The Tribune:  a caricature of Awo’s legacy


The following blog was posted during the last elections regarding a news report on the Tribune.


Submitted by tola adenle on April 27, 2011

 Awo must be turning in his grave with his legacy being used to divide and destroy the West for which he labored till he died.  Everybody in Yoruba-land knows that the TRIBUNE has long lost credibility.  It is more shameful when one remembers that PDP, led by Adedibu, destroyed the sage's statue in front of the Government House.  We are just hoping that PDP leaders are not trying to set Oyo State on fire.  


A  newspaper is free to chart its course and there have been newspapers to champion the course of reactionaries and putting a few above the majority in Nigeria over the years but to have Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s opinionated, strongly on the side of the masses and very progressive paper become a praise singer to the likes of late Adedibu and his successors is – to say the least – painful.

From the company’s website, here are eloquent words that now ring true only to Tribune of the past.  All the emphases are mine:

About Us

The Nigerian Tribune is the oldest surviving private newspaper in Nigeria.

Established in November, 1949 by one of Africa's foremost nationalists, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian Tribune was structured, since inception, to cater for the interest of the common people.

From the onslaught of colonialism and through a turbulent experience, arising from the three-year Nigerian Civil War to a long period of political dislocation within the Nigerian nation resulting from a long period of military interregnum, Nigerian Tribune has emerged as the most credible mouth-piece of the teeming Nigerian masses.

In Nigerian Tribune, we have continued to project the ideas and visions of our founder, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which are to create a just and egalitarian Nigerian society, re-generate the spirit of altruism and nationalism in Nigerians by promoting the idea of nationhood …

As the tribune - mouth-piece - of the common man, we have established a tradition of excellence in the discharge of our editorial responsibility to the people of Nigeria, while still sustaining the spirit of an indivisible nation …

Essentially, our goal is to serve you, our readers, and our dear nation better by continuing to be the Voice of the Voiceless.


 Pease do not get me wrong; we cannot criticize “success” because the Tribune is raking in scads of money, thanks to its total commitment to the cause of the ruling PDP, especially in Yorubaland. We need, however,  to redefine “success” in this particular case.

In the dying days of Lam Adesina as governor of Oyo State, he had a statue of Awo erected in front of the Government House, a befitting honor to one who was the voice of the voiceless not only in Yorubaland but in Nigeria.  Awo’s ideals were unassailable but he never had a chance to have the whole country as his laboratory but what he achieved in his Western Nigeria lab was a template that would have taken Nigeria to the league of today’s Asian Tigers.

That statue was knocked down the first week of the tenure of Rashid Ladoja, the PDP governor by people who purportedly had their instructions from the Oyo PDP enforcer, Adedibu.  That statue would remain on the ground for a long time until something in army uniform – it resembles Babangida’s image – would take its place.  Insane?  Worse things were to follow.

When Adedibu celebrated a birthday, I could not believe my eyes when I saw a full page ad in the Tribune attributed to Wole Awolowo, son of the sage and head of the newspaper; the congratulatory message included the word “my father”! 

One would have expected the Tribune head to rally the troops – millions in every corner of Yorubaland and beyond – to get that statue back up, and it would have gone back up but what, apparently, is a little thing like chasing commerce over legend?

While Awo’s family is free to chart another political ideology that is different from the sage’s, it – the newfound political ideology – cannot, however, continue to be linked to Awo’s: “voice of the voiceless, mouthpiece of the common man”, etcetera. 

Several years ago when I wrote “Yoruba leadership not for sale” before Ogun State politics became completely totalitarian, the state’s governor took umbrage and, using a lackey who would soon become persona non grata like me, went to town – country, really – with fliers about me.  That essay had had reason to mention that if Obasanjo, despite being head of state failed to become Yoruba leader,   Obas who were being courted for that purpose  –   and even Mama (Mrs.) Awolowo – would not have a say  in who eventually becomes Yoruba leader because the family had long departed from Awo’s political path.

The chance is always there for The Tribune to revert to the goals set by the founder.  We millions who truly believed in him – not the fake Awoists for whom the cap IS the ideology – cannot wait to see the change, and with The Broom Revolution having swept the remaining vestiges of internal colonialism from Yorubaland, the time for change is now.



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