In memoir, Ibharuneafe reflects days in media
The Editor: My Sojourn in Journalism is the personal memoir of Solomon Omon Ibharuneafe. Magic2impression Digital Print, Lagos, Nigeria, published it this year. This autobiography has 14 chapters, 98 pages, one page of bibliography, and a foreword.
The paperback book can be read and finished in one day. I am inclined to start this review from the foreword, written by a colleague, Maureen Chigbo, publisher, and Editor of Realnews Magazine online. I, the reviewer, met her as the Business Editor at Newswatch Magazine. Chigbo’s foreword is a panegyric on Ibharuneafe’s checkered career in journalism.
Working under the eagle eyes of Maureen Chigbo at the business desk, Solomon learned fast. He excelled on the aviation beat, making the beat a money-spinner for both Newswatch and the defunct IRS Airlines. His effectiveness caught the eyes of IRS Airline’s management, culminating in their employing him as the head of its Corporate Affairs department. However, he took away from Newswatch the role he was destined to play in the larger society in the future of Nigerian politics as a public servant. Thus, he followed in the footsteps of some notable journalists such as former President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, former Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, former Central Bank governor and minister of Finance, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh and former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba.
Moreover, Solomon honed his skills in publicity and negotiation from Newswatch where he was the chapel’s chair of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. His leadership qualities came to the fore at that critical point when the magazine’s staff were owed many months’ salary. He took decisive actions and caused the liquidation of the salary arrears.
“As a good and tactical politician, I devised a style … I refused to visit any of the directors alone, each time I had any official matter to discuss, I would carry my executive members to ensure no miscarriage of information. This helped.
“The day I shocked the management was when they got some money, instead of paying the workers, they went to buy Avensis Toyota cars (tear rubber) for all the directors and top management staff while workers were groaning under hardship… Any sane man would know that the timing of the purchase of the cars was wrong. How on earth you would owe 15 months’ salary to your staff and you are buying new cars? I later discovered that the directors lacked nothing as their diesel, petrol, gas, etc, were constantly refilled at the detriment of the staff. This was man’s inhumanity to man.”
In summary, this book chronicles Solomon’s journey from the classroom to the newsroom. He also showcases his unique experiences during his travels outside Nigeria and his explorative journey into politics. My sojourn in Journalism also captured some of his thought-provoking articles on politics published in other newspapers, which elicited opprobrium in the book. All these attest to his scholarly approach to politics and governance. It is noteworthy that in spite of his tight schedule he could create time to write this book. That perhaps is due to his having a learned lawyer as a wife. And what with the incessant power failure, the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, which has plunged the world into panic and despair.
Ibharuneafe becomes a pacesetter, leading his generation by writing this autobiography. With the Nigerian Certificate in Education, Bachelor of Education in Economics, and a post-graduate degree in Journalism Solomon is set to turn around the political economy of Nigeria in general and the Edo State of Nigeria in particular. He is the recipient of the Esan Journalist of the Decade award and happily married to Barrister Caroline Aituaje Ibharuneafe, the principal partner at Carol Ibharuneafe & Company. I commend the book for your perusal.