THE Igbo have been told to rise up and once more resume led in media ownership in Nigeria. They were reminded that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe is credited with first indigenous ownership of the media in Nigeria, which he did not only establish in parts of East but across the country and ran virile press industry.
That was one of the take always from the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Colloquium in Enugu, last week, which treated issues of media ownership in the south east and role of media in National integration.
The importance of media was much dissected that Dr. Obiora Okonwkwo of Dome Entrainment limited stated that people prefer their issues taking centre stage in the media than in the courts. He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari and the newly inaugurated 9th National Assembly should as a matter of urgency restore national integration in order to realise the full potentials of its large citizenry.
Former Deputy Editor of Daily Times, Hon. Emeka Nwosu while delivering his lecture, traced numerous media ownership by Ndigbo to include The New Outlook by Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo, Satellite Newspaper by Chief Jim Nwobodo, The Eagle by late Chief KO Mbadiwe,Trumpet by Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Chief Christian Onoh, Champion Newspaper by Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, The New Globe magazine by the late Biafran leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and the Platform magazine by the former Senate President, Dr. ChubaOkadigbo. There was also the Minaj Group in Obosi by Senator Mike Ajaegbo which pioneered independent private broadcasting in the East.
Nwosu said that the several efforts made in the past to establish media firms in the south east was to give voice to the people, but regrettably suffered failures. He recalled that the Zik of Africa, as Dr. Azikiwe was fondly called, as the leader of the nationalist movement fought for the independence of Nigeria from British colonial domination using the power of media.
Zik set up The Nigerian Pilot in 1937 shortly after his return from the United States and Ghana (then Gold Coast) where he was the Editor of the famous Accra Morning Post. He later founded the Zik Group of newspapers which comprised Eastern Nigeria Guardian (Port Harcourt, 1940), Nigerian Spokesman (Onitsha, 1943), Southern Nigeria Defender (Warri, 1943), The Daily Comet(Lagos/Kano, 1944), Eastern Sentinel (Enugu, 1955), and Nigerian Monitor (Uyo, 1960) and deployed them as veritable instruments in the campaign against colonial rule. The Pilot operated from Lagos.
“Ernest Ikoli, on the other hand was the first indigenous Nigerian to serve as the Editor of the Daily Times which was established in 1926 by the Colonial authorities,” Nwosu further recalled.
He said that not to be left out were also popular media outfits established by some of the State Governments in the region. They included The Renaissance and its successor, Daily Star published in Enugu by the defunct East Central State Government; and Statesman by Imo Sate Government under the administration of late Dr. Sam Onunaka Mbakwe. There were also latter day publications like National Ambassador established by Abia State Government under its first civilian Governor, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, and National Light by Anambra State Government.