Tuesday 3 July 2012

Nseowo: A worthy replacement for late Pa Anthony Enahoro by David Oluwafemi

L-R: Late Pa Anthony Enahoro, Ifreke Nseowo
I never knew someone had taken the pains to do personality profile on me, until a friend drew my attention to it when it went viral on the internet. I met the writer, David 2months ago, and I never knew the interaction we had would be used for a write-up on me. It is a well-crafted piece, I must confess.
Click read more to read the article by David Oluwafemi…. 
Nseowo: A worthy replacement for late Pa Anthony Enahoro by David Oluwafemi

Nseowo with one of his awards for his contribution to the society through journalism

Nigerian journalism has come a long a way. It’s reputed to be oldest profession in the country’s history, though it could be argued. Many journalists have evolved and carved a niche themselves while also making the profession an enviable, noble, and well respected one.
Some of the names include Nnamdi Azikiwe, Pa Anthony Enahoro, Dele Giwa (all of blessed memories), Ray Ekpu, to list but few.
There have been young people who have practiced the profession in the past and currently. Late Pa Anthony Enahoro, 22 July 1923 – 15 December 2010, as the records have it, became the editor of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper, the Southern Nigerian Defender, Ibadan, in 1944 at the age of 21, thus becoming Nigeria’s youngest editor ever.
But a month after the death of the revered journalist and politician, there emerged his replacement.
I have heard so much talk about a certain young guy, Ifreke Nseowo who came in to the journalism profession at a young age, just like Enaharo, and has distinguished himself as a rare breed.
Having read so much about him, I really wanted to come in contact with him, and possibly have an interaction with him; hence I have been keeping close tabs on him.
So, when he touched down Lagos two months ago for a personal engagement, I just had to utilize the opportunity to meet the young media virtuoso.
I had to go meet him at the hotel where he stayed. The interaction was rewarding and absolutely inspiring.
With full names Ifreke Nseowo Udofia, this soft-spoken media wiz kid was born on July 3, 1990 to Mr. and Mrs. Nseowo Anderson Udofia. He has 3 brothers and 1 sister but he is the last born.
After graduating from secondary school in 2007, he had his sights on the media but never knew how to go about it
“I had always wanted to be a journalist. While in school, I wrote for the Technical Schools Board magazine. I used to write sports articles, just for fun and some of those articles, though never published are still in my archives. The first ever article I published in the newspaper was written while I was 15, I was in SS1. It was about Jay Jay Okocha. I only added extra ideas to it 3 years later when it was published in the newspaper”, said Ifreke.
Aged 17, he briefly managed his dad’s business. It was while on duty, that the then Editor-in-Chief of Community Pulse newspaper, Mr. Mfon Utip sauntered into his office, and he met his luck.
“I couldn’t believe my luck. I had previously written an article to the newspaper for publication, but it was never used. So when Mr. Utip came in, I heard people calling him editor, editor, editor. So while doing some stuffs for him, I asked him which paper he edits, and he said Community Pulse. I told him I have been writing in but my articles have never been used. He promised to get across to the sports editor and that it will be sorted out. That’s how I got my first article published on the newspaper.
“Fortunately for me, the then sports editor, who is now the editor-in-chief of the newspaper liked me from the onset. He said I wrote like an experienced sports writer and with fewer errors. I was glaringly fascinated at my work being published on the newspaper. You should know how it feels”.
From then on, Nseowo became an integral part of the newspaper. While serving as a sports columnist in Community Pulse, a regional newspaper, Niger Delta Advocate spotted his good talents and offered him a mouth-watering job as Sports Editor of the paper.
Though he left Pulse, his heart was still there as evidenced by the fact that he was still writing his weekly column for the tabloid. Therefore, it wasn’t hard for him to return to the newspaper when there were organizational changes in early 2009. He returned there with a bang, as he was appointed the Entertainment/Sports Editor, the first person in the history of the paper to hold a double portfolio.
Pulse introduced a weekend publication in addition to its weekday edition. My friend, the sports Editor, Mr. Nsibiet John was promoted to the position of Weekend editor. The entertainment editor, Idy Essien had left for National Service. The publisher of the paper personally called me, said he wants me back. I was offered an appointment as the head of both the entertainment and sports desks of the newspaper”, he dropped.
The highlight of his young media career came barely two years after. With hard work, diligence and taste for the best, Ifreke Nseowo was promoted to the position of Editor (Sunday), with the responsibility of editing the Sunday titles of the newspaper. This was after he had served on acting capacity for a month. The confirmation of his promotion came in January 2011, six months to his 21st birthday, thereby becoming Nigeria’s youngest newspaper editor ever, replacing the late Pa Anthony Enahoro.
This boy’s growth in the media world, though rapid, has been steady and well deserved. While serving as the Sunday editor, he was still managing the entertainment column of the newspaper, while relinquishing the responsibility of writing sports stories to the new in-coming sports editor in order to work effectively in his new role.
He succeeded in building a network of the best entertainment writers across, the south-south region, nay Nigeria. Full of innovation, Nseowo sought the permission of his employers to publish an all entertainment newsmagazine in September of 2011. He got his wish, and he assembled the best hands as E-101magazine, South-South’s all entertainment newsmagazine was birthed with him as the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief.

Nseowo (right) led other members of the Board of Directors of his magazine E-101 to discuss entertainment with the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio and also award him the 2011 Entertainment Industry Man of the Year
With his sights set on acquiring professional knowledge and a degree which permits proper practice of journalism, he got admission to study Communication Arts in University of Uyo in 2011. According to him, when he went in to the institution, there was a total dearth in campus journalism.
“There were no newspapers, nor vibrant post boards in the school. The only newspaper was school owned, and it came out only on convocation days, which takes place possibly every two years. I needed to let the students, lecturers, and other staff have a medium which they could get fed with information of what is happening within the campus, while also having their opinions expressed therein.
“I believe that any where I go, I should make a difference. That’s what brought about the idea of publishing The Citadel Post, the first newspaper in the history of Uniuyo to be published and edited by a student. I just had to dig my hands into my pockets to bankroll the project. I know the risks associated with publishing. You can’t publish a newspaper and expect to start making profit after like 20 editions.  I haven’t made any gains, instead I have been pumping money in to it without realizing anything. Profit wasn’t in the agenda when I started. I wanted to start something that will stand the test of time. I will groom students that will continue from where I will stop when I leave the varsity, because the newspaper will vanish as I graduate”, hinted Nseowo.
He will clock 22 years on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. This is a sign that he is advancing in age. Many people call him Nseowo, his father’s name instead of his first name - Ifreke. This is what he said when I quizzed him on the issue:
“I just wanted something I could use to immortalize my late dad. Apart from that, Nseowo seems to be a more unique name, and people always chose to identify with uniqueness. My secondary school mates totally sidelined Ifreke, they loved calling me Nseowo, and I loved it. We have many Ifreke around but people who bear Nseowo are rare. So, at least if you mention Nseowo to 10 people, 5 will know that it is me.”
The award winning editor said he would love be an all-round journalist, a journalist who is known to have practiced different genres of journalism i.e broadcast, print, and online. It is in lieu of this that he set up an online news site – www.connoisseurng.com which has been rated as the fastest growing online news portal, just six months after it started operation.
“With Connoisseur in operation and with my experience in the print already, I would love to venture into broadcast journalism but not on full time. Preferably, I would love to be a radio presenter. Making some cameo and guest appearances on radio would go along way to making my dreams come true. But first of all, I know I’m not really talented in that, that’s why I’m taking my time to work on my speech mannerism and other stuffs”.
His idealogy and philosophy about journalism is what wows me the more. He says Nigerian journalists are the ones degrading and making the profession lose its respect.
“To be candid, I’m disappointed with Nigerian journalists. The profession is a noble one, and people ought to respect it and those that practice it. But journalists have succeeded in making themselves ‘press boys’ to many people, especially politicians. If you really take a look at these politicians, some don’t even have the educational attainment like you have acquired.
“I don’t go to events. If it’s that important, I send reporters there. But if a known and well respected public figure is having a chat with select editors of media houses, I will attend. It is such functions that I attend. If you see some of these local journalists fight at events for some peanuts, you’ll regret being a journalist.
“They say in politics there is no permanent friend or enemy, but I think that is better applicable to the practice of journalism. Journalists shouldn’t have permanent friends or enemies. Because, if your friend is a public figure, and you have been writing good things about him, but one day you discover that he is involved in a fraud case, you have to write because that is your responsibility as a journalist, not to shelve the news and say he is my friend. The same for the enemy, if he does something good, you have to write it, that’s why I say that in the profession, there shouldn’t be permanent friends nor enemies”, said the pragmatic fellow.
Indeed, it will be a logical argument if I say that this 22 year old is a worthy replacement to the late Pa Anthony Enahoro, in fact the man will be a happy man in his grave to have had such a talented successor.
Just like international football star, Lionel Messi who has achieved a lot at the age of 25, breaking and setting new records, he has a very great future ahead of him in his chosen profession. I wouldn’t be wrong to say that the sky is his starting point.
As an indigene of Lagos, I’m envious of Akwa Ibom producing the very intelligent and down to earth young media icon, but of course, Akwa Ibom of recent has been a destination for all good things, so not really surprised.
He said he wants to write his name in the history books as one the best, if not actually the best in world journalistic practice.
I really lack the right words to call him, but he is a blessing to the new generation of Nigerian journalists. He deserves to be accorded his due recognition and honour. I suggest he should be given a national award for his achievements and contributions to the society in general after distinguishing himself in the journalism.

David Oluwafemi is a Lagos-based public affairs analyst and the publisher of an online news site

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