Nigeria’s press history reflects a robust and competitive environment where indigenous or local language newspapers had little chance of survival. Though the first Nigerian newspaper was a local language newspaper, Iwe Irohin, the media landscape at the beginning was dominated by English language newspapers published by nationalists for championing self rule and independence. Yet a number of indigenous language newspapers share in the credit of developing a vibrant newspaper industry in the country. The first Nigerian newspaper was a Yoruba language newspaper, Iwe Irohin, which was also the first indigenous language newspaper in Africa. It was established in 1859. Fiercely competitive business environment of the newspaper industry in Nigeria and the growing interest of publishers to establish English language newspapers contributed in stifling numerous local language publications that came up after Iwe Irohin. Despite the toughness of survival for indigenous language newspapers, a number of them played crucial roles in making the print media industry in Nigeria colourful and vibrant.
While Yoruba and Hausa language newspapers existence in large numbers in Nigeria’s media landscape, only a few Igbo language newspapers showed up in the news stands. Most of them could be described as pretenders because either they were short-lived or they existed as pullout inserts in English language newspapers. The lack of interest in publishing Igbo language newspapers could be attributed to the following factors: lack of interest by Igbo speaking Nigerians in reading Igbo language literature; difficulty in reading and writing Igbo language by many Igbo speaking Nigerians; difficulty in finding journalists who can report in Igbo language; and other general factors that affect newspapers such as lack of adverts, publication cost, among others. However, a few Igbo language newspapers flashed past the history of the Nigerian press. One of them is Ka Ọ Di Taa, the most regular Igbo language newspaper in modern times.
Published by Anambra Newspapers and Publishing Corporation, Awka publishers of ‘National Light’ newspaper, Ka Ọ Di Taa made its debut on the newsstands in August 2017. The newspaper had the defined mission of disseminating news and current affairs to Igbo readers while also projecting the usage and sustenance of the language. The newspaper started as a pull-out section of National Light Newspaper, the company’s main all, became a stand-alone publication in 2019. Ka Ọ Di Taa became the most regular and professionally produced Igbo language newspaper in circulation 30 years after the first Igbo language newspaper in Nigeria, Ogene, went out of circulation. Though the newspaper is facing readership challenges, it could be described as the most serious Igbo language newspaper on the newsstands.