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Meet Chief Olusegun Osoba: Akinrogun of Egbaland

Chief Olusegun Osoba is a Nigerian journalist and politician (he is among the founding fathers of APC), born to the family of Mr and Mrs Jonathan Babatunde Osoba. He is married to Chief Aderinsola Osoba, the Berre Awujale of Ijebu.

The Akinrogun of Egbaland, Olusegun Osoba attended a series of professional courses after his high school education at Methodist Boys High School Lagos. Osoba obtained a diploma in journalism at the University of Lagos and later went for a year course at the United Kingdom on the scholarship of the Commonwealth Press Union in 1967.

In 1969, Chief Osoba studied at Bloomington, the USA at the Indiana University’s department of journalism. In 1974 he won the Nieman Fellowship Award for journalism for years postgraduate study at Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He is the first Nigerian to have won this prestigious Nieman Fellowship for Journalism.

Chief Olusegun Osoba

Chief Olusegun Osoba Career as a Journalist

In 1964, Chief Olusegun Osoba started his career in journalism by working with the Daily Times as a trainee reporter covering crime stories. In 1966, Chief Osoba was the diplomatic correspondent of the Times. In 1963, he became news editor, in 1971, he became the deputy editor of the Sunday Times and 1972, he became the deputy editor of the Times.

In August 1975, Chief Osoba became the editor of the Daily Times of Nigeria, but he later left Daily times in November 1975 to take up the task of General Manager of the Ilorin based Nigerian Herald. Osoba returned to the Times in 1984 as the Managing Director.

Internationally as a Journalist, Chief Olusegun Osoba worked as a stringer or local correspondent for the following establishment;

  • The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • The Times of London
  • Newsweek Magazine, U.S.A,
  • United Press International News Agency (UPI).
  • Chief Osoba was the chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and Member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute representing Black-Africa from 1984-1992. Osoba was a member of the Nigerian Constituent Assembly in 1988. He was also a member of the Commonwealth Press Union, London and the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ).

Chief Olusegun Political Career

Chief Osoba took over the mantle of leadership of Ogun State on January 2, 1992, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and established an agenda tied to programmes and policies that targeted impacting positively on the lives of the people of Ogun State.

His tenure was cut short on 17 November 1993 by General Sani Abacha’s administration. But in 1999 again, he was elected as the Governor with the Alliance for Democracy party (AD), Chief Osoba held the office between May 1999 to May 2003.

During his 80th birthday, Chief Olusegun Osoba launched a public presentation of his autobiography titled “Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics”. In the book, Chief Olusegun Osoba writes:

“I never knew my life was hanging by a thread until Sergeant Rogers revealed that I was high on the list of Nigerians targeted for death by the hit squad. Such was my naivety and ignorance of the grim reality that even when my friend, Dr Alex Ibru, the publisher of The Guardian was shot on February 2, 1996″

“I drove from Abeokuta to Lagos to stay with him at St. Nicholas Hospital. When Senator Abraham Adesanya escaped Rogers’ sniper attack on January 14, 1997, in which his car was riddled with bullets, I was one of the first people to visit him. I did not know that I too was marked for a similar fate.”

Some Quotes from Chief Olusegun Osoba during struggle for Dapo Abiodun Governorship Election

As the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba presented the governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun, to the party leaders and members of the party as the man to succeed Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

Chief Osoba told all the party leaders and supporters of Dapo Abiodun that attended the ward-to-ward rally of the APC that;

  • “Change is the only constant thing in life, and there is nothing that has a beginning without an end.”
  • “People know that I do not support failure. I have grown beyond pettiness and political prostitution. Our progressive principle and philosophy that culminated into a strong relationship started way back in the early 1990s when you all voted me as your governor”
  • “You truly believe in the politics and leadership style of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and you have not denied us for a minute. Today, we have only come here to present the next governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, from Iperu-Remo”.
  • “He is a young man with sounding values, respect and leadership qualities devoid of favouritism and nepotism. I urged you all to support and vote him as your governor. He has a task to fulfil to the people of Ogun State.”
  • “Go all out to vote APC in the next election, and leave those who want to play God to face their doom. APC is one, and we are visible in Ogun State. Go all out massively on election day with your PVC, it is the only way we can all match progressively to the next level.”

Chief Olusegun Osoba had spent most of his life for the struggle and liberation of the common man. He was always ready to fight for the vast majority of our people to see them get the desired social justice and equity guaranteed them even under military rule.

He had participated and engaged actively in the social movements of the 70s and 80s with others to help entrench democratic ideals and democracy for the country. Chief Osoba radical solutions to many of the country’s most challenging problems, especially through his scholarly works, will forever remain a critical game-changer for a greater Nigeria.

Through Chief Olusegun Osoba, thousands of scholars were born and from these, others too have been made. Chief Segun Osoba has lived a life well spent and so as a people, we need sober reflection through a man of history. We need to understand that life can only become a better place if we live not only for ourselves but also for others.

This is the life of our leader, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Akinrogun of Egbaland lived. His sacrifice for humanity was genuine and exuded altruism. He went through all forms of harassments and humiliations, yet never relented in his quest for social justice for all. Such an individual is not only worth thanking God for but should be highly celebrated for his rare contributions to human progress even in the face of adversity.

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Abiodun Lawrence
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