P.M.NEWS, Nigeria’s leading and only surviving evening newspaper, is exactly 20 years today and we have every cause to beat our chest for weathering the storm for the past two decades.
The journey has been quite chequered since 22 August, 1994 when the evening tabloid made its debut to fill a void, thanks to its founding team: Bayo Onanuga, Sani Kabir, Idowu Obasa, Dapo Olorunyomi, Babafemi Ojudu, Kunle Ajibade and Seye Kehinde.
From the 8-page, black only format it debuted, P.M.NEWS has transformed to a 16-page colour publication. At a point the weekend edition, which tilts heavily towards entertainment, was increased to 24 pages but was reduced to 16 pages due to debilitating circumstances.A lot happened in the last 20 years that almost sounded the death knell of P.M.NEWS, but it has continued to weather the storm. The most significant of such travails that only served to strengthen the newspaper was the repression that P.M.NEWS, like other newspapers, suffered in the hands of Gen. Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s most brutal ruler and megalomaniac.
The late military dictator routinely sent his security operatives after editorial and non editorial members of staff of P.M.NEWS and scores of them were arrested and detained for several months without a formal charge brought against them. While one of the journalists, Bagauda Kaltho, died in detention, our Executive Editor, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, was jailed for life over a phantom coup in 1995. His reprieve came only after his jailor died in 1998. He spent three and half years in Makurdi Prison
Our Editor-In-Chief, Mr. Bayo Onanuga and his deputy, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, escaped several attempts to arrest them and they eventually fled abroad. Mr. Babafemi Ojudu was also detained for several months. At the height of the military clampdown, our offices were sacked and occupied by security operatives. Mr. Idowu Obasa and many of our staff bore the brunt of publishing P.M.NEWS and TheNEWS throughout the period of repression.
P.M.NEWS had respite only when Abacha died on 8 June, 1998. And the newspaper has continued to do what it knows best, breaking the news every afternoon without wavering in hard copy and online. P.M.NEWS has continued to stand its ground and maintain its status as the leading brand in evening newspaper journalism.
We seize this occasion to thank our teeming readers who have stood by us through thick and thin and the newspaper agents, vendors and advertisers whose services have kept us going in the past 20 years.
We assure our readers that we won’t waver in delivering on our core goal, which is to publish, sizzling, factual news as they break.