A survey of the management, organisation, structure, content and columns of the contemporary Yorùbá newspaper

Introduction

The efforts that culminated in the birth of the contemporary Yoruba newspaper started with the emergence of Aldroye in 1985. Alao Adedayo, a seasoned broadcaster with Radio Nigeria, retired from the corporation and floated a print media organisation known as World Information Agents. Aldroye was published four times before it disappeared from newsstands. The premature death of Aldroye forced the publisher to take further steps to acquire training that would equip him for better performance in the publishing of the newspaper. Adedayo registered at the institute of journalism where he underwent training in print journalism. At the completion of his studies, he re-launched Aldroye in 1994. Osunnuga (2000) affirmed that when Aldroye came back into circulation in 1994, it was better produced because of two factors: (1) the expertise and experience in journalism the publisher acquired in his course of study, and (2) the availability of trained staff, which resulted in high-quality production. In spite of its comeback, and after about four editions were published in one month, Aldroye went out of circulation again. This time, the collapse was largely due to financial constraints.

Aldroye reappeared in 1996. This time, its operation was more organized. There were seasoned members of staff operating all departments of the organisation. A board of directors was put in place with better focus and oversight functions. Though there were problems, the sales volume was encouraging and patronage was increasing. Foremost among the factors that made Aldroye popular was its use of language, especially in the way it cast its headlines. Short, exclamatory, pungent and heavily loaded headlines and phrases attracted readers and made Aldroye a reference point inside buses, at marketplaces and in motor parks (Osunnuga 2000). It enjoyed huge acceptance by the local populace. Another factor that made Aldroye popular upon its return in 1996 was the lingering presidential election crisis of 12 June 1993. That was a period when an average Yoruba person wanted to know the latest information about the condition of Chief MKO Abiola, who was widely believed to have won the 1993 presidential election that was annulled by Nigeria’s military junta, headed by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Aldroye reported widely on the condition of the incarcerated presidential candidate, MKO Abiola, until he eventually died in military custody in 1998. During this period, Aldroye

injected new approaches into Yorúbá newspapering through its thorough analysis of political issues that directly affected the Yorúbá people, in particular, and Nigeria, in general.

It was the success of Alároyé that spurred a few other Yorúbá newspapers to emerge. Notable among them are Ajoró, Atalayé, Yorúbá Ronú, Atóka Ooduà, Asojú-Odùduwà, Àsoyé, Aláwíiyé, Alukoro, Bójúrí, Akéde Agbáyé, Akéde Ooduà, Aláríyá Ooduà, Akéde Africa and Kayémô. Attributing the emergence of the contemporary' Yorúbá newspaper to the success of Alároyé, the publisher of Ajoro, Duro Adeojo, once said:

Realising that Alároyé, which was being published by an ordinary news broadcaster, was highly welcomed by the Yorúbá community, those of us who were trained journalists felt we could do better and bring our language artistry to bear, and as the last Editor of the ïsôkan newspaper, I decided to establish Ajoró.

(Osunnuga 2000)

Ajoró was established in 1999 with the sole objective of creating political consciousness in the minds of both literate and illiterate Yorúbá at the grassroots. Furthermore, it was the intention of the publisher to use the newspaper as a platform for the Yorúbá at home and among the diasporas to share their thoughts on the political impasse of the period; this was a time when many Nigerians, especially the Yorúbá, were sceptical about the military’s sincerity about disengaging from Nigeria’s political landscape, and whether a Yorúbá person would be allowed to rule the nation as president. Virtually all the contemporary' Yorúbá newspapers have similar objectives, which are to pursue and protect the Yorúbá interests in the areas of language, culture and especially political representation.

 
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