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Emmanuel Adagogo Jaja (1934-2015), A Tribute




EMMANUEL Adagogo Jaja, “one of the most distinguished journalists of his generation”, and former Managing Director of the Daily Times of Nigeria, has died aged 80. He was appointed Managing Director of the Daily Times of Nigeria in March 1980 after serving as Group Deputy Chief Executive and Acting Group Chief Executive in 1975 and 1976, after the Federal Government acquired 60 per cent of its equity. Jaja served in the above capacity until his retirement in 1984 and subsequent re-appointment as Director on the Group Board of the Daily Times in January 1988 in recognition of his past services to the company.

Jaja was born in Opobo, a member of the King Jaja dynasty from Queen Osunju Jaja House and Chief Oko-Jaja House, Opobo Town. He was the son of the late Emmanuel Jaja and Hannah. He grew under the care of his loving uncle, the late Mr. Gordon William Jaja who supported young Emmanuel through his education in the former British Cameroons and Edo College, Benin.

Jaja began his career on the copy desk of the “West African Pilot” (Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Newspaper Group), before he joined the Daily Times of Nigeria in 1956 as Sub Editor when Percy Roberts was the General Manager –who later became Chairman of the Daily Mirror Newspapers Limited in London. He worked with other eminent Nigerian editors like Ebun Adesioye, Gab Idigo, Kanu Offonry, Babatunde Jose and Abiodun Aloba.

He won a Commonwealth Press Union Fellowship in 1961, which provided professional training for him on the London Daily Mail, under the late Mr. Hardcastle, the Editor and Mr. Derek Ingram, Assistant Editor. This was followed by further training on the Evening News and Sunday Herald in Plymouth, South of England and certificate studies in Commonwealth Relations and Politics at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University. He received consistent journalism training on the London Daily Mirror under Cecil King, Mr. Hugh Cudlipp and Mr. Percy Roberts who were to become successively Chairmen and Chief Executives of the International Publishing Corporation later, the Daily Mirror newspapers, London.

Jaja attended management training and exposition courses for newspaper executives from Africa and the US at Columbia University in 1965. Throughout his career, he travelled extensively in Europe, the United States and Asia, undergoing journalism, business and management courses, including management development courses run by Management Centre Europe in Copenhagen, Brussels, Belgium and in Lake Como, Italy. He also studied a series of courses run by the Mirror Group Newspapers and the International Publishing Corporation of London (now TimeInc.UK).

He progressed through assignments as Chief Sub Editor, Daily Times and Evening Times (1957); News Editor, Daily Times (1958-1959); Features Editor, (1960); Deputy Editor and later Acting Editor of the Daily Times in 1961.

From 1962 to 1964, he was Editor of Sunday Times, “Africa’s largest circulating Sunday newspaper South of the Sahara”, and was thereafter Personal Assistant to the Chairman and Managing Director of the Daily Times. He was appointed Executive Manager responsible for the Group magazine production and marketing enterprise in 1965 and promoted to the post of Deputy General Manager. He was appointed Director of the group board of the Daily Times and Chief Executive of the Newspaper Division from 1970 to 1974.

In this position, he directed and controlled all the 13 publications in the Group achieving an all-time high circulation and advertising results in the four-year trading period of his administration of the Division. As a result, he was further promoted to the post of Group Assistant Managing Director in early 1975 after a successful and commendable service in the newspaper publishing enterprise of the company.

In August 1982, Jaja was commended and cited by the Commonwealth Press Union as one of the few African journalists who have been able to weather the storm to get to the top of their chosen profession.

Following his retirement, he continued as a businessman, holding positions as Chairman of Associated Printers & Publishers Ltd and Director of Media Services (PR) and Director of African University Press, Educational Publishers; Pilgrim Industries Ltd; Victory Insurance Brokers, Lagos and Director of OMM Ltd (Packaging).

He was the author of King Jaja of Opobo — A Sketch History of the Development and Expansion of Opobo and contributing author, Eminent Nigerians of the Rivers State, edited by Prof. T.N. Tamuno and Professor E.J. Alagoa, published by Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria Ltd. He co-authored his last book, Aspects of British Gunboat Diplomacy — Jaja King of Opobo, with his son.

Emmanuel Adagogo Jaja was born November 20, 1934. Until his passing away, he lived in Lagos but made regular visits to his home Town, Opobo in Rivers State. He was married to the late (Mrs) Ineba Belona Jaja and he is survived by his children.

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