Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has commended The Guardian newspapers for pioneering new journalism in Nigeria.
Okowa gave the commendation in his remarks at the launch of ‘The Making of The Nigerian Flagship: A Story of The Guardian’ at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Represented by Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie, the governor said the late founder of the newspaper, Dr Alex Ibru, deserved a prime place in the media hall of fame for his vision, courage, and tenacity in establishing the flagship newspaper in the country.
According to him, The Guardian began as a carefully-packaged product with specialised offerings targeted primarily at thinkers, decision-makers in government and leaders in business, finance, culture and other professions.
He said that the newspaper’s entry into the media market in Nigeria was refreshing and uplifting.
“Thirty-eight years ago, The Guardian, made a grand entry into the newspaper industry with a bold claim as the flagship of the Nigerian print media.
“The newspaper captured public attention with its in-depth reporting, rich content, intellectual flavour, and novel approach to print journalism.
“I still vividly recall that fateful day on February 27, 1983, when The Guardian made its debut. From its first corporate statement and the collection of names on the masthead, it was clear the newspaper was destined to revolutionise the Nigerian Media.
“It was, indeed, a unique assemblage of “highly skilled professionals, managers, and men and women of scholarship.
“Today, as we celebrate The Making of the Nigerian Flagship, the broad consensus is that The Guardian has lived up to its claim,” Okowa said.
He said that The Guardian remained the flagship of the Nigerian press and indisputably the best newspaper ever produced in Nigeria with its brand of journalism making profound impact on Nigerian journalism.
“The Guardian changed the tradition of shouting headlines cast in 72-point and five paragraphs to subdued headlines and rich content.
“It formalized the concept of the Editorial Board and gave primacy to the Editorial as the reasoned voice of the newspaper.”
The governor commended the wife of the founder, Lady Maiden Alex Ibru, for keeping the vision alive and sustaining the tradition of excellence and good corporate governance of the newspaper.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in his address, lauded the critical role the media played in nation-building, adding that late Alex Ibru was a visionary investor.
He stated that it was the role of journalists to tell the truth even when it was inconvenient.
“Four decades ago, The Guardian set standards for the flagship of journalism in the country.
“Today, we have new challenges in managing the proliferation of fake news.”
Osinbajo stressed that nation-building was not just the role of politicians but also that of the civil society of which the media is a part of.
“As we struggle to build our nation, journalists must continue to ensure objectivity, balance and fair hearing in their reporting,” Osinbajo stated.
Maiden Ibru in her remarks, said she was glad her husband was being honoured for his pioneering role in the media industry.
She said that The Guardian had been consistent in its call for Restructuring and True Federalism in the country as a panacea to the growing insecurity and under-development of the nation.