The making of a Nigerian Flagship
Remarks by Aaron Ukodie, co-author of The Making of A Nigerian Flagship: A Story of The Guardian, during the book’s launch, which held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos… recently.
The process of writing the book that is about to be unveiled started sometime in September 2019. That was when Mr. Ogunseitan and I decided to document the story of the Guardian and our recollections of our time at The Guardian.
The Guardian newsroom was an interesting place to work as a journalist, between 1983 and 1993, the time frame, which the book covered.
Those of us who were there at the time as reporters, were very competitive in generating stories; what mattered to us then were exclusive stories and we jostled for whose story would make the lead copy. Rutam House was a bubbly place. Our jostle for exclusive stories to hit The Guardian front page was vivacious. It was the only passion that stirred us. We enjoyed working there, even though that period recorded some sad occurrences. The friendships and camaraderie were such that some of the men left the place with valuable gifts, jewels of inestimable values.
The times we enjoyed at The Guardian couldn’t have been possible without the foresight and the entrepreneurial disposition of our founding publisher, Mr. Alex Uruemu Ibru, a man of noble character and calm disposition. It is in recognition of his sterling contribution to robust and unmatched journalism and commentary that we honour him today. His traditional white buba and Sokoto and signature reticence were known to all.
Interviewing about 16 of our bosses and some of our colleagues to gather materials for this book was not easy, but the strategy of pulling almost all the key figures of that era into a digital platform made it possible for us to gather more materials, authenticate facts and narrations. It helped us to get our seniors and colleagues at The Guardian to buy into the project and support us. The result of their support is the inclusion of the personal reflections and recollections of 40 of them of our days during the time in the book, a section of the book that you would enjoy reading.
My colleague, Seun, during the vote of thanks would surely express our appreciations to those who helped us immensely to make this book possible. But I want to quickly mention up front some of those who made this task easy for us, should memory and time fail Seun to do justice to his task. You would read in the book how wonderful Mr. Lade Bonuola and Kusa are in their chosen profession of journalism. They were our beacons in the newsroom. We cannot pay them for their assistance in helping us get materials for this book. Professor Onwuchekwa Jemie and Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi were ever supportive. So were, Dr. Patrick Cole, Professor Jide Oluwajuyitan, Kingsley Osadolor, Sully Abu, Ted Iwere and Emeka Izeze. I remember one certain day, in the course of writing I opened my mailbox, what I saw was very valuable material from Lanre Idowu. It helped us fill an important gap in our narration. In fact all the 256 members of ‘When The Flagship Led’ WhatsApp platform were marvelous. We couldn’t have succeeded without them.
Mr. Vice President, Sir we are greatly honoured that you would find time to be here with us, knowing the many challenges of our time and how they occupy your attention daily. The day I came to see your Special Assistant, Media, Pastor Laolu Akande, in Abuja to give him a letter inviting you to this event I was only testing the biblical injunction that says: Seek, you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you, ask and you shall receive. Now I know, even more so, that it works.
Welcome Sir. It is also not easy for governors to leave their stations at this moment in our nation’s history when they daily are handling or thinking of how to handle the security challenges in their various states. We welcome the governors and their representatives to this occasioned. Seun and I are greatly honoured by your presence.
This is a welcome remark. So, all the dignitaries and the invited guests who have found time to honour this event, we welcome you and hope that when you buy the book you would not be disappointed reading its content.
May I please remind you that 20 percent of net income from proceeds of this book would be given to The Flagship Trust Foundation, the creation of the members of The Flagship Platform, which Senator Ayogu Eze would speak about when he is given an opportunity to make a remark.
God bless you and enrich your pockets from which you would bless the book abundantly this day with your substance, which we believe is valuable in many ways.
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