In Memoriam: Femi Adebesin-Kuti, the jovial, inspiring, Nigerian photojournalist

Nigerian photojournalist Femi Adebesin-Kuti Popularly called “Eshin” by close friends and colleagues died on Thursday, January 5, 2023, after a brief illness.

“We received the sad news of the passing of our dear brother, Femi Adebesin-Kuti, Photo Editor of the Guardian Newspapers which occurred in the early hours of today with great shock.” Those were the words of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) Lagos chairman, Adeleye Ajayi, condoling with the family of the deceased and members of the Photojournalist Association of Nigeria.

Femi before the time of his death worked with The Guardian Newspaper as a photojournalist for the publication giving pictured stories of the headline of the frontpage or the big stories the newspaper had for that day.

According to Alabi Williams, Editor , Guardian Newspapers, Femi was full of life and calm despite the stress of the job.

“I looked forward to encountering him around 7.pm to give me pictures for the day. Sometimes , he tarried and when you felt like barking, he would respond saying ‘Oga mi, na server’, meaning to say the server slowed him down from delivering the pictures in time. But the pictures always came,” Williams recalls.

It is a painful exit of Kuti for Femi Adekoya, Business Editor at the Guardian who also worked closely with him and could not believe he was writing about his colleague in past tense.

Adekoya remembers Kuti for being jovial and being “the life of the newsroom”.

Being a photojournalist in the city of Lagos is not as easy as it sounds as these brave men take to every corner of the city encountering “Area boys” who despise camera men. Yet Kuti “survived numerous attacks on Lagos roads and came out stronger and undeterred.”

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Apart from capturing events locally, Adebesan-Kuti loved one thing for sure, football. His love for the sport took him to the grandest stages at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and Russia in 2018 as one of the official photographers capturing the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they played at the tournaments. You will tell he loved to meet other photojournalists from all over the world as he shared pictures of himself playing around with them at the stadiums with their cameras strapped around their bodies like a soldier with guns and rifles going in for battle.

Adebesan was regarded as one who inspired the younger generation of photojournalists after him.

Wale Amoo, photojournalist of BusinessDay media, remembers Kuti as a teacher and one who would look out for younger professionals in his field and put them on the right track.

“Femi was a good man to everyone who worked with him. He was a blessing to photojournalism in Nigeria,” Amoo said.

Another Nigerian Photojournalist Pooja who was at the recently concluded Fifa World Cup in Qatar remembers Kuti’s promise to him.

“He promised to be at my photography training workshop,” he said.

According to Pooja, Kuti inspired the new generation, gave tips and was always ready to help them. The same kind of legacy Pooja was trying to pass down to the newer generation of photographers at his workshop where Kuti was invited.

“He was more than a colleague to many of us but a father figure in the industry,” he added.

The management and staff of BHM Holdings sent their heartfelt condolences to his family and members of staff of the Guardian Newspaper in a press statement.

Adebesin-Kuti, was regarded by Ayeni Adekunle, CEO, BHM as a friend and strong supporter of BHM and sister company, ID Africa.

“He was a multiple award-winning journalist with a keen eye for storytelling. He was loved by his peers in the media and partners in the marketing communications industry. Femi Adebesin-Kuti also inspired and mentored many young professionals during his decades-long career.We are grateful for the opportunity we had to work with him through the years. His sense of humour, enthusiasm and positive energy will be sorely missed,” Adekunle added.

Hailing from a muslim background in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Kuti was buried on the same day of his death according to Islamic rites. After diving a little into his professional life, you can describe Kuti as a teacher, the jovial, football loving photojournalist who loved his profession as much as he loved to share with the world what he loved about it through his lenses. May he Rest In Peace.

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