We Won’t Allow Jimoh Ibrahim Kill Newswatch


By Ray Ekpu

Since the four of us (Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade) who are the authors of this book(Moving in Circles) retired from Newswatch on 5 May last year, we have been in the business of starting a new life, albeit still in the writing and publishing arena. We registered a company called MayFive Media Limited to reflect that watershed date of our exit from an enterprise we painstakingly nurtured for 27 years. So far, we have published two books, namely, Ojukwu edited by Ray Ekpu and The Columnist’s Companion: The Art and Craft of Column Writing by Dan Agbese. The third book, Moving in Circles, is the one we are gathering here to unveil. It is written by the four of us: Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed, Soji Akinrinade and Ray Ekpu.

For the four of us, this has been an incredible journey. We have known one another for more than 30 years and worked together in different combinations for that period. It was originally a four-man journey with Dele Giwa at the helm of affairs, God bless his soul; it is still a four-man journey with Soji Akinrinade joining the train. It is a journey garnished by undiluted friendship, mutual respect, professionalism and rigorous intellectual exchange. It’s been a worthwhile journey, full of joy, sadness, humour and good natured banter. It’s been a mixed yarn of successes and failures, triumphs and trials; we have witnessed both and absorbed the lessons that they offer.

When we admitted the core investor, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, into Newswatch Communications Limited on 5 May last year, we thought, judging by the discussions we had with him, that the original vision of the magazine would be enriched by a value-adding investment. As you already know, Newswatch magazine has been killed, its assets are currently being stripped; the staff are in a quandary; there is a vicious strategy of ethnic cleansing going on and the office at No. 3 Billings Way, Oregun, Ikeja is like a deserted village. Even in our wildest imaginations, we would never have thought that a magazine we had nursed for 27 years, through rain and sunshine, would come to such grief.

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We thought Mr. Ibrahim came to help journalism not to harm it, we thought he came to support journalism not to scuttle it; we thought he came to buy and build not to buy and bury our dear magazine. When you kill a publication, you kill the hopes and aspirations of millions of readers, advertisers, distributors, vendors, researchers and the general public. Newspapers are much more than a business, they are the nation’s battle-axe, the keeper of the nation’s conscience, the sentry on guard duty, the nemesis of scoundrels, dictators, despots and other sundry bad guys; they defend the underdog against the top dog; the weak against the strong; they give voice to the voiceless. That is why whenever any of our military despots shut down a newspaper or a magazine, the public always rose stoutly in opposition to the madness. We will oppose this madness; we will challenge these illegalities.

Mr. Ibrahim has been mouthing incomprehensible sentiments about out dear Dele Giwa, trying to fraudulently ingratiate himself with the iconic journalist. The Dele Giwa we knew would never have contemplated the non-publication of Newswatch even for one week, never.

I apologise for this digression but the digression was necessary because of the farrago of lies that this core investor has been spewing in various publications.

•Ray Ekpu, Chief Executive Officer of MayFive Media Limited, gave this speech at the presentation of the book: Moving in Circles at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday, 4 September, 2012.

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