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Heroes of Nigerian journalism



Sir: A few days ago, I was in a public commuter bus from Iyana Ipaja to CMS bus stop, on Lagos Island. Incidentally, a young man was reading one of my opinion in a daily newspaper. I was therefore, naturally curious to discuss with him.

I introduced myself to him and even showed him my handwritten copy of the article.

He introduced himself as a student of mass communication in one of Nigerian’s higher institutions.


I asked him about 10 questions relating to journalism. He barely answered two correctly including the name of the editor, the newspaper he was reading.

That of course, prompted this write-up. I begin to wonder about what lecturers’ now teach students of mass communication in our higher institutions.

In those days, the first assignment of a fresh mass communication student was to list daily, weekly newspapers and monthly magazines and the names of their editors.

When it comes to broadcasting, you will have to list names of newscasters and those presenting special programmes like sports.

The fourth estate of the realm in Nigeria sings of other heroes but has left several heroes of her own unsong. Many of them had gone to meet their creator and some are still alive.

Those that readily come to mind are:
Lateef Jakande, who was the editor and later managing director of Nigerian Tribune for many years. He later won an election to become the governor of Lagos State.

Apart from the building of Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Nigerian Union of Journalism has never instituted any annual programme in his honour.

Babatunde Jose was another icon that should not be forgotten so soon by NUJ. He was regarded as the doyen of journalism in Nigeria.

He introduced the employments of graduates in newspaper houses in Nigeria. Sain Amuka-Pema (sad sam) but now very, very happy Sam. Is it when he goes home to the Lord before NUJ would think of honouring him?

Segun Osoba is another icon, who rose from the ranks in journalism. If we turn to broadcasting Nigeria has a crop of good newscasters. In the early 1950’s Abba Zuru and Christopher Edden, a Camerounian, held sway on Nigerian broadcasting corporation. Later came Suleman Takuma, Kunle Olasope, Anike Agbaje-Williams and others.

The Enahoro brothers, Anthony, Peter and Mike should not be forgotten in a hurry by journalists in Nigeria. Anthony Enahoro played an unforgettable role in the history of Nigeria. He was the one who raise the motion for Independent of Nigeria. He was even jailed in 1954.

An interesting incident happened in Radio Nigeria, it was Mike Enahoro that told the world that his brother Anthony had been sent to prison.

Peter Enahoro (Peter Pan) held sway in the Daily Times of those days. Like the Ransom Kuit’s family, Enahoro family should have an important institution named after them.

Bisi Onabanjo (Aiyekoto) was another big wig in Nigeria Journalism. Thank God, Ogun State government named a University after him.

When it comes to running football commentaries, Isola Folorunso and Ernest Okonkwo led the pack.

Julie Coker was the darling on television at that time. Sadly, social media seems to have taken the wind out of the sail of journalism in Nigeria.

The profession has been thrown to the dogs. Evil bloggers without ethics are having field day. Definitely Nigeria needs a law to control these evil bloggers.

Dr. Sunday O. Ajai.

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