Why Nnamdi Azikwe failed & Awolowo succeeded as a Newspaper Puplisher—Jakande + How Journalism helped me as Lagos Governor

First Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande; A Journalist-Politician

I will attribute
the survival of Tribune and the death of Pilot to management. And
luck, in the case of Tribune. Why did I say so? I had noted earlier
(Last Post on this blog) that Zik was an inspirer who could
motivate people to do any thing. He had his chain of newspapers but I don’t
think Zik was fortunate to have lieutenants to carry on with what he founded,
once he was busy in government.

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Chief (Dr.) Nnamdi Azikwe….Was a less successful man in Newspaper business than his fellow patriot, Chief Obafemi Awolowo
The most
outstanding of Zik’s associates who
could have carried on where he left off was A.K. Blankson and F.S.
but I think that in-between them, they couldn’t carry on with
the media empire which Zik built. Perhaps, Zik
himself at some point lost interest even in the flagship of the empire, The West African Pilot. On
the other hand, we had Chief Awolowo
who started the Nigerian Tribune
in 1949. I came into the Tribune in 1953 as the editor, then became
managing editor and then eventually managing director.

Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe’s Newspaper, West African Pilot vanishes from News stand till date

I was there from 1953 to
1979 when I left to become the governor of  Lagos State. I think the continuity, which we
had was a major asset. That, I believe, helped to sustain Tribune. Of
course, there were problems and problems but the continuity helped. Even in the
worst of times when the paper was banned by the government of Chief
, the paper continued to appear in defiance of government.

Obafemi Awolowo’s Newspaper, Tribune, still standing the test of history

Tribune, of course, had
its very serious and critical moments, when salaries were not being paid
regularly, but despite all that it enjoyed remarkable loyalty from its
readership. Tribune had always had a very strong, loyal readership and
with the loyalty of the readership, you also had staff loyalty. We were
fortunate that many Tribune workers preferred to work in Tribune even
when they knew that other newspapers were paying better salaries. I think therefore,
that the survival of Tribune against all the odds could be attributed to
continuity of management, loyalty of staff and loyalty of readership. You could
call it a transferred kind of loyalty from the beginning. The loyalty started
with the founder.

Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo….Made Success in Newspaper business than Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe

People were
loyal to the founder and therefore to the Tribune which he founded.
And that is
another area of contrast between Zik’s papers and Awo’s.
Zik and Awo are two great men of different characters. The Igbos liked Zik, they admired him, but their patronage of Zik’s newspapers in the latter years did not quite reflect that
loyalty. I don’t think that the Igbos
saw the Pilot as their own newspaper

Alhaji Lateef Jakande tells the GDA his own story

or the Southern Nigerian Defender as
their own newspaper. They just saw it as Zik’s own newspaper and patronized
it as such.
Journalists and

Aremo Olusegun Osoba: A Leader-Journalist

As a journalist,
there are certain qualities, which you have to have. Among them is leadership.
First of all, journalists are trained to publish only the truth and nothing else.
If it is not the truth, don’t publish it. So by training, you have to insist on
the truth. You do not hear rumors and speculations and turn them instantly
into news. What
you do is to verify them and ensure that what you are publishing is rooted in facts,
truth. Not rumors, hearsay, gossip. The journalist is trained in the art of
discerning the truth, sifting through a jungle of rumors, gossip, half-truth
and speculations to establish the truth. That makes the journalist a better
leader because the first essential requirement of leadership is to follow the

The GDA with the Authors, Mike & Dimgba

You can’t go wrong if you go by the truth and work with the facts.
Leaders derail because they are deceived by official sycophancy to believe
untruths, rumors and speculations.

The Book that revealed the Journalistic Art of Aremo Olusegun Osoba

Journalists with
the kind of hard-core reportorial background of Osoba cannot be led by
the nose because he already has the inbred cynicism of a journalist that
questions whatever information you present to him.

The Authors, Mike & Dimgba in their library

It is not that
the journalist is necessarily better than any other professional, it is just a
matter of his professional training that you must never take any information
for granted without verification, that for every report, you must look for the
alternative or opposite views.
Secondly, a
journalist has an in-built obligation to be fair. You are writing a report,
even if it concerns somebody you don’t like, you have to reflect the opposing
view truthfully. Now, that is not the training of most other professionals. The
result is that the journalist is better able to manage people than others.

Mike Awoyinfa, Co-Author, ‘Segun Osoba: The Newspaper Years’ tells the GDA more about the secret of good journalism while Dimgba Igwe watches

And as I noted
earlier, from Day One, the journalist is dealing with the public, he is in
touch with the people. Whereas, the non-journalist who probably is an accountant
or even a lawyer is not in such position. He is not as involved with the public
as the journalist would do. So being a journalist with that type of public
exposure is an advantage.
News Instinct
for Journalists in Leadership role

Ex-Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba

While in government,
a journalist’s instinct for news will never leave him. It is impossible.
Because when you have been reporting for as long as Segun Osoba has been,
doing newsworthy things comes to you naturally. And governance is also about
information management and even the management of public perception. You may be
doing the right thing but the/public will not see it that way. In that case,
there is need to manage their attitude to such policy until they see the issue
in the right perspective.

Aremo Olusegun Osoba with late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo & First Nigerian Civilian President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari


A journalist,
more than any other person, is in a better position to do that. There are many
things you do in government, which, just by the mere fact that you are a
journalist, puts you in a far better position, than somebody who is not a
journalist. A person, who is fresh in government, could easily be led by the
nose by officials like the permanent secretaries and the directors if he is not
a journalist already exposed to bureaucracy. They would come to you with a long
report, accusing somebody of this and that, asking you to remove the person.
But as a journalist you would ask instinctively: Why? Have you crosschecked
with the other sides?

Aremo Olusegun Osoba: The Family Man

Because of your
media background, you are able to deal more firmly with governmental matters.
During my tenure as the governor of Lagos
State, I had a strong rapport with my constituencies in the state. I had firm
knowledge of the state. To ensure I was never isolated from events, I even
insisted on having a summary of my newspapers. Every morning my press secretary
prepared a summary of the major news highlights in all the newspapers. Today, I
still have some of the files. I read them first thing in the morning and that
gives me a complete picture of the state of things in the state. That habit
derives from my natural news instinct, the quest to know. I will even like to
suggest that anyone who wants to be in government should start with
because it is a very good preparation.

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To be a Good
Leader, you need Journalism…

Aremo Olusegun Osoba, the Journalist-Politician with former Chief Justice of the Federation, Dahiru Musdapha


Leadership is
leadership from whichever way you look at it. If you have to lead, you need to
have vision. A leader has to be one jump ahead of his people, not following
them, but leading them. And he has to be conscious of the fact that whatever he
does, he is an example to his lieutenants and the people.

The GDA with the Authors, Mike & Dimgba

Leadership is the
two-third of what determines success in governmental issues. You have it, you
have succeeded, you don’t have it, you have failed. For an old newsman, whether
in government or not, you never really leave journalism. Even in retirement, I
still take time, first thing in the morning to read my papers and mark them
carefully, to photocopy and to file those I need for my records.

Aremo Olusegun Osoba: Always building bridges  (With Ex-Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido)

It is
impossible to get out of it. And to be information conscious is a good habit
because it makes you a complete person.

The Back of the Book tells more about the Authors

(Excerpts from the book “Segun Osoba: The Newspaper Years” by Mike Awoyinfa & Dimgba Igwe. To get a hard copy of the
book, kindly call Mrs. Gloria Oriakwu
on 080-33-44-5125)


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