Category: Media Written by Ismail Adebayo Hits: 2183
The desire to document Nigeria‘s historical past events has led to the emergence of a newspaper called Flashback. The newspaper is expected to serve as the reservoir of information about Nigeria’s past from the pre colonial period.
Speaking to Sunday Trust in Abuja last week, its publisher, Mr Alao Adedayo who is also the Chief Executive Officer of ALAROYE a vernacular Yoruba newspaper in Lagos explained that his personal experience in information gathering for the vernacular newspaper was responsible for the idea of establishing Flashback to give non Yoruba speaking people the opportunity to read and learn about past historical events in the country. “We felt that for us to do this we need an English newspaper that will be different from what we already have in the country and it was so timely because of the gap it has come to fill in the newspaper industry.”
He posited that many things happened in the country today, and they continue to happen because many people did not know what happened in the past. He noted that many of those in government today are just from 40-45 years of age. “These are people who were very young in 1966 when Nigeria had its first coup, they were still young in1967 when the civil war started so they did not know how it started how it finished and why there was war in the country then, the factors combined together to start the war-ethnicity, lopsidedness, nepotism, corruption, cheating and others which sparked off the war for three years. Yet these things have not been addressed today. Therefore, it’s important for anybody coming into government to know all these things. Most of the inflammatory statement by those in government or in politics would not have arise if they have background knowledge of what had happened to us as a nation before. Flashback newspaper will do a lot to help them in this respect,” he said
Mr Adedayo observed that Flashback is the first of its kind in the newspaper industry. “There was a publication of the then Daily Times called HEADLINES. It was a major headlines of publications by the Times newspaper then. What they were doing then was to recall the headlines of the major stories of the newspaper. But what we are doing is different, we are actually writing past historical stories in a refreshed manner for documentation purpose. It has never been like this before in the country.”
He observed that in the next five years the newspaper would have carved a niche for itself as the first past historical newspaper in Nigeria. “What we are lacking today in area of research would be made easy because you can get them in this newspaper. It would be stress free for anyone who visits our library or our website for past information on anything in Nigeria. Be it in area of politics, economy, historical events or anything. It’s going to be one stop- shop for any information about Nigeria’s past. From the period that the colonialists came, the period of amalgamation, the historical issues of our pre independence period and after it. The newspaper has already started advertising itself because people from within Nigeria and abroad have been calling us to say they love what we are doing. We know what we are printing now and what other national dailies are printing so by the time we are a year we hope to meet them.”
According to him, Flashback is in the market to fill the gap of documentation. The documentation of the past and materials about Nigeria’s past events that cannot be found anywhere. “If you pick the newspaper you can read about events of 100 years ago, stories of past events before and after the country’s independence. We are researching on the past stories in the country so that they can be freshly presented for those who have anything to do with Nigeria. They can just pick the newspaper and get what they need there. It’s not just newspaper, its historical, well documented. It’s not a newspaper you can just throw anywhere because the facts it contains cannot be easily found anywhere.”
The publisher who decried the proliferation of newspaper without a particular focus argued that there is nothing bad in establishing a newspaper as it being done in the country today if only those who are behind have new things to add.
He observed that “now you find different newspapers here and there with different names. People just wake up, go abroad to bring in printing machines, hire people to publish a newspaper. I don’t have any quarrel with this but the problem is what gap have they come to fill in the industry, because every business has its own focus the same thing goes for the newspaper. It’s not enough to say because you have been editor for some people in the past you could own your own newspaper without a particular focus. It’s also not logical for someone because he has money, he is a politician the first thing he wants to have is a newspaper just for the purpose of reporting, his activities or propagation of his ideas. Newspaper is more than that. You cannot setout out now to say you want to start Banking or manufacturing without knowing what type of banking you want to go into. The same thing with the newspaper. Newspapers should not be doing the same thing, we cannot all be reporting about politics and this is one of the problems with the newspaper industry today in Nigeria. You find that the newspapers are doing virtually the same thing. This is wrong because the newspapers that already have names will continue to grow stronger and those who are just coming will eventually die because they came to the newspaper market with no new thing to add.”
On the challenges being faced by the newspaper, he admitted that it has not being easy gathering information about past events in Nigeria. “I must confess that it has been difficult, I didn’t know it was that bad. The archive, newspaper houses and some organisation where we had hope to get these materials from have nothing in their libraries in respect of the past events published by the newspapers. Even many of the newspapers could not preserve their publications on past historical events even though they were published by there organization. So going round to get these information has been so tedious and stressful.”
Mr Adedayo lamented that there is no particular place where the information needed could be gathered. “We have to move from place to place to gather the information about Nigeria’s past. When you go to the universities archive you can’t get anything there, it’s as well difficult to get information from the newspaper houses who had even started publishing before independence. It’s being a very tasking job that is taking us to all the six geo-political zones of the country. But we have already started feeling the positive impact and we will ensure that we succeeded.”