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Amosun, Ooni of Ife, others pour accolades on Tribune at 69

Mrs. Omotola Oyediran; (Left) Chairman, ANN, Amb. Olatokunbo Awolowo -Dosumu; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga and Akarigbo of Remo Kingdom, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi at Tribune House foundation laying ceremony in Isheri, Ogun State

It was moment of celebration last weekend for the management of African Newspapers of Nigeria Limited (ANN) and publishers of Nigerian Tribune, one of Nigeria’s oldest surviving newspapers, when Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi and Aare Onakakanfo, Iba Gani Adams led the cream of the Nigerian society to the foundation laying ceremony of the Tribune House located along Lagos – Ibadan Expressway in Isheri, Ogun State.

The event coincided with the newspaper’s 69th anniversary. Ogun State Governor, Senator Amosun, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, eulogized the legacies of the founding father, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, stating that his vision had guided the firm against extinction.

He stressed that credit should be given to Mama HID Awolowo for not only toiling to keep the sage’s family intact after his demise, but also preserving his investment, adding, “The Nigerian Tribune newspaper has grown to an enviable position of being a champion in the media industry.

The paper has become a tool for the formulation of policies by government at all levels.

“That we have enjoyed sustained democracy for close to two decades is to the credit of the media in which Nigerian Tribune has played a prominent role. I will hereby commend the management and staff of African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc for being alive to the great task entrusted on them.”

He, however, charged the media to be mindful of its role as the 2019 elections beckons.

Going down memory lane, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, explained that as a youth, Awolowo was well accepted among the Yoruba leaders of his time, noting, “When Chief Awolowo came back home, before establishing the Action Group, he had established the Egbe Omo Oduduwa.

The Ooni of Ife of that time, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, and other notable monarchs appointed Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Secretary of Egbe Omo Odua. What Chief Obafemi Awolowo did in 10 years no politician has been able to do since his demise.

“Instead of politicians of our time to exceed what Chief Obafemi Awolowo did, rather they are still using his name in their daily politicking. All through the time Chief Awolowo was secretary of Egbe Omo Oduduwa, he was exemplary and this led to his emergence as the natural leader of Yoruba land with the establishment of Action Group. Up till now, nobody has been able to fill the vacuum Baba left as the undisputed Asiwaju of the Yoruba people,” her said.

Chairman of ANN, Ambassador Ọlatokunbọ Awolọwọ-Dosumu, said Nigerian Tribune has faced serious competition since it was first published on November 16, 1949, but fought hard to carve its own niche in the market within a short period.

Dosumu explained that Chief Awolowo lived his life for the greater goal of societal development, an ideal, which Tribune has remained committed to, noting, “One of the resounding legacies of Baba Awolowo, which has ensured that the voice of the downtrodden is heard, is Tribune Newspapers.

“That first edition of Nigerian Tribune carried a lead story with the headline ‘Chemist protest’. The story was about a protest by students of the Pharmaceutical School, Yaba, Lagos, against what was considered insufficient allowance. The paper also carried a picture of the first corporate headquarters of Nigerian Tribune, a rented house in Adeoyo in Ibadan. The company eventually moved to its own property at Imalefalafia, Ibadan, in 1978.

“Now fast forward in 2017, the company commissioned her Abuja office and production of newspapers to cater for the Northern axis. Today, to mark our 69th anniversary and also flag off our year-long programme of activities in celebration of our 70th anniversary, we are gathered here to lay the foundation of our new office in Isheri, Ogun State. The truth is that Tribune has never had its own office in Lagos; this is going to be our first property for the Lagos axis.

She stressed that the firm has succeeded due to three major factors; “The papers solid management foundation and hardworking editorial team led by Papa himself, which has continued up till today to Mr. Edward Dickson’s time; its clear focus and an editorial policy and it has always stood fearlessly in defense of justice, freedom from oppression and exploitation.”

General Manager of Vanguard Media Ltd, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, who spoke on behalf of the media establishment in Nigeria, said it was significant that Tribune clocked 69 and was making waves despite the harsh economic climate in the country.

Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatimde Ajayi, in his goodwill message stressed that Tribune had remained the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria. The Oba said he was happy that an office of the oldest newspaper in the country was being built at Isheri in Ogun State, very close to Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.

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