By Oluwabukola Akanni, Ibadan
A Special Adviser on Media in the former Abiola Ajimobi administration in Oyo State, Dr. Festus Adedayo, on Thursday said that the Nigerian press contributed to the collapse of the First Republic.
Adedayo said this on Thursday in Ibadan during the unveiling of the Book, “70 years of Progressive Journalism: The Story of Nigerian Tribune.”
The unveiling of the book was in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the African Newspapers of Nigeria PLC, Publishers of the Tribune Titles. The book presentation, which was held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, also featured platinum recognition and awards. The book presentation and the Platinum is the grand finale of the year-long celebration.
The former special adviser said that while the press in the First Republic, was a catalyst for independence, it also gave rise to civic cynicism with its feisty publications.
“The press was implicated in the collapse of the First Repbulic and it can not absolve itself from the collapse of the First Republic.
“If you read the newspapers of the First Republic you will be alarmed by the vitriolic attacks with which the newspaper press operated then,” he said.
Adedayo said that the Nigerian press since the First Republic had, however, evolved and had become more ethical in its conduct.
He said that the Nigerian media saddled with enormous responsibility of being the society’s watchdog, must remain objective and maintain high level of professionalism at all times if it was to survive in the age of social media.
“There are many differences between writers of today and those in the First Republic, they are more circumspect and cautious.
“However, the profession has been infiltrated by quacks who act irresponsibly.
“The press is almost nearing its death because the social media is eclipsing the press, but the publishers are becoming more incentive by taking advantage of the online platform of new publication, “he said.
He also appealed to the lawmakers to kill the “Hate-Speech Bill.”
In his review of the book, he said the founder of the Nigerian Tribune, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, had the conviction that the press would be a tool of emancipation from any kind of oppression.
Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe, in his remarks at the occasion, said that the press had been a significant force in the country’s national development.
“The newspaper was a major influence in the reawakening of racial and political consciousness.
“The media has significant role to play in mobilising the people to participate in the democratic process,” he said.
Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, the Chairman, African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN), said that Awolowo had predicted the intractable insurgence in the North-East of the country.
“The founders of the Nigerian Tribune were very clear from the beginning about the kind of newspaper they were planting on 16 November, 1949.
“It is not going to be just any other newspaper, the Tribune was going to be a leader in courage and an exemplary of forthrightness.
” Seventy years down the road, we are happy that every hope, plan and aspiration of our founders have been realised.
“Seven decades of success, battles and victories and of dreams come true, are what we are celebrating here today with the presentation of our commemorative books,” she said.
According to her, the awaredees including Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, PA Reuben Fashoronti and Chief Adeniyi Koleoso, were carefully selected for the anniversary honors; in recognition of their patriotism, philanthropic efforts and commitment to the development and survival of the country.