Akede Eko! Vibrant Yoruba Language Newspaper In History

The Akede Eko newspaper was founded in 1927 by Isaac Babalola Thomas who also doubled as editor of the newspaper. The Akede Eko Newspaper (which means Lagos Herald) was a bilingual Yoruba- English newspaper that made impact in Nigeria’s media landscape in the late 1920s, according to oldnaija.com. The newspaper was sold for three pence. Its pages consisted mainly of letters-to-the-editor and articles appealing to the elites and notable politicians in Lagos.

Akede Eko Editor, Isaac Babalola Thomas converted the series in his newspaper into a novel in 1929. The novel became recognized as the first indigenous language novel in Nigeria. Photo: NNP. Credit: Bimbola Babarinde

Akede Eko became popular among readers for its bilingual concept and style. This made it a newspaper of great reckoning as it began to compete with other very popular English language newspapers such as the Nigerian Daily Times, the Lagos Weekly record, and the Pioneer, at that time. This was a great feat attained by a local language newspaper in the country’s media sector at time. The newspaper enjoyed wide circulation also. It first came out with about 600 copies and increased print run to thousands of copies per week after its popularity soared. Within its first year of existence, Akede Eko enjoyed good circulation in Northern Nigeria among Yoruba people residing in that region. It also had impressive circulation and popularity in the West and South West coast.

Founder and publisher of Akede Eko,  Isaac Babalola Thomas, published one of the most popular Yoruba stories entitled Itan Igbesi – Aiye Emi Segilola (The Life of Me, ‘Segilola) in the newspaper. This was a series about a former prostitute. The story was later published as a booklet which became the first Yoruba novel or arguably the first novel to be written in any Nigerian language. The story plot centered around the life and the confession of the sexual escapades of an aging and retired prostitute named Segiola who had a thousand lovers. This interesting piece contributed in popularizing Akede Eko among Yoruba language readers in Lagos and beyond.

 

READ ALSO: TOP 5 YORUBA LANGUAGE NEWSPAPERS IN NIGERIA

 

The Akede Eko was known to have fought for the rights of the masses and the less privileged ones in the society. Its Mission Statement which was written in the newspaper was “Lati Kede Anu Fun Awon Otosi Ati Meekunu Ati Lati Gba Awon Ojiya Enia Kuro Lowo Idamu Awon Alagbara, (Oldnaija.com).
When translated to English language, it meansTo Seek Help For The Poor And Masses And To Free The Oppressed From The Oppression Of The Powerful Ones.”

The Akede Eko was one of the newspapers that contributed immensely to the development of the newspaper industry in Nigeria. It also played effective role in increasing newspaper readership awareness among the Yorubas in Nigeria at that time.

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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