By Dapo Akinrefon, Deputy South-West EditorChief Olusegun Osoba
HE is regarded as the journalists’ journalist. There’s no gainsaying the fact that anytime the history of journalism is written, Aremo Olusegun Osoba’s name will definitely resonate.
From Daily Times as a reporter to The Herald in Ilorin, Kwara State, The Sketch in Ibadan and back to the Daily Times Group, as a manager of men and resources, Osoba has carved a niche for himself to be considered one of the doyens of Nigerian journalism.
When the young Osoba walked into the office of the old Daily Times with a mission to begin a career under the doyen of journalism, the late Babatunde Jose, little did he know he was on a journey into history.
For Osoba, who was 25 years old in 1964, such encounter became the beginning of a flourishing career as a journalist which culminated in his rising through the ranks and emergence as newspaper manager.
The late Jose was one of those who influenced Osoba to acquire more knowledge at the University of Lagos. He was also one of the three pioneer employees who joined Daily Times in 1964 after passing their A-levels.
His venture into journalism afforded Osoba the opportunity to be taken to places he never imagined he would go. The profession made him to meet people both high and mighty all over the world. It also brought him in contact with the lowly and the weak.
Perhaps, this propelled him to venture into politics where he also made his mark as a two time governor of Ogun State and one of the brain boxes of many political parties beginning with Social Democratic Party in the early 90s, Alliance for Democracy, AD, and now The All Progressives Congress, APC.
In spite of his accomplishments, the former Managing Director of Daily Times newspapers continues to insist that he remains a reporter for life.
In fact, according to him, “I am still a reporter and reporting is my life. To be called a reporter is the greatest accolade. Reporting is the soul of journalism. To report is to be the eyes and ears, the nose and voice of a news organization. It is to bear witness.”
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Babatunde Osoba at Egba settlement in Ogun State, on July 15,1939, Osoba attended the famous Methodist Boys High School, Lagos.
He thereafter, obtained a diploma in journalism at the University of Lagos and went for one-year course in the United Kingdom on the scholarship of the Commonwealth Press Union in 1967.
In 1969, he was in Bloomington, USA at the Indiana University’s department of journalism.
Interestingly, the young Osoba rose through the ranks of Daily Times becoming an Editor in 1975. He left the newspaper in November 1975 to take up the task of General Manager of the Ilorin based Nigerian Herald.
He returned to the Times in 1984 as the Managing Director. Having reached the peak of his career, Osoba moved on and worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, the Times of London, Newsweek Magazine, U.S.A, and the United Press International News Agency, UPI.
In his quest to test the political waters of the country, Osoba contested, won and took over the leadership of Ogun State on January 2, 1992. Though his tenure as governor was short-lived, he established an agenda tied to programmes and policies that targeted impacting positively on the lives of the people of the state.
Following the restoration of civil rule in 1999, Osoba was elected the governor of Ogun State, a second time.
The octogenarian, who plays an active role in the polity in the country, succeeded in throwing his weight behind the current governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Osoba is celebrated as one man who has deployed journalism in the service of humanity, especially Nigerians and played politics to make life better for the people.
He has proven that journalism practice is a great training ground for life in politics and leadership. This has earned him a lot of laurels including the Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award.