When you talk about the mass media in Nigeria, especially the print media, certain names come up as brands that have shaped modern print journalism in the country. One of such person with remarkable integrity and professionalism in the face of challenges in the field is Olusegun Adeniyi. His profile will inspire anyone to strive to the top not just in journalism but any career.
Who is Olusegun Adeniyi?
Olusegun Adeniyi was born in Ile-Ife on November 6, 1965. He is a Nigerian journalist, and was the chair of the editorial board of ThisDay newspapers and a former presidential spokesman for the late president Umaru Musa Yar’dua. He is a 1989 Bsc holder in international Law and Diplomacy (MILD) from the University of Lagos in 1997, Adeniyi was a fellow at the Weatherhead centre for international Affairs, Harvard University where he spent the 2010/2011 academic session. He conducted his research on the factors that shape incumbent presidential elections in Africa. Adeniyi is married with three Children.
He began his journalism career as a Staff Reporter with the Guardian Newspapers in December 1990. In April 1992, he left to join the now rested African Concord magazine as a Senior Staff writer and in September of the same year, he was appointed the Magazine’s Abuja Bureau chief with accreditation to cover the State House. Adeniyi, who joined ThisDay newspaper in January 1999 as Deputy Editor of the Saturday newspaper, rose to become Editor of the Sunday ThisDay and in August 2005, he was appointed the Editor of the THISDAY title paper. On 30th May 2007, he was appointed by the late president Umaru Musa Yar’dua to be his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, a position he occupied until Yar’dua demise on 5th May 2010. He has since written about his experience working for the deceased President. In July 2007 attended the International visitor Leadership Programme organized by the US State Department. He was also a fellow at the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University, where he spent the 2010/2011 academic session.
Adeniyi has written books that impacted the Nigerian society and are read worldwide. He is a prolific author with many impressive titles. He is the author of the following books: Abiola’s Travails; The Last 100 Days of Abacha; Fortress on Quicksand, Politricks: National Assembly Under Military Dictatorship; Power, Politics and Death: A Front-row Account of Nigeria Under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua; Against the Run of Play; How an Incumbent President was defeated in Nigeria.
Adeniyi achieved numerous feats directly a result of hard work, strong dedication, and courage in the face of challenging professional terrain. He is also the Recipient of the 1992 Jankade prize or Political Reporter of the year at Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA). He is a founding member of the National Stakeholder working Group of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
Adeniyi is also known as one of the most popular columnists in Nigeria, has attracted huge audience base through his column on the back page of Thisday newspaper entitled The Verdict. Adeniyi has been a columnist for over 20 years. He once told a quick story of how he actually picked interest in becoming a columnist. Recounting his journey into the world on columnists on his Thursday, April 8 “The Verdict” Backpage column on ThisDay Newspaper, Adeniyi pointed out 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.
This was how Adeniyi began an illustrious career as a notable columnist whose write-ups impacted the society. Adeniyi is in deed, a brand that has contributed in shaping modern journalism in Nigeria.