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Our father trained us with iron hand – George Timawus Mathias

George Timawus Mathias is the Managing Director of Amana FM, a private radio station based in Gombe State. He is the fourth child of Chief…

George Timawus Mathias is the Managing Director of Amana FM, a private radio station based in Gombe State. He is the fourth child of Chief Timawus Mathias, a veteran broadcaster who was a General Manager with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), a columnist and media consultant. In this interview, he talks about fun memories while growing up, his father’s sense of discipline and more. Excerpts:


Daily Trust: How would you describe your father?

George Timawus Mathias:  I will describe my father as my best friend, my guardian and someone who is strict to a point. He is knowledgeable and reads a lot. He lets you choose your path in life.  He would give you all the options and tell you that you can be good at whatever you want to be.

DT: What was your relationship with him like while growing up?

George:  Growing up was fun. I used to take his camera and play with it, pretending that I was filming. He would admonish me not to destroy it. I remember a Betamax camera and a still image camera. All the while I played with the cameras, I never knew they were spoilt. My father was fun to be with. Once he returns from work he devotes all his time to the family. Also, when he brings some of his work home, he lets his children experience what it’s like at work. So, growing up with him was a lovely and beautiful experience. He taught me how to conduct an interview by asking my uncles. He also taught me how to use a camera.

 DT: What fun childhood memory do you have about him?

George: There are a lot. The one I can still remember was when he used to take us out on a picnic. The entire family also went to nice places across the country. I can’t forget such memorable experiences. He likes travelling by road, so we traveled to nice spots in Adamawa and other parts of the country. One good thing is, wherever we stopped at, there was always someone there that knew him. So, as a child, that really inspired me. I used to think he knows everyone by name and they also know him.

DT: When did you realize that your father is a renowned Nigerian?

George: That was when he was the General Manager of the NTA in the defunct Gongola State. Whenever we went out, we used to hear people saying ‘Timawus Mathias, GM NTA Yola’, and so on. That was when we realized that our father was known everywhere.

 DT: How did your father sound and how did you feel when you first heard his voice on the radio or watched him on TV?

George: It was quite a long time ago. But I was excited because I received many phone calls from my friends telling me that they saw my dad on TV.  It gave me that hype that my father is known everywhere. Before he goes on air, he always practiced at home and I always watched him. On TV his presentation was always better than the practice at home.

 DT: What misconception about him do you want to correct?

George: Most people think he is easy going, so they believed that his kids were spoilt. But that is wrong. He held and still holds his family with an iron hand. While growing up, he lets you know that you don’t have to flog a child for the child to be obedient. He always says “teach the child how to fear the cane without flogging him.”

DT: What easily gets him upset?

George: One thing I know for sure is that he doesn’t like lies. He prefers you tell him the truth, whatever it is. He hates lies and it gets him upset. Another is disobedience.

DT: If he wasn’t a broadcaster, what other profession do you think he would have excelled at?

George: I would say a preacher. He has a way of encouraging you whenever you are down.  He could also have been a musician because he sings a lot and plays a lot of music. He composes his own songs and his lyrics are strong.

 DT: What value of his have you imbibed?

George: I would say his hard work and perseverance. He was a general manager of NTA Yola when he was my age and now I am a managing director of a radio station. So, I think the fruit is not far from the tree. He put time and hard work into whatever he did, bent his back to help others and I think this is why he is successful. Everyone in the house also picked that from him.

DT: Did he influence your decision to join journalism?

George: No, he didn’t. it is something I grew into. Then, I was the only person in the family that wasn’t in that line, but later I had to cue in since it was something that was in the family. All my three siblings; Fiyigow, Nori and Mark, are also journalists.

DT: When you are with him these days, what do you usually talk about?

George: We discuss about the family, business and not much of politics.

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