012. 

Put us through your career as an Anesthesiology Doctor.

I started my early career tenure as an assistant clinical professor and attending physician at Columbia’s teaching affiliate Harlem Hospital. I also served as Director of Anesthesiology for Flagett Memorial Hospital. I was privileged to establish one of the foremost medical facilities in eastern Kentucky for comprehensive pain care. Where we treat patients with chronic pain conditions, we offer procedures ranging from trigger point injections to peripheral nerve blocks.

I won the American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award on multiple occasions. I am a member of numerous medical associations, including the International Association for the Study of Pain, the American Academy of Pain Management, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists. And I belong to Amnesty International and support the United Nations.

Put us through your growing-up days

I have a very lovely and memorable growing up days and those years remain my best years to date. I am from a very humble background and my sojourn to the eastern part of Nigeria was very impactful. I was sent to live with my Uncle in today's Delta State, Burutu area. It's a posh city very close to Delta State and in front of my primary school is an Ocean that merged with River Niger and they float into each other and this makes the water salty. You can imagine waking up every day to the ocean before you, my childhood was priceless and each time I remember how my childhood days were, I feel happy because the moment was useful. My uncle was a disciplinarian who would let your imagination run. He was later transferred to another place that had its amazing in its way, it was a rural village called Isampou in today's Bayelsa State, again I had a blast and nature became part of me. We were just 100 km away from River Niger and I remember my uncle will tell me to take my basket to the river, with the instructions that I should make sure the water does not pass my kneel, take my basket and deep it into the river and make sure you return home with whatever thing you find, sometimes I find fish or cramp and that will serve as our breakfast. And that was how I learned how to swim at the age of 7 years. My growing days were blissful, memorable and impactful. Again I grew up with my grandmother who impacted me with self-confidence and to her I was the most brilliant child in the world (laughing) and that led to me being a good student all through. Also, my Uncle, Mr. Enoch Aderemi Ajayi, retired from Total Nigeria Ltd, he was my sponsor throughout my university because I actualized his ambition of becoming a medical doctor, he imbibed the idea of being a Medical Doctor in me, and I couldn't let go of the ambition until I achieve it. He was my great motivator. You see everything works for each other, I applied for a visa and I was denied many times until I met former President Buhari's first Son, Musa in 1992 and I confided in him about my dream to travel out of the country but I have always been denied and he introduced me to his father and before I knew it, I was given a visa and that was how I moved to the US, for many years we were not getting in touch until I had the opportunity to say thank you to him when he became the President. 

You said your uncle inspired you to study Medicine, any regret so far?

I will respond with a few quotes, according to Socrates, "An undermined life is not worth living", also “If one can go through the life he lives again, he/she will never want the same experience", meaning you will not make the same choice, same decision, same journey, or take the same path, one will make a different choice while some will prefer. Going by the Yoruba adage that says, "Eni to o ba fẹ de oke, iwọ yoo dojukọ idiwo pupọ" meaning "If you want to reach the top, you will confront a lot of obstacles". I have my share and you also have yours, in life a little rain must fall (meaning trouble) so one has to look for the meaning of its obstacles, when you see the meaning of your troubles it becomes easy for you to bear, but when you don't take the time to find the meaning for your trouble, that, is this going to build me or what can I do rather than pointing fingers. In my case, I am grateful to God, I have no regrets and whatever obstacle I might have encountered along the line prepared me for where I am today that is my philosophy in life and it has been working for me.

What is the ministry all about?

I practised for some years before I went into private practice and many years later I got inspired in a very weary way, I heard a voice, telling me to have two ministries for my people. It became constant, the voice of God specifically told me to have a radio station and a hospital. The hospital I can confirm, which is just the normal progression for someone who is a doctor and has lived abroad for a while, owing a hospital is the first thing they will think of but a radio station is a no way for me. At first, I thought it was my imagination when the inspiration to own a radio station was coming because it would come and go for days and after days and months the taught is back again. So, I felt I should explore the idea by making it happen and the moment I started to put my resources on the soil, things began to happen in a way I couldn't explain. Everything was happening in a fast way.  

Until recently you are based in the US, how were you able to achieve this?

I believe when God is involved in something it becomes easy and seamless and in everything one is doing, you will know you are on the right path. Sometimes it might be difficult at the beginning because God might be testing our perseverance but the moment I decided to float the radio station, He made it easy for me. For instance; we were able to acquire our current location with the assistance of my friend, who helped in sealing the deals we needed in acquiring the property. You see the birth of the radio station was a collective effort of many people who sacrificed their time, the likes of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II and the fact that I had a relationship with the immediate past President, Mohammodu Buhari for the actualisation of this dream.

Speaking about your two ministries, with your experience, your exposure and your philosophy of life, what inspired you to have such a multimillion naira project sited in Akure, Ondo State and not Lagos State for example?

As I said, the birth of the radio station was an instruction given to me by God and when I decided to start the project, I was not thinking of any other place than Akure the capital of Ondo State because that is our Lagos, our own London, and our own United States. Don't forget I am an Akoko man and the best place to establish such a project is here (Akure) a business district in the Sunshine State. And it's my little way of contributing to the economic and social development of our state. 

What is the motivation behind this project?

Hmmm, Motivate, the only motivation behind this, is that God wants me to create a platform that will give a voice to my people; my people in Akoko have been marginalised, the same thing with Ese-Odo and other areas, marginalised in terms of information. It is not ok for our leaders to come every 4 years when they need our vote without proper arrangements for their welfare. We have to engage them and make them commit to their word and to achieve this, we need to invite them to the table where we can discuss our welfare, it's no longer business as usual, we don't want people who will only come back after 4 years to ask for our votes. There is a need to engage the people, to engage the youth because 70% of our population is youth under 30 years, maybe in another decade it might be 80% but as it is now no sit at the table for them and it's very scary. The only way to engage the youth is by making information available to them and they should be carried along. The motivation is simply to give voice to the voiceless citizens of Ondo State and its environment.

Nigerian Youth need to be informed with the right information they need to know from the government. Until recently when few youths were finding their way to the seat of power, it used to be the elderly ones and we need to have more youth in government. We are not talking about a 40-year-old lawmaker or someone in his late 40s, we need youth below 30 in government because we are in a country where the life expectant is 54 years. Look at the government from the local government council to the state legislative and even the House of reps and Senate, we can count the numbers of youth in the government because they are made to feel that if they don't have money, they can’t have a voice and this act is leading them to find means of survival. I can remember when I finished my school cert then, it was easy to get a job, some of us were offered Jobs in the comfort of our homes but today the story is far different. Don't forget that the power of radio broadcasts is more than other forms of media. Information on the radio goes more viral than one can imagine. The words we speak are very powerful but the fact remains that, many of us don't know how powerful word we speak is, a word said by someone can cause commotion in Akure within a second and the Bible says "By their word, they are justified and by their words they at commend". What we need is information that will guard us, impact people's lives and a legacy that will change the narrative of how people think and see themselves. That is the work of information and power to our society.

How do you come about the name "Glow"?

The name Glow was a spiritual birth. Some time ago, a woman of God crossed my path and I said to her, I have a project and I need a name for it, let us brainstorm together spiritually to get the name. And she said we should put it in prayer. The following day, we met and I reviewed my vision with her, I saw a light that radiated around the world and I then asked her what revelation she had and she said, she saw a white light in the sky. So we were playing around with the vision, and we debated on how the logo would be with a reflection of light on it. Because I needed the best, I contacted someone in Bangladesh to get us the impression and that was how the name Glow came. Again we had a little issue, we doubted if the name would be registered because we have Glo but the name was accepted and we registered it and we registered the trademark also. I said to myself that God indeed is at work.

 Are you a politician?

I am a trained Medical Doctor with over 20 years of experience, an author and a business icon, am not a politician nor am I a card-carrying member of any political party in Nigeria and I try to be independent, though I support and I make contributions to the campaign of my friends who are into politics. I am an independent person, just like how the radio house is independent. For instance, I supported and contributed to the campaign of former President Mohammodu Buhari and I was even featured on CNN and granted lots of interviews on various political issues surrounding the presidential election and what he was going to do for Nigerians if elected then, I did that because I know him, he is a kind man that is impressed with anyone with humility because he is an humble who is not impressed with wealth. I will do the same for my friends. 

Hmmm, Sir with the number of Radio Houses in Ondo State, some individuals believe you floated the radio station because you are going into politics, how true is this?

As I said, I am not a politician but that does not mean I am not interested in the politics of my state and my country. Everybody is a political animal. So if I am not interested in the politics of my country and my state where I invest a huge capital, what do I gain? I used to live in America, and I was always on CNN to discuss issues because I live there, my family and my properties are there, so l want to know everything going on there and how it will impact me. When the election comes, I have my favourite among them. So Ondo State should not be an exemption because I was born here in Ondo State and my extended family members are here, so I should have an interest in the politics of the state. Having said that, I am for everybody and my doors are widely open to everyone. During the commissioning, I invited everyone because they were all my friends but due to Akeredolu's burial, many of them didn't show up, even Gov. Aiyedatiwa was not available, so the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi sent a representative. Before the event, I was advised to postpone the event for the week, for them to attend but I said no. And I was happy the prominent Royal Father were present, the likes of Oba Aladetoyinbo the Deji of Akure land, Oba Victor Kiladejo the Osemawa of Ondo kingdom and prominent man of God in the state, Prophet Samsom Oluwamodede, General Overseer of Prayer Center Ministry, the Chief Imam of Akureland, and host of others were present. The station is for every political party and that is why its slogan is Voice of the Voiceless, everyone will have his or her own opinion on the preferred aspirant they want to govern the state.

Are you fully back in Nigeria?

Yes, though my family and properties are over there. But this is my home and I am more comfortable here and I appreciate the atmosphere.

How prepared are you for the challenges ahead as a Radio station owner?

God has only used me to establish it, the success of the radio is on everyone, from the management to the staff, community and you. Every business has its challenges, so we look forward to it. Don't forget that challenges are part of what makes one great. We have put in our best to employ the service of the best hands in the industry who are working for us. We consider three things, they are the best, they are passionate and they are creative. We also consider people who could think outside the box and do things differently. In my view, I will say we are ready for the challenges because without them, we won't be able to make an impact and develop ourselves, we will be too comfortable in our comfort zone. It will interest you to know that some business owner creates their challenges by meeting with their opponents, for instance, the famous Williams sisters, who are world tennis players, their father used to recruit people secretly to insult and bully them, according to him, he is doing that to prepare them for the challenges ahead of their future as they grow in their career. One thing I know is that I want everyone to do the best they can do; when the challenges come we will handle them by the grace of God.

You will agree with me that the economy is harsh now and breaking even for business owners is not easy, how do you intend to break even in this new field (Radio Business)?

Truly the economy is hard but I believe that, what you see, and what you accept is what you get. I believe the economy will improve, I believe that this year will be the end of hardship in Nigeria and by this time next year, things will turn around for good in our country. The recent protest on hunger in the land was laughable to me, the reason is, that people leading the protests are healthy people and they don't even know what we want as a country. The fact is Nigerians don't have a voice, we are not getting enough information from the government and we don't know what is happening in our society, talk less of the country and the next thing we are shouting is hunger. You see if our government can improve on Security of life and property, improve electricity and have access to basic amenities the country is going to go. For instance, in my town in Akoko, we don't know anyone in Lagos nor change in power rather what they know is farming, we want to plant and harvest it, so what they pray for is rain on the land but when there is no rain, their harvest will not grow and they won't be happy because they rely on the land. Today how many of us are into farming, we have all relocated to Lagos for greener pastures, leaving the farm for whom we are shouting hunger, calling out on the government over the cost of living. Lagos is good for those who have the money. In my case, my family owns a large farmland in Akoko but we all left it to look for greener pastures. Government can not do everything for us, we should also provide solutions and let us stop this surviving and smiling syndrome. All of us can not relocate or live in Lagos, because it does not have land for farming.

Let's talk about your second ministry; the Radio House is located in Akure, which the Deji of Akure described as a welcome development for the town. On the other hand, Oba Osemawe have offered to give you land for the construction of the hospital, any plan to establish it in Ondo?

Thank you so much, though plans are ongoing and the second ministry is a modified state-of-the-art hospital.

I appreciate the two Royal fathers for their concern for the development of the State. I thank God for allowing me to do what I am doing for my country, though it was a difficult decision I took the fact that the two projects are my legacy and they will survive me. They are not for today and when I am long gone, the facilities will still be there and we will make sure it does. 

You are a great giver, what inspired you to give and any plan for floating an NGO?

That is one aspect I have kept off the social media and I remain anonymous to my giver. And that is my way of saying, thank you Father for allowing me to reach out to the people. The Bible says to whom much is given, much is expected. Despite what God has done for me, I still ask for me and we have some people out there, who don't have at all and the little you are giving them will make a difference. No plan for an NGO and have been doing this for years. We used to give them money but the mistake I made then was that they knew that I was the one behind it. You see, it's difficult to give and one has to be careful when you are giving out, because you can give and God will be angry with you, what you give can change a destiny while God wants him or her to experience some and due to your giving, things take another shade, God can punish one for that. I learned that the best charity one can do is anonymous to anonymous, the giver does not know who received it and the receiver does not know who the giver is. 

As a man who appreciates culture and tradition, your full white regalia match the traditional bead and it speaks volumes, what inspired your look?

Thank you for your observations, I dress to suit occasions. Before coming to Nigeria, I had well over 200 designer suits and corporate wear in the US. I felt coming back home, should not be about suits but rather, the promotion of our culture, mostly in Nigeria native wears and they look good on me. I love to look good and I appreciate beautiful things and all I can do to promote our tradition and culture is to embrace our style of dressing in this part of the country. Coming to my white outfit for the commissioning, the colour white symbolises peace and purity which I stand for. I love culture and most time I’m moved by the Spirit.

What do you do to unwind?

Happiness is free and I relax when I am interacting with people. I love to have people around me, I meditate a lot and I love to write books. I am a family man and I relax having them around me.

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