Nigeria Independence was made possible by nationalism. One of the men who fought seriously for the liberation of Nigeria from colonial influence and domination was Obafemi Awolowo. Though a lawyer politician, he made extensive use of the media to reposition the Western Nigeria.
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- trace the history of the life of Obafemi Awolowo
- discuss the contributions of Awolowo to the growth of the Nigerian media
- discuss how Awolowo established the Tribune newspaper.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
3.1 The Life of Obafemi Awolowo
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was born in 1909 at Ikenne, Ogun State. He founded a political organisation called “OMO Oduduwa,” which later metamorphosed into a political party. Though a layer by profession, he became the first premier of Western Nigeria in 1954 and, later, leader of opposition in the federal parliament. Chief Awolowo was the proprietor of the Nigerian Tribune, a newspaper, which became an important media organ of his political party.
Awolowo made his mark as a nationalist and politician, and also fought with other nationalists to send the white man packing from the shores of Nigeria.
3.2 Awolowo and the Media
Awolowo’s greatest contribution to Nigeria media history was in 1959 when he established the Western Nigerian Broadcasting Service (WNBS) in Ibadan. The WNBS provided radio and television broadcasting services. Chief Awolowo launched the first television station in Nigeria and indeed, the African continent, the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) at Ibadan.
SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1
Outline the contributions of Awolowo to the Nigerian press.
3.3 Awolowo and the Nigerian Tribune
This newspaper belonged to the Action Group party of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was also the proprietor of the newspaper. He launched the newspaper on November 1949, through its publisher, the African Press Limited. The vernacular associate of the paper, Iwe Irohin Yoruba had been earlier set up in 1945 through the efforts of Awolowo’s deputy in the Action Group party founded in 1951.
3.4 The Role of the Nigerian Tribune
The Nigerian Tribune aimed at adopting the stance of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s West African Pilot, which served the NNDP, NYM and Zik’s NCNC. In 1962, the crisis in the Action Group Party resulted in the party’s fractionalisation into two. Akintola, then premier of Western Nigeria whose faction was in power set up a pro-government newspaper, Daily sketch in 1964.
The Nigerian Tribune saw itself as rival to Dr. Azikiwe’s West African Pilot and its chain of newspapers, thereby polarizing the rivalry between the two Journalist leaders. The Tribune, as it is now called, is still a strong Ibadan-based national daily.
SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2
Discuss the relationship between Nigerian Tribune and Daily Sketch.
The contributions of Obafemi Awolowo to the media history cannot be easily swept under the carpet. The solid foundation he laid for the Western Nigerian Television reflects in the Nigeria. This may also explain why the Tribune still hits the newspaper stand today.
This unit has revealed to you the life and times of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, his contributions to the media industry in Nigeria, his establishment of Western Nigerian Television, the Nigerian Tribune and the role of the tribune to the political enhancement of the country.