I Also Now Write for The Nigerian Guardian
This one is for my uncles.
I was a childhood prodigy when it came to reading. I was reading the words in newspapers before I was three years old, to my relatives even when I didn’t know what those words meant. They used to parade me around like a circus act to read for strangers. Very embarrassing.
My late maternal uncle — Thomas Omoruyi, was a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Benin. He introduced me to The Guardian Newspaper. It was for the first time that I enjoyed reading one and understood what the words meant.
My uncle admired The Guardian editorial team led by late Stanley Macebuh and one of the few times I saw him truly happy was when an article he wrote got published in the newspaper. It was also one of his publications in the Journal of West African Languages.
He made me read it, even though once again, I couldn’t comprehend it entirely. I think he wrote about linguistics and its relationship or importance to contemporary politics. I never fully figured out linguistics. I, however, adored my uncle. Another father figure I had, being from a broken home.
I wrote about another uncle I had lived with longer than my parents in my first Guardian article. “Uncle T” was also “Uncle H’s” mentor and father figure too. Yesterday, I wished “Uncle T” was alive to see my first article also published in the Guardian as a regular contributor. Sadly my uncle died in 2010. I hope the other one sees it. I probably will take the newspaper and show him :)
I had rejected offers from major foreign online publications to be a regular contributor for years. One of them with an outpost in South Africa still has not given up. I get requests constantly. The Guardian is uniquely exceptional to me. Not only because of my uncle but what it has always stood for in its slogan — “Conscience Nurtured by Truth”. It has a maintained a standard in reporting, analysis and journalism that is still much higher than its peers. I believe we need more of that excellence in Nigeria. I don’t mind associating myself with excellent people like Feyi Fawehinmi and Nonso Obikili in a great publication.
The Guardian is one of the few Nigerian institutions where a wealthy Nigerian bridged the political abyss to provide objective, factual information and analysis to Nigerians. The online version of the Guardian was always my most visited website when I left Nigeria in 2008. I am sure it was too for a lot of Nigerians in Diaspora. Gradually it started to lose relevance as it became crowded out by noise and gossip blogs. Our only source of news and analysis in Nigeria became social media and private blogs.
The Guardian online is back with a bang, and I am fully in support of it. It is using the right channels to reach the online audience as well. I was pleasantly surprised when I was tagged in an Instagram post by the publisher yesterday. They get it! You now have to be “everywhere the audience goes”.
Thanks to Toke Alexander Ibru and his team for this new lease of life. Thanks to them too for making me fulfil one of my late uncle’s dreams.
Thanks also to my friends on social media, they helped to make this decision to assist in killing some trees easier. Newsprint is biodegradable, so it is good. I will also plant a tree for each Guardian post I write.
PS: Yes, I know…this is not yet the sequel to my last post. The Nollywood production team is still working on that one. To God be the glory! :)