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Naija Times debuts, committed to building egalitarian society

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Publisher/Editor-in-chief, Ehi Braimah (left); Chairman of Editorial Advisory Board, Akpandem James and Editorial Director, Jahman Anikulapo

As part of effort aimed at offering factual, balanced and credible reporting of news and current affairs about Nigeria and the world, Naija Times, a new online newspaper, was formally introduced to a global audience on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

Published by Daniel & David Communications Limited, Naija Times will serve Nigerians at home and abroad. According to the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Ehi Braimah, the newspaper aims “to build an egalitarian society that is founded on equity, justice and respect for fundamental human rights.”

Although, in strict observance of the COVID-19 protocols, few people were physically present at the venue of the unveiling of the website, hundreds of Nigerians and friends of the country from around the world witnessed the virtual presentation of the online publication.

On the mission of the medium, the Publisher stated: “We want the paper to be known for reporting stories that are factual, credible and balanced, to attain the highest standards of ethical journalism. We will be looking at all the relevant sides of a story and presenting the same on our various platforms.”

While noting that the Nigeria media ecosystem is ravaged by “copy and paste journalism and unethical practices”, Braimah said Naija Times as an independent online newspaper, “is a bold response to intervene in and mitigate the current situation of the Nigeria media ecosystem, which has been polluted with outright fake and often unverified news presented in unethical and unprofessional manner since the opening of the new media space by the internet.”

Stating the objective of the new medium, which he hinted was inspired by the general lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Braimah said, “we are not going to reinvent the wheel of journalism practice, but we will strive to maintain the time-honoured ethics of professional practice through in-depth investigative reports, news analysis, incisive feature and human-angle stories, as well as cartoons and special Interest offerings, among others.”

Giving a hint on the content of the paper, Braimah, a well- known media practitioner and regular contributor to some newspapers, said, “we have identified credible and resourceful Nigerians in the Diaspora who will share their experiences in our Diaspora File section. We shall also have diverse writers, columnists and Global Brand Ambassadors as we seek to do things differently. We also have The ‘Abroadians section’, which is a short take of life in the Diaspora of not more than 150 words.”

On the members of the Editorial Advisory Board, he said, it comprises “distinguished professional and business persons, university dons, media practitioners and public policy analysts who will be looking at topical contemporary issues and taking a stand on them. Our Editorial will be published on a weekly basis – every Monday – on issues relating to Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.”

“We are convinced that if Nigeria is to tap a tenth of what our economy is capable of, we would discover that the economy is under-staffed. We would need more hands to work in the various sectors of the economy: agriculture, aviation, education, maritime, mining, music and movies, oil and gas, tourism and general entertainment,” said Braimah.

Chairman of the paper’s Editorial Advisory Board, Akpandem James, reiterated the mission of the publication, premised on its motto: Journalism in service of the society. “We are here today to formally unveil our new project, an online newspaper which we have decided to christen Naija Times, a name deliberately chosen to connect with our people,” stated James, former editor of Daily Independent and later CEO of the Independent Newspapers.

He continued: “We started working on this project when the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed across the country, and globally, and it would amount to stating the obvious if I say that we have been working really hard to get to where we are today.

“We are determined to continue the hard work so as to achieve our goal and keep our word of driving journalism in the service of the people,” said James, also a member of the governing board of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism.

“I can say that in the coming months, our presence will be tangibly felt in the Nigerian media landscape as we are set to get into the consciousness of the people through well researched and packaged offerings,” he stated.

Chairman of the launch, Prince Julius Adewale Adelusi-Adeluyi, said at a time when the country is deeply challenged on so many fronts, the emergence of Naija Times is a welcome development for Nigeria and Nigerians.

“I’m convinced the online newspaper is good to go. The names of people working
together with Ehi to pilot Naija Times show that the platform means business. It is an intimidating array of professionals,” said Adelusi-Adeluyi, founder and chairman of Juli Pharmacy Plc, who is also a former Minister of Health and Social Services, and past Group Chairman of Oodua Investment conglomerate.

The Chairman continued: “With the quality of people at Naija Times, I’m convinced the newspaper will be among the top 10 newspapers, if not top five, before December this year.”

While unveiling the website, Braimah said, “Naija Times has been carefully designed to be easily recognisable as a newspaper brand in the world in terms of content and character. There shall be different sections in the newspaper but prominence will be given to reports on Business & Economy, Politics & Governance, Technology & Innovation, Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Sport, Arts, Culture and Tourism, Entertainment and General News.”

In his goodwill message to the event, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, urged the promoters of the medium to stay committed to the vision espoused in its founding principles, in spite of the challenging environment of operation.

Some members of the 17-man editorial advisory board of the medium also spoke at the event. Professor Darren Kew of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA, said he believes the paper will serve the best interest of Nigeria.

Kew who has been coming to Nigeria since 1993 and wrote his doctoral dissertation on democracy and conflict prevention in Nigeria, solicited the support of Nigerians for the publication.

Another member of the board, Professor Nduka Otiono of Carleton University, Ottawa in Canada, expressed confidence in the team that has brought Naija Times to life. The literary writer and former Arts Editor of the defunct Post Express, who is a regular commentator on Nigerian affairs, also called for support for the publication to attain its goals.

President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, LCCI, Toki Mabogunje, who is also a member of the editorial board, said she was confident that the paper would be a blessing to the people of Nigeria everywhere they are in the world.

On the content of the newspaper, Dr. Reuben Abati, former Chairman Editorial Board of The Guardian, now the lead anchor of Arise Television’s The Morning Show, who was the compere of the event, said the paper is like a “supermarket of ideas” with many floors of goods that will cater to the interest of the diverse segments of society.

In her closing remarks, Mrs. Braimah gave a hint of the “hard work and sleepless nights” that went into setting up the online newspaper. She gave the assurance that Nigerians will find great value in the publication, and urged the guests and the readers all over the world to see the medium as their own platform to contribute to the growth of the society.

Editorial Director, Jahman Anikulapo, thanked everyone for their support, friendship, participation and the goodwill the new publication will enjoy in the days and years ahead.


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