In all his endeavours, Yinka Craig, stood far taller than his diminutive height both in life and even in death. In broadcasting, he was as iconic as he was a charismatic sports presenter, analyst, and producer. Even as an event compere, he was articulate with an incredible ability to hold any audience spellbound with wit and humour. He also immersed himself deeply in technology and was many years digitally ahead of his time.
He joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation early in life in 1967 as a studio operator and rose rapidly to recognition on radio before moving to Nigerian Television Authority NTA. Craig is on record as perhaps one of the most travelled broadcast journalists of his time.
Outside the sports arena, Yinka acquired fame for his presentation of Newsline, a highly regarded news magazine feature on television he presented with Patrick Oke. Later, he was the main anchor of AM Express, a breakfast show laced with his characteristic wit and humour, on the NTA.
In all he endeavours, Craig demonstrated an effortless grasp of variety of subjects and interests. For example, he was an avid aviator who owned a personal flight simulator. He was so fascinated by astronomy, the galaxies, and constellations that he could pass for a professor in that field.
On retirement from the NTA in 1990, he found engagement producing documentaries, marketing communications and information technology consultancy under the aegis of his Yinka Craig and Associates.
Yinka Craig was an easy-going and charming person described aptly by the many people who knew, loved and admired him, as an impresario who played the guitar, piano, violin, clarinet and saxophone.
Taiwo Allimi’s highest achievement in broadcasting was as Director-General of Voice of Nigeria from 1999 to 2004. Beyond that he was the chairman of Nigeria’s Presidential Election Debates 2003, 2007 & 2007. He was also a former Chairman of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria BON, the umbrella association of Chief Executives of all radio and television stations in Nigeria 1999-2004. The records book show that he was the longest serving state commissioner having served in the cabinet of Ogun state, from 1986-1991. Alimi was in 2004 vice chairman, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and founding member Global Media Aid initiative with Kofi Annan as Chairman.
Allimi was born on December 17, 1944, in Sagamu, Ogun state Nigeria.
He wrote, or initiated to be written books including, the village-square-meeting concept for bottom-up approach and participatory governance towards sustainable human development in Nigeria, 1986. He was founder and principal author of Nigeria’s model TV networks-Lagos television / Lagos weekend television, 1980-85; He was State delegate, Nigeria’s national political reform conference – 2005 – towards a new constitution for Nigeria; He coordinated the Ogun State Elders’ Consultative Forum, a non-partisan advisory group offering insight, guidance and direction on the weighty issues of contemporary governance in Ogun state, south west Nigeria – 2005.
He was the leading advocate for the establishment of indigenous community broadcasting system and author of Without Time: Memoirs of a Journalist in Public Service, 1999.
Dr. Yemi Farounbi, a veteran of motion pictures, teacher, and public servant, was born in October 1944 and studied at the University of Ife, the Polytechnic of Central London, Leicester University and Stanton University, Florida, United States.
Farounbi's first assignment on joining the broadcast industry was as assistant secretary with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Akure from where he rose to become General Manager of the station in 1981.
A prolific writer, film and television producer, Farounbi's name is critically acclaimed for productions like Iwa, Agbaarin, Yapon Yarin as well as Arelu and Igba Oro.
Said to be instrumental to the establishment of BCOS -TV Ibadan, Farounbi was at a time Special Assistant to the Oyo State Governor on Broadcasting; Chairman, Directorate of Information Oyo State; Chairman, Visitation Panel of the University of Benin, member of the Governing Council of the Yaba College of Technology; Chairman, Daily Times of Nigeria and, Chairman, Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, Farounbi is a member of the Governing Council of Lead City University.
The entirety of the adult life of James Audu’s life was of devotion to the media particularly broadcasting. Born November 20, 1938, in Wusasa, Zaria, Kaduna State, he was a man who from childhood had his career in the media mapped out for him. Little wonder therefore that he made a resounding success out of it.
After completing elementary and secondary education in 1958, he proceeded to the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Staff Training School between, 1960 and 1961, after which he followed up with professional, undergraduate, and graduate studies at Overseas Film and Television Training College, 1962-63, International Press Institute, University of East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, 1966, WisconsinUniversity, Madison. USA, 1973-75.
It is worth noting that James’s first appointment immediately after secondary school was as programme and presentation assistant at Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Kaduna, 1959-60. It was not difficult for the impressive lad to get noticed and was poached into the mainstream civil service as Assistant Scriptwriter, Northern Nigeria Ministry of Information, Kaduna, 1960-63. However, for the young James,the lure of broadcasting was too strong to ignore, and he found his way back from the drudgery of bureaucracy to broadcasting.This time it was at the Radio and Television Service of the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria in Kaduna, 1964-71 first as Sub-Editor, rising through the ranks to Chief Sub-Editor, Duty Editor, and later Assistant Director, News and Current Affairs,
In the years that followed, James Audu experienced high mobility in jobs, spending on the average two years before moving on to another one. He was the Public Relations Manager at New Nigeria Development Company, Kaduna, 1971-73, Editor, University Press, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1975- 76, Assistant Director, News and Programme Services, Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria Kaduna, 1976-77, Assistant Director, Network News, NTA, Lagos, from 1977-79 and Assistant Director, News and Programme Services, FRCN Kaduna. Between 1981- 82. It was at OPEC News Agency (OPECNA), Vienna, Austria that James Audu reached the pinnacle as Editor-in-Chief.
Adebayo Faleti 26 December 1921 – 23 July 2017, was indeed a man many firsts. He was Nigeria's first broadcast librarian, first Yoruba language presenter on television and radio alike with the first television station in Africa, WNTV/WNBS. In addition to his pioneering achievements, Faleti was also a poet, journalist, writer, film director and actor,
He was was born in Agbo-Oye, Oyo State. Faleti had from his early years, developed a passion for drama. Since his parents were too indigent to fund his education he put his primary education on hold, gathered some interested friends and started his own theatre group, he named Oyo Youth Operatic Society in 1949.
Faleti later found his way back to school by getting a job in a primary school, saving enough over six years to fund his secondary education. By 1966, he attended the University of Dakar in Senegal and obtained a Certificate of proficiency in French Language and Civilization, later graduating from the University of Ibadan, with an honour’s degree in Lit-in-English. In 1971, he attended the Radio Netherlands Training Centre in Hilversum, and received a certificate in Television Production.
Faleti acted, produced and directed a number of movies, including Thunderbolt: Magun (2001), Afonja (1 & 2) (2002), Basorun Gaa (2004), and Sawo-Sogberi (2005).
He was responsible for translating Nigeria's National Anthem from English to Yoruba. He was also official translator of speeches of former Nigerian Attorney-General Bola Ige, former military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida and former premier of the Western region of Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo.
Adebayo Faleti received many awards, both locally and internationally, including the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON),
Undoubtedly one name that resounds for elevating Hausa language broadcasting to national and international levels, is Halilu Ahmed Getso.
He was born in 1949 and had his early education in his hometown Getso before attending Government Secondary School Birnin Kudu from 1964 to 1968. He graduated from the College of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1970.
His colourful broadcasting career began when he was employed by the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria BCNN as Programme Assistant in September 1970 from where he later transferred to News and Current Affairs. He rose to become Assistant Director News in 1989 and eventually became Executive Director of FRCN Kaduna from 1994 to 1997 before leaving service in the year 2000.
As a household name among Hausa speaking audiences across sub–Saharan Africa and Europe, his contribution to the adoption as a broadcast language, the headquarters of the first Hausa International News Television in Kano was recently named after Getso.
The activist broadcast administrator Dahiru Modibbo was born in November 1933, in Yola. His early education started from Yola Elementary School, Barewa College, Zaria, to Nigerian College of Arts, Science & Technology (NCAST), Zaria and the University College, now University of Ibadan where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History in 1961.
Dahiru Modibbo joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Service as a Presentation Assistant, in 1954. Between various study leave he returned to the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in June 1961 and joined the newly established Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria (BCNN), owned by the Regional Government of Northern Nigeria, as Director of Radio Programmes and was promoted Managing Director in November 1975.
It was in this capacity he commenced a strong advocacy for the regional owned BCNN to be taken over by the Federal Government of Nigeria. This came to reality in 1978 when the BCNN was merged with NBC to become the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria. He became the Zonal Director, FRCN Kaduna, in 1979 and was appointed the Director General of the FRCN in 1985, a position he held until he retired in 1989.
At various times, he served as a member of the Board of Governors of Sokoto Television from 1976 – 1977; Member of the Governing Council, University of Port-Harcourt from 1978 to 1982 and Chairman of The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria from 1985 – 1988. After his retirement from Public Service, he served as Chairman of the Daily Times of Nigeria from 1991 to 1992.
Modibbo was one of the pioneers of the executive course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, in 1979, and received the National Honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR).
He died in 1993 at the age of 59 years after which a posthumous mark of honour was bestowed on him with the naming of the Headquarters of FRCN Kaduna and the Department of Mass Communication of the Federal Polytechnic Kaduna after him.
Mallam Yaya Abubakar’s broadcasting career began from his Bauchi home state rising to managerial positions at the Nigerian Television Authority Bauchi in the 1980s and NTA Network News in the 1990s. As a broadcast manager and strategist, he was the pioneer chairman of Gombe Media Corporation and Chairman of Board of Trustees of Bauchi State Television (BATV).
His rise to national recognition in broadcasting was to come as the Director of News at the NTA Network Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos where he was instrumental to the creation of the flagship Newsline featuring names like Frank Olize, Lola Alakija, Yinka Craig, Emeka Maduegbuna, Tony Ede, among others. Newsline held viewers glued to the screen every Sunday for many years.
The success of Mallam Yaya Abubakar’s tenure at NTA was arguably the fillip to his appointment as pioneer Director General Voice of Nigeria as an autonomous corporation in 1991, when it was carved out from the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, where it had existed for decades as the external service.
To accentuate his performance at VON, late Yaya Abubakar initiated the publication the book “The Challenges of External Broadcasting”, in 1994 which till date is a reference and research material for the study of Mass Communication at the tertiary education level.
Mallam Yaya Abubakar was a Member of the Board of the Nigeria Press Council and Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. He was also an alumnus of the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos in the year 1988.
Patrick Ityohegh stands out truly a man of distinction having earned two national honours, OFR and MFR in recognition of his immense contribution to national development through broadcasting in Nigeria, his chosen career. He is best remembered for the award-winning sitcom, Sunny Side of Life, that ran for several years on NTA.
The late Patrick Ityohegh was born December26,1941, in Awajir, Konshisha, Benue State and lived to the age of 76. He benefited from multi-disciplinary broadcast training in management, technology and production at CEDO and BBC, London, in Japan and Bat Vincennes University, Indiana, USA.
At various times, he was Controller, Programmes at Benue-Plateau Broadcasting Corporation, Executive Director News and Executive Director Finance and Administration at Nigerian Television Authority and before capping his career as Director General at Nigerian Television Authority, Abuja from 1996-1999.
John Chiahemen has aptly been described as a broadcast media giant given that he has traversed the broadcasting landscape at home soil and abroad. Born in Makurdi on March 12, 1950, he attended Katsina-Ala Middle School and St. Louis College Jos before proceeding to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, where he graduated with a B.SC Political Science in 1974. He served his mandatory NYSC at NTV Enugu in1974 flagging off a lifetime career in broadcasting.
At the end of the service year he joined NTV Jos. Soon after, he left for School of Film, Television and Cinematography in London for Postgraduate studies, and returned in 1977 to be part of the pioneering team that started NTV Makurdi from where he moved to NTA Headquarters in Lagos as Controller of News.
John left the NTA shortly after the 1983 General Elections and jointed the news agency Reuters International where he served as East Africa Correspondent in Nairobi, Kenya 1983 – 1986, Correspondent in Paris, France 1986 – 1989 and Bureau Chief, Middle East and Africa 1989 - 1994.
Africa beckoned again as he was transferred to Abidjan, Ivory Coast 1995-1999, then to Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002 as East & Southern Africa Bureau Chief. Chiahemen rose to the position of Editor, Reuters Africa before retiring in 2009 to set up his own independent outfit called NiceView Media.
He was also pioneer Managing Editor of ARISE News Network 2012-2013 and from 2014-2015 as Managing Director/CEO of Gotel Africa, a satellite TV station owned by former Nigerian Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
The history of Nigerian broadcasting will be incomplete without the mention of George Bako, the engineer under whose term as Director General FRCN, FM broadcasting was introduced to Nigeria.
Rt. Revd George Bako later Bishop at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Lokoja, was born in Wusasa, Zaria on August 22, 1937. He started primary school at St. Bartholomew's, Wusasa and completed it at St. Paul's Breadfruit School, Lagos. Secondary education took him through Abeokuta Grammar School, Ijebu Ode Grammar School and CMS Grammar School, Lagos.
Mr. George Bako, as he then was, joined the NBC, Lagos as Engineering Assistant in 1957 after his secondary school and was seconded to the Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria in 1962. He trained as an engineer aided by a Federal Government scholarship at Norwood College in London, England between 1962 and 1965 and served internship with Granada Television in London and Manchester.
In 1973, Mr. Bako was de-seconded from BCNN and redeployed to Benue-Plateau Broadcasting Corporation as Chief Engineer. While there as a form of payback, he offered free consultancy that led to the setting up of Television Service for the governments of Kwara, North-East and North-West Nigeria. On October 1st, 1975, George Bako midwifed the establishment of the first ever regular colour television transmission in Nigeria rolled out by the Benue/Plateau Broadcasting Corporation.
Perhaps his greatest achievement of his broadcasting career, was the launch of NBC-2 Lagos as the pioneering stereophonic FM transmission in Nigeria. His name is also deeply etched in the annals of Nigerian broadcasting as the last Director General of Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and the first DG of the newly established Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeriaon April 1, 1978.
In 1982 George Bako became president, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. He was awarded the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Nicer, OON on October 1, 1983.He bowed out of service in 1985 after 28 years of service.
The death of Mike Enahoro in 2015?, evoked deep nostalgia of his charismatic life expressed through news reading brilliance at the Nigeria Television Authority NTA, proudly adorned in his native Esan native dress.
He started his broadcasting career at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Lagos, a stone throw from St Gregory’s College, Obalende Lagos where he completed his secondary education.
The late Mike was the youngest of the famous Enahoro brothers, which included older brothers Anthony who moved a motion for the independence and Peter (Pan) the editor of the flagship title the Daily Times, who blazed the trail before him in journalism.
Mike Enahoro was also reputed for his guitar playing prowess. Right from secondary school, even before joining the NBC, he had been playing lead guitar for Roy Chicago’s Rhythm Dandies band and composed one of the bands biggest hit records entitled Maria.
After he retired, he set up his Prime TV production company, producing television commercials and programmes, the most popular being Maggi Kitchen.
He was an avid golf lover and player.
Chief Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi, born 25 October 1951 in Ibadan hails from Agenebode, Edo state. He made a bold entry into broadcasting in Nigeria when his company DAAR Communications was granted the first private radio and later television licence in Nigeria. That was in 1993.
Dokpesi started his early schooling at Loyola College Ibadan and Immaculate Conception College (ICC) Benin City where he was the pioneer member of Ozolua Playhouse, a dance/drama group. His undergraduate studies were at the University of Benin and the University of Gdansk, Poland where he earned his Doctorate degree in Marine Engineering.
In addition to pioneering private broadcasting in Nigeria, Dokpesi’s Africa Independent Television AIT was also Africa's first satellite Television station with its signals received in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe-wide as well as countries in Africa.
Before he ventured to broadcasting, Dokpesi along with other prominent Nigerians notably Bamanga Tukur, had also established the first indigenous shipping Line in Nigeria called Africa Ocean Lines in the 1980s. Although the business did not last long, it triggered the Nigerian shipping act Decree 1986 with among other provisions instituted cargo sharing between foreign and indigenous carriers.
Born in Onitsha, Nigeria, on February 24, 1962, Larry Izamoje criscrossed print journalism and broadcasting before he pioneered thematic Sports Radio in Nigeria when he founded Brila 88.9 FM in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2002.
Izamoje’s early education was at the Institute of Continuing Education, Warri and on to the University of Lagos from where he secured both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology and capped it with a doctorate degree from the Lausanne Business School in Switzerlandin 2012.
He cut his teeth in broadcasting as a freelance reporter under legendary Ernest Okonkwo at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Lagos. From 1986 to 1990, he switched to print journalism in the employ of Concord Newspapers as a sports reporter rising to the post of Deputy Sports Editor, from where he joined the now defunct Mail newspaper as Sports Editor. He teamed up briefly with others at DBN-TV Lagos before setting up his Brila Sports, an independent sports production and consultancy company in 1992.
History beckoned on Izamoje when he pioneered Nigeria’s thematic Sports Radio, Brila 88.9 FM as chairman and CEO in 2002. The Brila Group expanded rapidly opening stations in Abuja, Kaduna and Onitsha.
Izamoje’s contribution to sports in Nigeria has not gone unnoticed. Accolades in his kitty include Sportswriter of the Year award (1995) from the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Football Referees Society Award 2002, Success Digest Male Entrepreneur 2002, 21st Century award for pioneering Sports Radio in Nigeria (2003 and nation building (2003), and Sportswriter of the Year from Sporting Champion 2004. He was an Olympic Torch bearer in Cairo 2004 when the Olympic Torch made its first visit to Africa. In April 2005 he was named an alumni exhibitor by the American National Association of Broadcasters, Las Vegas.
He recalls with glee his reporting of the historic Marvin Hagler/Sugar Ray Leonard bout in Las Vegas in 1987, and his regular attendance of the FIFA Expo held yearly in Cannes.
Other notable events he has covered are the Nations cup, World Cup, Commonwealth Games, and the Wimbledon tennis championships. Izamoje was a member of the 12-man Presidential Committee charged by late Nigerian leader, President Umaru Yar'Adua, to ensure Nigeria's qualification for in the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
Izamoje’s Brila-FM is affiliated to the Voice of America (VOA).
Ikenna Ndaguba, broadcaster par excellence, the quintessential wordsmith, epitome of perfection in the art of the spoken word, and a reference point for guidance and professional knowledge in every ramification of broadcasting. The superlatives used in description of Ndaguba were simply inadequate to describe the golden voice, incredible oratorical skills, powerful elocution, and articulate presentation, all packed in the man fondly referred by his peers as IK.
Ikenna joined the Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Service, Enugu, in 1960 and was in fact, the first voice on the regional radio and television station at that time. Three years later, he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, and then moved to Voice of Nigeria the external services arm, as one of its pioneer staff.
In his formative years in broadcasting, the young Ndaguba was an engaging presenter. Some of the programmes he anchored at the time included The Care of the Aged which was broadcast on BBC Africa Service in1966. He also anchored a television programme called Focus, where he interviewed notable Nigerians and world leaders including Sir Francis Akanu Ibiam, Governor of the then Eastern Nigeria and Sir Harold Macmillan, the then Prime Minister of the Britain.
Ndaguba was exposed to professional training in presentation, production, and management both in Nigeria and overseas at the BBC Africa Service, BBC Television, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America and various radio and television stations in the United States of America and former Yugoslavia.
For many years, Ndaguba read the news on Radio Nigeria’s Home Service and NBC-TVwith a rich resonant voice and painstaking attention to detail, he endeared himself to the people. In 1993 Ndaguba was appointed as the first Executive Director of Lagos National Station. He was also an executive member of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON)- a body of chief executives of radio and television stations and member of the International Institution of Communications London.
In Onitsha, his hometown, Ndaguba was inducted into the prestigious AgbalaNze Society with a special Ozo title of OnwaN’etili Ora.
In recognition of his meritorious performance, he was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Federal Republic, MFR, in 2001.
Lawrence Emeka hailed from Nsugbe in Oyi LGA of Anambra State. After his primary education, he attended the prestigious Government College, Umuahia.
After his secondary education, he was employed by the then Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and worked in many stations including Lagos, Calabar and Enugu. While working at Enugu and fired by his musical flair, he formed the famous Enugu Musical Society. At different times, he was Head of Music and Research, Head of Culture and Research in the NBC and rose to the post of Managing Director of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria before he retired.
On retirement, Lawrence Emeka engaged himself as a media and management consultant, an ethnomusicologist, choral conductor, folklorist, and arranger. He was honoured with the national award of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) for his contributions to broadcasting and the Nigerian cultural movement. The Catholic Church likewise recognized his contributions to the growth of Church music and admitted him into the Knighthood of St. Mulumba (KSM).
Lawrence Emeka published quite a few books on Igbo culture particularly, as well as those of other Nigerian nationalities. They include Soul of a Nation (1990); Nigerian Peoples and Culture (1994); Journal of General Studies (1997-1999); Man at Stage Centre: Science for Higher Education (1999).
He also lectured on culture, communication and music in some Nigerian tertiary Institutions like the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, which awarded him the Fellow of Science and Technology (FST).
He died in 2008.
Mr. Ben Ndubuisi Egbuna was born on July 13, 1949. He started his education at St. Anthony’s Primary School, Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, in 1955. As the son of a policeman, the young Ben Egbuna moved from one city to another as often as his father was transferred from one formation to another, attending schools in Sapele, Warri, Enugu and finally, Lagos, where he completed his primary school education in 1962.
His secondary school education was disrupted as a result of the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 – 1970 and it was only at the end of the war, he was able to complete his secondary school education at St. Michael’s Secondary School, Nimo, Anambra State.
He began his broadcasting career which lasted through his lifetime in 1973, as a news assistant at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation Lagos. He established himself quickly, travelling extensively in Nigeria to cover events and reporting them for Radio Nigeria. On the international scene, he covered assignments in Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Senegal, Namibia as well as the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Bahamas.To every assignment, he attached a reputation for incisive, analytical and highly professional reporting.
In 1990, he was transferred to Voice of Nigeria and rose to the position of the Executive Director, News, in 2005, the first to hold that position in the corporation. In 2001, he participated in the Senior Executive Course 23 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State, and in 2003, he was made a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, was also a member of the Central Working Committee of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, as well as the President of the African Union of Broadcasting, from 2006 to 2008.
Mr. Egbuna returned to the cradle of his broadcasting career when he was appointed Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, in 2006 from where he retired in 2008. He left behind a trail of major achievements, milestones and a spotless record, details of which he captured in his memoirs ‘A Destiny Fulfilled’ published posthumously.
Known as Bonny to his family, Offorkaja was born in Kano on May 21, 1940.His father Thomas Offorkaja was a businessman and Igbo communityleader in Kano and there are suggestions that the strong fatherly influence combined with the multilingualism of his environment in infusing in Bonny an archetypal multi-talent which ran through his later years.
At age sixteen, he demonstrated remarkable oratory skills way beyond his age while still a student of St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos.
His debating skill was so outstanding and left a lasting impression on the American public who viewed the televised international debate among high school students picked from all over the world. This was at a time when America was deeply in the throes of racial segregation and Martin Luther King Jr., the Baptist minister, was just starting the Civil Rights Movement.
During his exchange programme in the United States, the teenage Offorkaja demonstrated rare courage by speaking up against unfairness in the treatment of people of African descent.The debate beamed live to homes had a remarkable impact on television viewers.
Offorkaja’ s flair for writing and speaking landed him a job as a newscaster with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC in 1958, after his school certificate exam. Through various NBC training programmes, NBC helped sharpen Offorkaja’s skills, but he also championed workers’ rights and ruffled feathers in management.
Just before independence in 1960 he had come to the attention of the Premier of Eastern Region, Dr Michael Okpara who had him transferred to the Eastern Nigerian Broadcasting Service ENBS where he read news to the delight of listeners.
Offorkaja became a wartime correspondent for the AFP (the French International news agency) during the Nigerian Civil war 1967-1970 and forged a good working relationship with Frederick Forsythe who was a freelance reporter for Reuters and the BBC.
At end of the war Offorkaja was under still under 30 years old, decided to pursue his hitherto unrealized educational dreams and he proceeded to the University of London where he studied History and Economics at the University of London. He went further to La Sorbonne in Paris and obtained a degree in the History of Ideas.
He returned to Nigeria and was appointed Director of News and Current Affairs in East Central State Broadcasting Service (ECBS). Offorkaja was the choice interviewer of high profile political leaders like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Michael Okpara, Ukpabi Asika and other top leaders.
By 1978, Offorkaja now aged 38, was appointed Director-General of the ECBS the youngest person to hold that post. Expectedly, he ran an efficient and innovative operation, including the establishment of a commercial radio station at Onitsha which morphed into the Anambra Broadcasting Corporation ABC.
In 1984, now aged 44, Offokaja retired from broadcasting to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. He set up the biggest poultry farm in the Eastern Nigeria at the time named Ekulo Farms. The farm not only had a poultry feed mill that fed its birds and supplied other farms in the region, it also operated an ethanol production plant.
In 1996, Offorkaja was appointed Sole Administrator of the struggling Anambra Broadcasting Corporation, whose fortunes he turned around within 18 months.
Offokaja spent the last two decades of his life writing for Enterprise Today, a digital-age economic and business journal and Health and Lifestyle, an informative and motivating health magazine.
Her name hardly rings a bell these days, but Chief Mrs Inyang Olugu left an indelible mark in broadcasting in Nigeria as the first woman to read national news on radio. Born in 1937 and trained by early Christian missionaries during colonial times, Inyang had an exciting education at Women Training College, Obanelu near Umuahia where she passed the University of London (‘O’Level) examination with flying colours. She was employed on 1stOctober 1961, at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation as a continuity announcer who graduated to news reader.
Olugu was winner of the inaugural Announcer of the Year award instituted after the civil war, by the then Director General Christopher Kolade.Shewas adjudged the most versatile and best all-round announcer. This elevated her to the post ofHead of Presentation.
As the new Head of Presentation, Olugu caused a change in Radio Nigeria policy which previously only permitted male news readers and for the first time authorisedfemalenewscasters to read the national news and guess who became the female to read national news on Radio Nigeria? – Inyang Olugu.
Her contemporaries included Bisi Onabolu from Radio Nigeria Ibadan, Aminu Baba Ahmed from Kaduna, Adamu Ahmed from Lagos and Tayo Olutoye. Others were Umezuoke, RalphOpara and Uche Chukwumerije who wrote thenews talk.
Inyangwas a mentor to manyRadio Nigeria announcers in the early 70s and mid 80s beforeshe retired.
Kunle Olasope was first face on television in Africa. He was also instrumental to evolving Commercial Codes of Ethics and Practice for radio and television. He inspired, recruited and trained many prominent broadcasters over the years including the incumbent BON Chairman.
A pre independence play-writing prize opened the door for a job at the NBC which spurred him to rise to the Head of Drama as producer the immensely popular radio drama “Save Journey” – The Adventures of a lorry driver. He was well known for staging plays with his “Théâtre Workshop” at the JK Randle Hall. From Radio he set up an advertising agency and was the inaugural secretary of AAPN.
Kelvin debuted as the first voice on Nigeria’s pioneer FM station then known as NBC 2. He led the team of Tony Ibegbuna and Benson Idonije to start the epoch making station in 1977. Broadcasting thereafter lost him to advertising where he rose to the top as MD of one of Nigeria's main ad agencies.
Born in Odi in todays Bayelsa state, on 24 July 1929, Horatio Agedah joined the NBCin 1956. His firsts; included; First Nigerian to broadcast daily reports of proceedings in Parliament. First Nigerian journalist to cover the Olympics for the electronic media in 1960. First Nigerian Head of News and Current affairs in 1962. Retired as first Executive Secretary of the News Agency of Nigeria in 1978.
Agbaje-Williams’ whose career began as a result of a co-worker not showing up, was the first female announcer on television in Nigeria in 1957. She rose to the height of the ladder as programmes director before retiring in 1986.
Dr. Thomas Aaze Adaba, joined the Nigerian Television Authority and held several positions. Upon deregulation of broadcasting in Nigeria, he was appointed the pioneer DG of the broadcast regulator NBC in 1992. He held the position till 1999. At other times, he was in charge atthe TCV College Jos.
Dr. Christopher Kolade who was Director-General, NBC (1973 – 1978) and Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He is also acclaimed as an administrator who was instrumental in creating the blueprint guiding the activities and policies of the NBC,
Maduka joined WNTV-WNBS as an engineer, rising through the ranks from 1961 – ‘77, when he was appointed DG NTA and retired in 1986 at the age of 50. He found other engagement in the deregulation of telecoms sector in Nigeria and the establishment of the Nigerian Communications Commission
Between 1957 and 1967, Suleiman Takuma worked in various capacities in the pre and post independence NBC. Subsequently, he held several public sector positions and gravitated later into national politics where he became quite prominent.
Started his career in 1958 in the NBC and served in many capacities all the way up to Zonal Director. But Ralph Opara is more reputed for creating the captivating radio drama series, “Save Journey”. After retirement in 1987, he was appointed Executive Director, MAMSER where he served till 1993.
Segun Olusola started his career in the NBC in 1959 and moved over to NBC-TV, the precursor of the NTA in 1964. That was the same year he created the epic Tv Drama The Village Headmaster. In 1973, he was appointed Ambassador to Ethiopia and the OAU.
Abba Zoru was later in life, a seasoned administrator and accomplished diplomat having served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to West Germany. But before his elevation to diplomatic circles, he had sowed seeds as a pioneer broadcaster with BCNN, later Radio/TV, Kaduna, where he rose to the apex as MD. He mentored many notable broadcasters from the north, who describe him as the "golden voice of broadcasting”.
He joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation n 1957. It is not clear when exactly or how he became a sports commentator. But when he did, he brought with him verve, deep analysis, witty and descriptive prowess into radio sports commentary.
Highly versatile and colourful commentator, the former Controller of Programmes at the NBC , Isola Folorunso first appeared on the radar of Nigerian football and radio broadcasting in the 1950s. As the first indigenous radio sports commentator. In Nigeria, he set the stage for others that followed
The first of our inductees into the Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame is The Very Rev Victor Badejo. Born on 21st May 1921, Victor Badejo joined the NBS in colonial Nigeria as a Senior Broadcasting Officer. The search for an indigenous head which followed the newly established NBC in 1957, ended, with the appointment of Victor Badejo in 1963 as the first Nigerian Director-General of the NBC.