The current chair of the editorial board of ThisDay newspapers, Olusegun Adeniyi has recounted how he started off as a columnist twenty years ago.
Recounting his odyssey on his Thursday, April 8 “The Verdict” Backpage column on ThisDay Newspaper, Adeniyi noted how Prof. (then Dr.) Dele Sobowale’s “Please Give Me the Bones” published in Vanguard Newspaper early in 1996 stood out for him.
According to Adeniyi, his foray into column writing started five years after starting off as a journalist “at the instance of Mr Tunji Bello, the current Secretary to the Lagos State Government, who was my editor at the time” at Sunday Concord.
After writing it for three years, Adeniyi left Sunday Concord for ThisDay. At ThisDay he recounted thus:” I had concluded that was the end of “The Verdict” but it turned out otherwise. A few weeks after arriving at THISDAY, the Chairman, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, called a meeting of the Board of Editors on a Sunday afternoon and said he had decided to designate the back page to individuals.
“On that day, Mr. Obaigbena just asked for some sheets of paper and started writing. Then he said: “I am writing my back page for tomorrow as I will be writing every Monday. Victor Ifijeh (current Managing Director of ‘The Nation’ newspapers) will be writing on Tuesday. Eniola Bello (current THISDAY Managing Director) will write on Wednesday.
“Segun, you can resume your Verdict column on Thursday. Festus Eriye (current editor of ‘The Nation’ on Sunday) will write on Friday. And Waziri Adio (current NEITI Executive Secretary) will write on Sunday. There will be no back page columnist for the Saturday Newspaper,” he noted.
Having written articles on “mundane issues that do not in any way advance public good: fuel queues, shortage of food, kidnappings, violent elections, looting of public funds, ASUU and doctors’ strikes, killings between farmers and herdsmen, electricity systems collapse, exchange rate fiasco, settler-indigene crisis,” Adeniyi noted his sadness about the situation.
For him, he craves for a time when he and a generation of writers will pen ennobling issues about the society.