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Bayo Onanuga: Editor, Teacher, Our Headmaster Without The Whip

By Ademola Adegbamigbe
A great boss. A man who teaches journalists under him with the patience of a stoic and the firm belief of a monk. Once he discovers a potential in you, he makes you develop confidence that you can do better. Of course, he, a sharp dresser himself, would never cease to encourage journalists to dress well.
When he listens to your side of anything, Oga would be brushing the tuft of hair under his lower lip with the back of his forefinger, narrowing his eyes behind his pair of glasses as if peering into your heart, detecting whether you are making sense or belching nonsense! His patience to nurture people into growth is legendary.
An editor’s editor, Mr Bayo Onanuga can turn the most egregious piece of writing to mellifluous prose. Then, he would call you to his office (he would never dress a member of his staff down in the presence of others), and tell you what you did not get right and then let you know how you could improve.
He possesses a clear professional vision, sees ahead of his contemporaries and, thus, takes proactive steps to avert disaster. For over 10 years, he had been telling us about online publication, that “this is the future of the media.” I have been a witness to how, as editor-in -chief, he navigated TheNEWS through perilous seas and balanced the ship on an even keel.
This media maharajah is never afraid of any threat or blackmail. He called the bluff of Ibrahim Babangida and, instead of apologizing to the military dictator over a cover story that African Concord carried, Mr Onanuga resigned. Despite an uncertain future, he and his colleagues, started TheNEWS. Still on his bravery, he was always calm when people who were subjects of unfavorable stories, hired fiery Senior Advocates and slammed the company with huge law suits. He would dare them to go to court because “we stand by our story.” I know that his memoirs, when it is ready, will shake everywhere…
On this special day of yours, I rejoice with you. Happy birthday sir. You will live long and enjoy sound health.

Adegbamigbe, Editor, The News (magazine and online) wrote this to celebrate the birthday of the man who taught and is still teaching most of us in ICNL journalism. The headline is from Musbau Rasak, one of Bayo Onanuga’s students. Happy birthday, my teacher forever

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