September 25, 2008

Ace broadcaster, Yinka Craig, dies in America

The protracted cancer of the bloodstream which has kept ace broadcaster, Yinka Craig bed-ridden for months, finally claimed his life at about 6.00a.m on Tuesday in Rochester, Minnesota, United States of America.

Craig, who has suffered greatly from the ailment, died at Mayo Clinic where he was receiving treatment thus putting a final stop to his 40 eventful years as broadcaster-producer at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). Aged 60, the late Craig was loved by all and sundry as he was a household name among television loving Nigerians, both old and young.He is survived by wife, Dr Kehinde Craig and three children.

It would be recalled that the late Yinka Craig battled with his ailment for months before the Lagos State government donated the sum of N15 million out of the N38 million needed for his treatment. The donation enabled Craig to be flown to America where h e was hospitalized. Following this, hopes were raised that the once bubbling and humorist broadcaster would bounce back to life and return to his beat at the N TA. It was, therefore, a tragedy to learn of his death yesterday.

Loved and highly respected by the high and the low, the late Craig was a favourite of top government functionaries, politicians, industrialists, monarchs and diplomats. He was also until his death, a man of many parts. He was known to be multi-talented, quick-witted and incredibly knowledgeable about many things. He exhibited his knowledge about astronomy and space technology, as well as computer science, outside entertainment for which he was most popular. Aside this, Craig was equally knowledgeable about sports, politics and oil explorations.

He was, among others, a comedian with an incredible mastery of rib-cracking anecdotes, just as he was an entertainer extra-ordinaire and a talented instrumentalist – he used to play the guitar the same way he was perfect on the piano and saxophone. He was also a singer and composer aside being a voracious reader.

As a thorough professional, the late Craig spent most part of his life in radio and television. He was an outstanding broadcaster with a knack for innovative programmes. He was a major and favourite anchor of such programmes as Newsline, Sports and AM Express. One of his closest friends who was quite devastated by Craig’s ailment described him as “a broadcaster who warmed the hearts of his audience with his immutable style of presentation, genteel humor and a characteristic toothy smile. His 40 years in broadcasting, from the days of the old WNBS, is almost as old as the history of broadcasting in independent Nigeria.”

In a prompt reaction to Craig’s death, Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State said yesterday that Craig’s exit is not just a great loss to the state, but also to the country and the journalism profession.
Daniel, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Wale Adedayo, also observed that the late Craig could be listed among the first 11 who have done the country proud in his chosen profession.

According to Daniel, Craig was “one of the first 11 of TV professionals in Nigeria. His passion, professionalism and sense of patriotism in a profession that prides itself as an epitome of quality service was almost without equal…” We pray that Almighty will grant his family, friends and colleagues the fortitude to bear the loss.”

However, all efforts by Daily Sun to contact his family proved abortive yesterday as a close friend informed of the incident. The man who spoke anonymously confirmed Craig’s death but declined to comment or give his tributes saying “we are just trying to contact his wife (Dr Kehinde Craig) and I don’t think we should start lamenting his death on the pages of the newspaper.”

Also, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, described the death of the sportscaster, as shocking and a great loss to Nigeria. Fashola, in a press statement signed by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oyeyemi Bamidele, said the renowned broadcaster would be greatly missed by Lagosians having lived all his life, and attained professional excellence in Lagos.
While expressing his condolence to the bereaved family and friends, Governor Fashola, beseeched God Almighty grants them the strength to bear the loss.

Also expressing pains and shock at the demise of the T.V presenter, his former colleague and ex-Director General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Alhaji Danladi Bako, described Craig as a quintessential gentleman.
“He remains one of the most efferverescecy, most professional and most irrepressible broadcaster, Nigeria ever had. He knew a bit of everything and everything about a bit,” Danladi noted.courtesy sunonile

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