POST INDEPENDENCE MEDIA IN NIGERIA


1.0 INTRODUCTION

The early 1980’s witnessed the emergence of modern newspapers in Nigeria. One significant factor about these newspapers was the availability of trained and skilled manpower to undertake the task of informing, educating and entertaining the people. Moreover, individual business rather than government established them all.

2.0 OBJECTIVE

At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
  1.  trace the history of modern newspapers in Nigeria. 

3.0 MAIN CONTENT

3.1 The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper is one of the outstanding newspapers in Nigeria. It was established on the 27th of February 1983 by Alex Ibru from Delta State, among those who weaned the paper at the cradle stage were Dr. Dele Cole, Dr Stanley Macebuh and Segun Osoba who were all former executives of Daily Times.

The motto of the paper is “Conscience, Nurtured by Truth” and to some reasonable extent, it tries to live up to this motto.

3.2 Editorial Policy of the Guardian

The Guardian being an independent newspaper will at all times uphold the need for justice, probity in public life, equal access to the nation’s resources and equal protection under the law of Nigeria for all citizens. It aims at presenting balanced coverage of events and of promoting the best interest of Nigeria. It is committed to the best traits and ideals of republican democracy and to the principle of individual freedom. The newspaper believes that all citizens have duties as well as rights.

3.3 The Post Express

The Post Express newspaper owned by Chief Sony Odogwu, a top businessman, , constituted the founding management team comprising Dr Stanley Macebuh, Dr Fred Onyabor and Obaro Ikime. The motto of the paper is “Justice in Service of Community.” It also aimed at no link with any political, cultural, ideological or ethnic group and promised accurate and fair reports, as well as reasoned and informed comments. The management’s first news papering revolutionary step was the simultaneous printing of the Post Express in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

The newspaper has retained an independent posture and remained accurate and fair in its news report and comments. The newspaper tries hard to safeguard the interest of the Southeast that it believes has remained perpetually marginalised. The Post Express is noted for its in-depth stories on foreign events. 

3.4 The Concord Newspaper 

Concord newspaper is based in Ikeja, Lagos. The first in the stable of the newspaper published by business mogul and politician of presidential standard, Chief Moshood Abiola is National Concord. Abiola’s National Concord was published along with its weekly edition, Sunday Concord on 1st March, 1980. A few years later, he added three vernacular newspapers to its stable in Nigeria’s three languages. The newspapers were Isokan (Yoruba), Udoka (Igbo) and Amana (Hausa). The Concord group later added four more publications to its stable - Business Concord, Weekend Concord, African Science Monitor and African Concord.

Abiola’s National Concord was known for its fearlessness and attack on political opponents. The role it played in support of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) against Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the Second Republic politics is still fresh in people’s mind.
The National Concord, like Dr, Nnamdi Azikwe’s West African Pilot later set up subsidiaries in various parts of Nigeria known as “Community Concord.” At present, National Concord and all its subsidiaries have disappeared from the newspapers stands, may be temporarily.
The newspaper’s problem may not be unconnected with the death of its founder, Chief M.K.O Abiola.

SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE

Compare and contrast Chief Alex Ibru’s The Guardian and Chief Abiola’s Concord newspaper.

3.5 The Sun Newspaper

The Sun, which began publication in 2003, has become more influential than some of its older counterparts. It is published in Lagos by Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State. Its style of page design makes it unique among other Nigerian newspapers. The Sun is known for its distinct method of reporting news events and its fearlessness. It made a great mark through its detailed reporting of the Tsunami disaster of 26th December, 2004. The Sun’s courageous and consistent reporting of the celebrated removal of former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun as well as the dramatic and controversial “resignation” of Chief Audu Ogbeh as chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). PDP is believed to have won The Sun larger readership.

3.6 Other Newspapers

There is also This Day newspaper which is noted for centralization of its masthead, a feature that distinguished it from most other Nigerian newspapers. Other newspapers that exist today in Nigeria include National Interest published in Lagos, the Examiner also published in Lagos but out of circulation at present, Eastern Voice (Jos), Agenda,

New Age, Announcer (Owerri), Eastern Herald (Owerri), Daily Independent, Hallmark and so on.
There is also the Post Express published in Lagos by Chief Sunny Odogwu. Its establishment was pioneered under Dr Stanley Macebuh, its first chief executive who also did the same thing for the Guardian. This newspaper was among the nation’s first newspapers to be on internet. It furnishes its readers with detailed and up-to-date account of important events on the foreign scene supplemented with photographs. Today, many serious Nigerian national dailies are on the internet while a few of them including the Guardian and Daily Times are members of the Audit Bureau of Circulation Network.

In the Second Republic (1979-1983), several political newspapers also sprang up and most of them disappeared the way they came just few years after. They include, among others, the National published in Aba by Dr. Nwakamma Okoro of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Mail published in Owerri by interests associated with the Imo State Government under the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP). The Satellite published in Enugu by Mr. Jim Nwobodo, the NPP Governor of the old Anambra state. The newspaper was “resurrected” and transferred to Lagos, but it died again. 

There were also newspapers such as the Reporter, Trumpet, Record, Broom and Sunray published in Port Harcourt. Sunray lasted for a few years and later collapsed in the late 1990s. There are also the Comet and National Interest newspapers established and published in Lagos from the end of the 1990s to the present day.

4.0 CONCLUSION

The publishers of the Guardian and Concord -Chief Ibru and Chief Moshood Abiola respectively actually paved the way for other newspapers to emerge. Their newspapers were detribalised in content and they employed skilled journalists. Despite political challenges, the Guardian is still working strong while the death of Chief Abiola and his inconvenience in politics led to the demise of the Concord.

5.0 SUMMARY

We have been able to present some post-independence newspapers in Nigeria particularly the Guardian, Concord, Sun, Post Express among others.

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT

1. What factor contributed to the demise of the National Concord? 2. Mention five other post-independence newspapers in Nigeria and five community newspapers in Nigeria.
3. State clearly the editorial policy of the Guardian.

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