Epochal book on The Guardian for public presentation April 7
• Pioneer publisher, Alex Ibru, for honour
A book on how The Guardian was founded and eventually became the ‘Flagship of Nigerian journalism and media enterprise’ in the 1980s is due for public presentation in Lagos on April 7, 2021.
At the event, founding Publisher and Chairman of The Guardian Newspapers, the late Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru, will be honoured for his excellent and inspiring proprietorship by his former employees, almost four decades after his successful creation of an iconic media business.
Aaron Ukodie, the newspaper’s first communications correspondent, and O’seun Ogunseitan, science editor and environment issues writer, wrote the near-700-page book.
In writing the book, the duo brought together more than 300 of Nigeria’s best and brightest journalists over the last four decades, and particularly those who worked at The Guardian between 1983 and 1993, with a view to comprehensively telling the story of the newspaper and its formation.
The book, copiously documents the unique five years of planning and arrangements, which led to the birthing of The Guardian on February 27, 1983, as a weekly newspaper and five months later, in July 1983, as a daily. It revisits and reports on the newspaper’s stresses, strides, and achievements in its first 10 years. It also substantially honours and celebrates the memory and labour of some of Nigeria’s stars of yore, some of whom are still beacons of today’s media.
More than 100 former staff of The Guardian, including reporters, advert and marketing executives, administration and production personnel, as well as correspondents, editors, editorial board members, and directors of the company contributed to the richness and depth of the book.
The compendium includes first-person accounts from living members of the founding team such as an interview with Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, the late publisher’s wife and active participant in the formative years of the newspaper.
Other key persons reported in the book consist of Dr. Patrick Dele Cole, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, Mr. Lade Bonuola, Mr. Femi Kusa, Mr. Kingsley Osadolor, Mr. Yaya Awosanya, Mr. Sunmi Smart-Cole, Mr. Nick Iduwe, Mr. Wole Oke, Mr. Emeka Izeze, Senator Ayogu Eze, Mr. Ted Iwere, Prof Onwuchekwa Jemie, Prof Femi Osofisan, Prof. Jide Oluwajuyitan, Mr. Lanre Idowu, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Mr. Etim Etim, Greg Obong-Oshotse, Prof. Al-Bishaq, and Ambassador Debo Adesina.
Aremo Segun Osoba, the former Ogun State governor who was also Managing Director at Sketch newspaper and later Daily Times, and whose restless youthfulness may have triggered the berthing of The Guardian in the first place, wrote the foreword for the book.
The text contains reflections and recollections of almost 40 former staff who, in the first person pronoun, narrated their remarkable days at the media house. Ordinarily, their contributions are like bringing together almost 40 personal biographies to create a single concise, telling, and moving story.
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo is expected as a special guest of honour at the public presentation, which will also be graced by several ministers and a host of governors, led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Scores of senators and members of the House of Representatives and many leading politicians, serving and retired top brass of the Nigerian military, and barons of business and industry, are expected to join the topmost of the hierarchy of the Nigerian media, to grace the occasion that promises to be the biggest and most memorable celebration of one nostalgic era in Nigerian history
Twenty per cent of the proceeds from the event would go to a special national endowment for the needy and/or distressed journalists nationwide, including a Flagship Trust Fund for Journalists.
The book project earlier this year berthed the Flagship Trust Fund for journalists of The Guardian of that era, and it disbursed almost N5 million in support of some of its members.
Pioneer head of The Guardian’s Insight Team, Senator Ayogu Eze, who is also protem chairperson of the Fund, hinted at the possibility of expanding the existing structure to cater to the likely needs of some distressed Nigerian journalists and media practitioners after the book launch.