Hurray, Osadolor is 60
Kingsley Osayande Osadolor, journalist, lawyer, broadcaster, thinker, author, scholar, philosopher, the private and public administrator is 60 today, Saturday, August 15, 2020. In marking three scores on planet earth, Osadolor has no doubt made his years to count, as against counting his years, as George Meredith would prefer, especially with his masterful exemplification of the traits of Athena, the Greek goddess of intelligence, and for his excellent travels in journalism, which could gratify Joseph Pulitzer-an epitome of journalism feats.
Confident, calm, and contemplative, Osadolor bears the image of the cognitive, portraying an intuitive knowledge of the world around him, spiced by experiential pedagogy, and seeking opportunities to display the same. The opportunities came aplenty. At The Guardian newspapers, a paper of records, which redefined journalism practice, Osadolor was a factor, rising like a meteor to, first, man the East and Southern African beat, between 1987 and 1990-two years after joining.
That could not have been a surprise, sort of. The paper was reputed for recruiting the best and the brightest, showcasing writing excellence, a puritanical presentation style, and at a best as a laboratory of words. The Guardian was not just evangelical with the elasticity of letters, but was theatrical in reasoning, evening up to quality in creating awareness, in the provision of education, and in classic entertainment-the traditional trinity of a now fast fading journalism responsibility.
Second, because of The Guardian outlook, Osadolor, who finished with not just a rare First Class in Mass Communication, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1984, was the best overall graduating student at the University, plus being a Federal Government and a Foundation Scholar; found a home at The Flagship (the tagline of the illustrious newspaper)-just as the epistemic managers and helmsmen, including Felix Ibru, Stanley Macebuh, Lade Bonuola, Femi Kusa, Onwuchekwa Jemie, amongst others, found an asset in him. The dialectics converged, therefore, leading to a twenty-five-year sojourn in the Rutam House home of the newspaper.
In those years, he was prodigious, revealing his erudition in not only wise, witty, and elevated prose, but in the management of talented writhe of writers, aside from a passel of support staff. He was Reporter-Researcher (1985-1987) at The African Guardian magazine; Correspondent, East and Southern Africa based in Harare, Zimbabwe (1987-1990) for The African Guardian magazine and The Guardian newspapers; Deputy Editor, The Guardian (Daily) (1990-1992); Editor, The Guardian on Sunday (1992-1997); Member, Editorial Board (1997-1999); Deputy Editor-in-Chief/Deputy Managing Director (April 1999-Dec. 2000); Legal Adviser, Member Editorial Board, and Columnist (2001-2005, 2007-2010).
His legal responsibility followed his qualification as a lawyer, with, again, a top-notch Second Class Honours, Upper Division, at the University of Lagos in 1996. He additionally graduated from this university’s School of Post-Graduate Studies in 2010, with a Master’s Degree in Law. Osadolor is a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, a member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), and of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and then a member of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN).
And further to his roundedness, his expertise is not just in the written press. He is a co-anchor, Good Morning Nigeria, (7 a.m.–9 a.m. Weekdays), a market-leading Current Affairs programme, incorporating general and special interest news reports, newspaper review, and incisive conversations on burning issues, with high-profile guests, on the network service of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), famed Africa’s largest television network.
He has been commissioner for information in his native Edo State (Jan. 2011-Jan. 2013); and Special Assistant to a Minister of Information (May 2005-May 2007). Like many of his colleagues at The Guardian, who were excellent bridges between journalism and scholarship, betwixt ideation and praxis, and across intellection and a diurnal display of same, Osadolor has been a notable voice at lectures, seminars, workshops, and much else. On this score, he particularly shares a beat with another former The Guardian notable, Dr. Reuben Abati, who has an equal breadth taking scholarship pedigree.
And coterminous with them, are a range of newsroom engines, wordsmiths and literary impresarios, that would include Eluem Emeka Izeze, Ayogu Eze, Rasaq Adedigba, Debo Adesina, Banji Adisa, Gbenga Omotosho, Dupe Ajayi, Fred Ohwahwa, Akpo Esajere, Harriet Lawrence, Raheem Adedoyin, Kunle Sanyaolu, Jahman Anikulapo, Olusegun Adeniyi, Babs Alasa, Martins Oloja, Onojomo Orere, and a host of important others. An interesting, if not exhausting details of this evolutionary phase of a newspaper is in the offing, courtesy of two reporting legends, Aaron Ukodie and O’seun Ogunseyitan.
And check again: Osadolor comes to age 60 with a string of firsts. The list: first and only graduate of Mass Communication to have emerged as the Best Overall Graduating Student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, since 1960; first and only staff to rise from reporter and become a member of the Board of Directors of Guardian Newspapers Ltd and Guardian Services Ltd; and the first and only Deputy Managing Director (DMD), in The Guardian history since 1983.
At 60, Osadolor, who is happily married with kids, steps into the elder’s club, if by the discernment of the World Health Organisation (WHO); the social classification of 60 as retirement age, dovetailing into eldership; and the systematic argumentation of Florida University Scholar, Professor Kole Ade-Odutola; and as urged on by a witty, former The Guardian editor, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo; aside from the warm support of another reporting legend from the papers’ Ibadan Bureau, Yinka Fabowale.
At age 50, Taju Tijani described Osadolor as a Rottweiler. What do you call him at age 60? A Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, Siberian Husky, a Boxer, or just what? Not sure, but I am certain that the man is complete with the good qualities of all these great creations, and still determined to do better, and fitting into the Shakespearean description of all elements being mixed in one, for which even nature might stand up and say to the world: this is a man! Happy Birthday to the lover of tennis, soccer, jazz and classical music. Congratulations, Boss, and many happy returns.
Adeniyi, an ex-The Guardian journalist, public affairs analyst, university orator, teaches Mass Communication at Baze University, Abuja.