Journalism Training Facing Hard Times-Duyile

Chief Duyile

The former Provost of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Chief Dayo Duyile has been involved in journalism very early in life and has close to 50 years lived all through within the profession. He started as a crime reporter of repute to become Editor of note, an administrator and till date a trainer in Mass Communications. After his feat at NIJ, he was instrumental to the emergence of the Mass Communication Department in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, Joseph Ayo Babalola University,  (JABU),  and now at Elizade University, Ilara Mokin also in Ondo State. In this extensive interview with the BV team at his country home in Ondo City, Chief Duyile ruminates on the past and spoke on the future of the profession given the benefits of his experience as a practitioner, trainer and administrator. Enjoy the package.

From your experience how would you describe the state of the media these days, both print, electronic; as well as the “New Media”?

The state of the media now is very confusing in the sense that the old media, that is the newspapers the radios and the television are still making waves in their coverage and dissemination of information to communities and the Nigerian society at large. There is no way we can shove them aside even with the advent of the new media, the online.

But you see the internet has come and is dealing with the old media in a very frustrating way in the sense that Nigerians are now shifting their loyalty from reading print, even television or radio to the new media.

As an old practitioner I have carried out some research on the effect of the new media on the old media and I have found in some of my studies that the new media has come to complement in the sense that, every one of them will create a way for itself.

As I am talking to you if you take newspaper readers in Ondo by interviewing newspaper vendors they will tell you that hard copies are still being sold. I have a library here that houses newspapers from 1960’s and I still read newspapers, I take four newspapers till date. I take the Punch, Nigerian Tribune, The Guardian and The Nation. Though I read others too but I use these ones to find out whether journalism still does what it did in those days but to my dismay I discovered that we have slumped from professional reality to something else and that baffles me. It gives me a lot of concern that print media and a little bit of the broadcast media need to be re-organized on the line of competitiveness with the new media.

New media has eroded the readership of the newspapers, although diehard readers are still there doing what they ought to be doing reading and cutting some important information out. That shows the old media are still intact, some people will tell you that if they read it in the new media and they have not read it in a newspaper they have not got it. So, what I am saying is that yes, the new media is here it has come and it will stay.

When the newspaper started in America and the radio joined it, the people predicted that it was the end of newspapers but it didn’t end it. Rather it strengthened it. Then television joined and they said it was the end. But no, television is still with us, radio is still with us.

In fact, radio used to be the fastest means of communicating but the new media has also surpassed broadcast media in the sense that it has numerous enthusiasts, those who want to use email, twitter and so on. There are so many platforms. But with the numerous platforms that we have the newspapers are still very strong in terms of editorial content.

 Look at the Punch editorial regularly on the federal government policies, if the federal government says it’s not taking note of it, it is a lie because I have read all the editorials so far. They are not combating the Federal Government but they are trying to teach the federal government what to do. If journalists fail to do that; then there is no journalism. That’s why I said editorial policies are the guidelines. 

You can’t joke with newspapers, they may not be selling millions but thousands that they sell, those who read them are also transmitting information onto others who did not read them, so, there is extension of readership and non-readership. In fact in Ondo I did a study on free readers. They always gather there every morning; they don’t pay but the vendors are happy to give them all the newspapers to read. If you think there is no influence of the newspaper on this little groups that read papers freely you are telling lies.

I interviewed some of them they said even when they want to vote they will come and read the newspaper first to see who has good programme for them. These are people who do not have a means of living but they want to have a role to elect the government; so they surround newspapers stand and read them freely and their opinions matter because they can go out there and convince and persuade others.

How would you compare your days as a crime reporter with the Daily Times to what we have now?

There is no comparison, in the sense that in those days of crime reporting your editor would not take a no for an answer; if for instance there was a murder in Moore plantation and you had been to Makoko police station and you had scratched the information on the surface because police will always give their police bulletin. They issue that every day. You as a crime reporter would look at it and now probe further by going to the DPO or the investigating officer to see what actually had happened. Then you must go to the scene to look at the victims or relatives of the victims. They don’t do that these days, they rely on police report and that is one sided news reporting and that is not good. You have to balance. How did it happen? An eye witness may tell you and if there is none; relatives will tell you then you add the police side to it. But these days, when I read crime reports I shudder in the sense that they are not crime reporting! Crime reporting is investigative journalism. You have to find out. Most of the investigations that I did I still have some of my newspaper.

They don’t do that now they scratch it on the surface and that is why I said we have not done much in teaching them news reporting in the university. For example now, if you take any 300 level Mass Communication student on IT and send them to write a good story, they can’t.  But at Elizade University, they are doing a little more. There is always a training workshop; apart from the academic theory and all those things. As a student, you will go into the newsroom and you will produce a report as your assignment and we will discuss it. Then we will cross the t’s. A good crime reporter will cover all the relevant ground before he goes into publication. But today they send you today and they want results tomorrow. No, you don’t do crime reporting like that, no crime reporting can be reported within 24 hours.

Do you think the reporters now enjoy the same kind of support, benefit, infrastructure, facilities as you enjoyed in your time and is the environment conducive for them now to do the type of reporting you did in your days?

Crime has ascended to an unimaginable height from those days. Armed robbery in those days you can still survive than armed robbery now. Now, you have gangs in armed robbery; in banditry and in other things. It is difficult and many journalists do not have that courage. The proprietors too are focusing on profitability, they know that news will flood their newspapers and by selling their newspapers, the newspaper will become very strong and very powerful. Popular advertisers will come but they can’t stand the thought of protecting a reporter.

Some of these reporters don’t even take salaries. The problem now is as a crime reporter, will you want to stick your neck into a deadly assignment when you know that even the proprietor is not going to assist or protect you?

So, we have proprietor’s problems with the media and that is contributing to the emergence of patronage of the new media. Untrained journalists are all over the place now and they don’t know what we are talking about. They don’t know the ethics of the profession; they don’t know about interviewing; they don’t know about anything. It is a big challenge. 

 That was what brought the advent of new media. Even in crime reporting they would over exaggerate something that happened. They would blow it up. Blowing up crime has a very dangerous effect on the society. First of all, the world will see that Nigeria is a crime leading country whereas there are other types of crimes in other countries that are not in Nigeria but they are also having this problem so we need to re-train even the bloggers.

In my opinion, it’s good to have not just online training but also face to face interaction. Call bloggers to come and attend a two-week workshop to reduce the danger in reporting politics; crime; economy and other situations that are so alarming in the country now.

Then our reporters that are also practicing need to go back to school occasionally to listen to people who are practicing to show them  how to do it.  If we don’t do that I can predict that we will run into problem and shortly the newspapers will become very unreliable.  People will not depend on what is published again; there will be too much support for the new media as against the print media and the radio. We need to retrain our reporters. We need to ask them to come for training regularly at minimal cost so that we reduce the incidence of what I call bad reportage.

Looking back at your time as Provost of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism; (NIJ) what would you attribute to your success?

Nigeria Institute of Journalism is a professional school and as the Director at that time, I know the policy of the owners that is Newspapers Proprietor Association of Nigeria, (NPAN); Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) and the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE). They are the principal owners although with some subvention from the international Press Center (IPC). We have a similar organization in Kenya; Nairobi; the  Kenya Institute of Journalism. We have similar one in Ghana, Ghana Institute of Journalism. So, the three of us were meeting regularly whether in Nairobi or in Accra or in Lagos to look at our curriculum; what do we want to do, do we want to produce writers or do we want to produce journalists because they are two different people.

The writers are those on the features desk. Anybody can write once you have taken either Polytechnic or University education. You can be a good writer if you know what to do. But journalism is news reporting, newsroom culture, ethics of journalism so the three organizations were always one in fact we were exchanging students visits. From NIJ I think about every year we would go to Ghana, Ghana would come to us the following year, and what were we emphasizing? Practical news reporting, how do you inform the people diligently; journalistically and ethically. We do that at NIJ; they do it in Ghana and in Kenya it is only in the institute of Journalism in Tanzania that was different because they were doing a little bit of academic journalism. We were not doing that and that brought a lot of problems.

At a point our students wanted to be accredited by NBTE which accredits polytechnics. We said no, we were not a polytechnic. We reminded them the proprietors had set up the school to produce journalists, reporters. We really did not need any accreditation but it became a crisis. We managed the crisis but before the crisis blew open I introduced an evening programme for professionals whether you are into reporting or editing or you are a feature writer be it newspaper; radio or television. You could come back to NIJ in the evening and lectures started about 4 o clock and ended at 10 o clock and the whole place was lively and you will see some of the editors coming to listen to practical discussion on how to edit their newspapers.

Alhaji Lateef Jakande of blessed memory was the champion of this programme because when I brought the programme to the Board, they first said no, insisting that NIJ was not for that type of thing. I was reminded that we were to train reporters and that we did not need to go into PR, advertising but all these are adjuncts of Mass Communication. But my conviction was that we have to train them and bring the practitioners to come and talk to them. Otherwise at the end of the day, you will see stupidity in practice. So, Alhaji Jakande said the proposal was alright and that was how we started and we had more than 1,000 students throughout the five-year course.

Even the registrar of Elizade University today was a product of those evening classes. There are many of them who went into advertising; some of them went into advertising because we had some that came from leading advertising companies then. They were real professionals we were not talking of academics and so people were attracted and so we started producing people although APCON (the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria) was not happy about that. But we did that for the society.

At that time, what we did was an integrated communication course, Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations and Marketing Communication, all the four were running at the same time in the evenings and people benefitted from it. They have stopped that now taking what they call National Diploma in journalism which is not what NIJ was founded for. NIJ was founded to train journalists to be competing with Ghana, Kenya and other places like the London School of Journalism.

Recently I spoke to Chief Olusegun Osoba,  Former Governor of Ogun State who is always on the board and echoed that we have to go back to what we did to make NIJ look like what it should be, like Kenya; like Ghana. They are still doing all that in Accra. We have reverted to just narrow ND course, what will an ND holder do in investigative journalism; in corruption and how will he report and handle corruption? Those guys that came at that time were from the news room and they learnt new ways of investigating crime and interviewing techniques. They learnt new ways of writing features and so the newspapers became very attractive. People would take their newspapers home and at leisure time go through them. It’s not like that anymore because those who are writing now have no experience and they are not doing in depth reporting. There is problem in journalism as at now and the politicians have eroded the newsroom where they give them money or whatever gratification.

Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye defines the types of journalism, and identified the journalism of next of Kin. Would you say that is what is happening today sir?

I won’t generalize like Professor Akinfeleye but he is right to some extent for example when an editor cannot tell his proprietor that this story will not do the newspaper any good, will not do the readers or the society any good and the proprietor says we must use it.

In the days of the National Concord, Bashorun Moshood Abiola of blessed memory used to come to our editorial meeting and would say that a story be used and we would tell him this story could not go. Let us send our reporter to go and do a story on this. After some time, MKO would agree with us. We had an editorial policy that the proprietor should not interfere and MKO respected it.

The issue is, when they interfere we won’t be able to do our work. May his soul rest in peace, Dele Giwa would not take any piece of paper from MKO, he was the editor of Sunday Concord; he would never. He would debate it in the editorial meeting. Sometimes the PA would come and say the proprietor wanted a story published, but Dele Giwa would say such could not fly and that would be the end of it. It is not like that now. I read some news in a newspaper recently and I saw the hand of Esau in it. I said this story is not journalism and I said someone who is powerful in this paper has influenced the content and an editor should reject that kind of thing because when you read it you know it is not good for the newspaper. Any newspaper that I want to read, I see it as telling the truth or making efforts to tell the truth. Another issue with today’s crime reporting is the absence of follow-ups. Crime stories must be flogged till the end when there is nothing to say about it. Now, young reporters do not follow stories to that length, they will report what happened; second follow up and that is it and people will be wondering what happened. Recently, there was a murder case in Ibadan; they killed one young boy. The newspapers reported it first day. But second week I was looking for a follow up but none came. So, I called the editor and said this story that you reported front page for that matter and it has shaken Ibadan and people are now making comments why did you suddenly stop? His reply was that the police said they were investigating!

You have no dealing with the police; you should also be investigating because the quality of your newspaper is getting lower and lower. I said look, readers want to know what happened? You have not followed it up.

The news room is not as agile as it used to be because then, your editor would tell you where is the story? He looks at it and asked what about the police aspect of it? Our editors would send us back; our editor sent us back so many times in the Daily Times at Kakawa Street in Lagos with Segun Osoba.  He was a very good crime reporter alongside late Tony Momoh. We were all good crime reporters. Throughout Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s trial, we covered everything from arrest to imprisonment. From day one from the arrest of Chief Awolowo till he went to jail, the Daily Times did not miss any story. Now, the politicians will gives money and reporter will influence the story. It is a sad reality.

Those days, the institution would support you. Today this is not as guaranteed as it was in your days. How can we marry this and still do a thorough Job?

It boils down to courage; professional courage. I give an example of my wife. She is not a journalist, she is always scared of my writings because she has witnessed about three or four occasions when I was picked up at home on the account of what I had written. I was picked up during Babangida’s regime even during Obasanjo’s regime. That was the time I knew that 15 Awolowo Road Ikoyi was a dungeon of detention. Still I did not relent because the story was correct. What happened was that some ministers pocketed some money meant for “Operation feed the nation” and we got the document, though we have to be very wary of document because they can forge document to implicate but we went and found out it was authentic document. The money passed through one bank account to another and we got everything and we published.

My editor would always rely on me in fact when I was leaving the testimonial he gave me was that “any time a senior reporter was not at hand, Dayo Duyile was always my answer.” I still cherish that small testimonial. It was when I was leaving Daily times for WNTV in Ibadan at that time. At that time, your editor would follow you even to the detention, he would not just leave you like that but he will insist that the story was correct. He would not compromise. The editor would not compromise, the reporter too would not compromise because the corporate support was there; your salary would come at the right time. At the end of the year they crowned you, the reporter of the year with some very impressive gifts for doing such story.

Proprietors that are setting up newspapers now are doing so either for political reasons or for profit. They are ready to support any idiot in their newspaper. They will tell the editor that is my candidate. Yes, newspapers are very influential and they can nominate presidents. Yes, it has happened in England at the Daily Mirror and London Times supported Harry Wilson because the proprietor was a friend of Harry Wilson but they will always tell the truth, like saying, look Prime Minister what you have just done is not good! That is absent here. If you do it here they will call your proprietor like they did for the late Alex Ibru in the case of the Guardian. Ibru, a business man set up the newspaper to ventilate public opinion and to use it for social development of the society but the writers and the editors there were very critical of General Ibrahim Babangida who was dishing contracts to Ibru’s business. Babangida had to call Mr. Ibru and complained about the criticisms of his government by the Guardian every day. He told Babangida that he can’t stop them. “I can’t interfere with their editorial policy” and he responded that we know what to do so and they stopped all contracts but Ibru did not bother. The Guardian continued and that dependability, that trust is still with the Guardian newspaper till today. If he had succumbed where will The Guardian be today? The Guardian is one of the best in Nigeria today and is always saying it as it should say it, be it editorial and features. So, what I am saying is the proprietors now are politically indebted to some political leaders.

Newspapers don’t enjoy that support again from their proprietors, it has gone into oblivion even some proprietors will say you don’t need to be paid, you are a senior reporter go and do the story and take care of yourself and its happening right now in Nigeria. Many of them are involved, even the reporters too are lazy they want quick money and they sell their stories. “We have a story about you and we want to report it next week, this is the story”. A reporter should not give his story out to the subject of the story but they do that now to bargain for money, we are in trouble. I am not talking of the “new media” but newspapers are in trouble because the proprietors are indebted to their sponsors and they want to use the pages of the newspapers to ventilate supportive opinions that will favor them.

Where exactly do you see the future of Journalism?

There is a way out of all this.  Like I said, the politicians have invaded the media and they know why they are doing it. They know that the media is very powerful unless they want to deceive themselves. Without the media no politician can survive. The media makes them and can also destroy them if they misbehave. They know the power of the media therefore they are ready to bring millions into the media that they want to influence. But professionals that are coming in future are not yet born they are not with us now. We have discussed it many times that professionals should come together and start a newspaper like they did in Ghana. There is what you call free press in Ghana established by a group led by Kabral Blay-Amihere, he was a reporter who was jailed two times by Rawlings for publishing and distributing the paper free because he wanted to make a point. Three professional journalists came together and founded the Ghana free press.

Now, if the people that we are talking about; who are coming in the future will see what problems we have now; I am not losing hope they may not make money but they will make their points because they are not afraid to publish and be jailed. We used to have people like that. Peter Enahoro, I will continue to mention him. He ran away when he wrote about the fresco but over there he started a paper which he used to ventilate public opinion in Nigeria, The Africa Now. We have other people like Sam Amuka, but these people are getting old. They have told us what we should be doing; journalists should come together and fund a newspaper. It may not be big; it is not the circulation of newspapers that matters but what it publishes. Once it publishes the correct thing that people want to know and want to have, very soon, it becomes very popular and everyone says that’s our newspaper.

They are coming and that’s why I said the beautiful ones are not yet born. Not these people who are training in NIJ they can’t do it because they are already part of the system. They have been affected by COVID-19 corruption; they cannot repent because they are looking for means to build houses, to get good cars and so on at the expense of the newspapers.

‘Politicians With Their Media Will Soon Fade Away”

Don’t you think that perhaps at this stage there is need for a law to guide and caution on this?

I used to tell my students that I can vouch for my integrity in journalism. I have never taken any bribe from anyone not even brown envelope. I am not involved and I do tell them the brown envelope that you are taking will not enrich you but rather it spoils your integrity because the person who stretches his hands to give you an envelope when he sees you tomorrow he tells the other person that,  that’s the reporter of ABC, I gave him N10,000 for that story. Before you know it, it’s all over the place but there are some people even as bad as it is now who will refuse to be influenced by money. But unfortunately they don’t have any media of their own.

The newsroom now is different from the old newsroom. In those days, the editor would ask you where is the story? Because he is compiling the schedule for the next day; he is not going to ask about any envelope.

My editor in Daily Times then made criminality of brown envelope. Any reporter that was reported to have taken brown envelope would be fired and he would follow it to any length and you can’t get another job.

The Pakistan Ambassador in Nigeria held a press conference at the Federal Palace Hotel and I went to cover it for Daily Times. It was the time Pakistan and India had their problem and they provided a sheet of paper where the names of the newspaper that came for the press conference was listed and then you signed. Do you know that somebody signed for Daily Times and my name was there? I was suspended for two weeks for the management to investigate. They found out that the man who signed for Daily Times was bearded and that was the only thing that saved me because I was not bearded. But now, if you organize conferences for your clients you will see numerous reporters who are not assigned by any newspaper who will claim to be reporting for fictitious media houses.

So we have that problem but what I am saying now is that the beautiful ones are coming. These are professionals that will stand their ground and they will continue to bombard the society with information that the society wants to read and they won’t take money from anyone. You see, the politicians who have invaded the media will soon fade away. The newspapers and television stations they are setting up cannot last 50 years that is why I said the beautiful ones are not yet born and they are coming and the government too knows. The government is always a rascally player in this situation they want cheap publicity and anybody that criticizes them is their enemy. That is the type of government we are having now. Then the government will come again that will respect the integrity of journalists, that will also respect the integrity of governance and there will be politicians that will come again and say no government should own any media. It happened in Jamaica sometimes ago. The former Prime Minister sold all government media to private hands that is why Jamaican media are very independent today. Go to Jamaica you can’t find any politician having a newspaper or radio. They don’t allow it in Jamaica because it was misdirecting governance and people were complaining. So many things were happening protest upon protest, Michael Manly then went to parliament and said, too many politicians are having newspapers and radio and there must be a stop to that. He said it was derailing governance and there was the need to do something about it. He insisted it should be debated. He was vigorous about his position and convictions on the matter and the parliament came out with ban on government ownership of the media. So, every media in Jamaica today is independent media and they encourage people who want to set up. It is going to happen here too, though it will take some time.

Looking at the output of today’s media, what would your assessment be of the usual editorial rivalry as opposed to what we had in the past?

Rivalry is good for the media because of what you call scoop, running to be the first to get what the other papers will not get not because you will be compensated but because you are the first or the only one to break the news. You are professionally happy that you are doing journalism. When you scoop, the editors of the other newspapers will call those on the beat where they were when you got that story.

I remember when I was covering Lagos High Court of Justice Olanrewaju Lambo; and I got to the court 7am and something happened before the case I came for. It was the case of an influential Lagos lawyer Jubilee Kwesi Sagoe who was accused of mismanaging the funds of a College that was called first and the court started at 8am and nobody had any news of that case. I couldn’t get the picture because there was no photographer but I got the story. I got the charge sheet before they took him back to Broad Street prison,  and of course Daily Times used it front Page. The Morning Post and other newspapers were shocked and it carried my byline. Everyone was wondering where I got the story and even the number of the vehicle that took him back to Broad Street prison. I mentioned it in the story and his whole charge. What I am saying is that scoops were what we were all looking for. As good as we are friends I won’t show you my notebook. But now, the papers seem to carry the same stories almost word for word. So, where is the journalism in that? We have a problem, and it is from the from the proprietors love of money. If I wanted to be rich I would have been rich so many years. Now, I am eighty something now and I am still doing some little teaching in the University.

When I was coming into journalism in the Tribune in 1962 those who interviewed me asked whether I wanted to be a journalist of wine and beer. They told me that there were three kinds of journalists; one is wine and beer journalist, the brown envelope journalist and the third one is the professional journalist who does not care about anything but stories. I said the third one is what I wanted to be. That was how I entered Tribune in 1962 and I was there for 5 years. Jakande was the Managing Director of the Tribune and as I said that testimonial that he gave me, I still value more than my PhD, “Dayo Duyile came from the Nigerian Tribune; each time there was no senior reporter at hand Dayo Duyile was always my answer. He will go very far in his chosen field.” In fact, I put it in my memoir which I have just finished. I called it “My Journalism Memoir: My Encounters in the News Room.” But as you can see, this type of journalism is missing now where you and I are working for different newspapers; we are still friends; we are of the same beat but we don’t share commonness of our notes even our sources of news we don’t share it. I won’t tell you; I won’t even tell my wife. Those days the editor would tell you not to share confidential information with your wife and don’t say anything about it but these days you find people sit at the dining table and tell their wives.

‘Laws About Advertising Should Not Be Static”

What do you think of the move by APCON and other relevant bodies seeking amendment to the advertising laws?

First of all, of the three adjuncts of Mass Communication; advertising is the biggest and that is because of the budget that companies pump into advertising every year. Next to that is Public Relations. If advertising does not clear the way, Public Relations will be missing. Advertising is like a bulldozer it is then PR will work. In practicing advertising in Nigeria we have come a long way and laws about advertising should not be static. It should be dynamic in the sense that new things are coming up that we have not even experienced and that you have not even imagined. 

If we have a static law that does not take care of emergence of new development in advertising that is not a law, a good law will provide accommodation for things that are happening within the industry that will promote the profession and practice in Nigeria. When the Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria, (APCON) was formed, I wrote an article about it that this is the first time that Nigeria will be taking advertising seriously, to give it a package and an authority so that charlatans cannot come in. Before advertising practitioners were not registered with any association and they were so many in Nigeria bringing bad image to the industry.

When APCON came it streamlined the practice of advertising and then decided on who can be an advertising practitioner. That has minimized the incursion of charlatans into the practice, it is important to review the laws from time to time.  

In that case, people who are in advertising practice themselves should champion the desired change. They are the ones to engineer the reviews to make the laws updated and relevant to the trending demands of the practice. They are to dictate the pace and advise the government and APCON on what to do. This is because as practitioners you know the shortcomings. Advertising practitioners know their problems like journalist know their problem those who are in advertising practice should come together and lend hands to drafting an APCON law to accommodate what I call commendable advertising practice in Nigeria like it is in England.

Advertising in England is a big industry, I think in America too. Advertising is the father of journalism because without it journalism collapses, radio and television as well. I always place advertising above journalism; they are not the same; I also place it above PR.

It is important therefore that the laws of the land that govern such practice should be regularly updated in order to remove clauses that are no longer relevant or that are now outdated, and to inject fresh clauses that will enhance and engender professionalism.

It was popular then that there was a crisis between you and Chief Segun Osoba. Please tell us about it?

You are taking me back down the memory lane. Let me tell you a bit of the story. It was not really a crisis. But let me tell you about the issue that happened then. I came to Daily Sketch two times. I first came in 1965 when Daily Sketch was established in 1964, the editor then was Akin Akinsiroju from Ile-Oluji; he was a journalist. There was a problem in Sagamu and they said some group were supporting Adeleke Adedoyin who was the Speaker of the Western House; they said they had dethroned Akarigbo of Remo and therefore was no longer the monarch so they asked me to go and investigate the story in Sagamu which means I had to stay with the Akarigbo faction as well as the Adeleke Adedoyin faction. I got a good and balanced story and I brought it. But my editor after reading it said no that’s not the true situation. He said the true situation was that Akarigbo was unpopular; but I said I went to his palace and all his senior chiefs were with him. I went to Adeleke Adedoyin, politicians were with him and I spoke to all of them and they gave me this story. He said no go and rewrite it to tell the world that Akarigbo is not popular so I went back to my office in the newsroom and wrote my letter of resignation that was in 1965. That story was not published I still have a copy of that story here.

My editor in Daily Times before I went to Daily Sketch said I should not go to Daily Sketch because it was a political organ and the ranging Awolowo -Akintola feud would affect me as a young reporter. He advised me to stay in the news room at the Daily Times. At that time, Osoba and I were colleagues in Daily Times as well. I did not listen to them. I am such a man that likes adventures. I like to go around. If you look at my CV you will see that I worked in nearly all the newspapers in this country and the radio stations. I never stayed in a place to earn gratuity because it’s either four years here or three there, like a rolling stone. I went back to Daily Times and remained there.

Osoba and I were very close. We were sleeping in the same room, you know in those days we were very rascally. We would go out together and if it was too late I would sleep in Osoba’s place. We became very good friends until the Daily Sketch issue when I became Editor in 197. He was General Manager of Herald newspaper. He had problem with the Military Governor and he was our friend so I tried to mediate at the end of the day he left and it was at the time Chief Bola Ige  was contesting for the governorship of Oyo State. Osoba had a free job with him as his publicity man. I had been Editor for three years and I was already acting General Manager for 18 months awaiting to be confirmed although I refused to be acting General Manager when they made me Acting General Manager. I said I came here to be an editor; I don’t want to go into the boardroom but they said I had to because I was the most senior person so I accepted. I was editing and I was also managing but Chief Osoba had just finished with Herald. They were my friends so I used to accommodate them. We would go out and eat together and they were always in my office.

I did not know that the Governor was eyeing me since they had not confirmed me so he called me and said Dayo “I know you are a very good friend with Osoba and Ajayi, I want to fix them up; can you be the Editorial Manager so that Osoba becomes the MD? I said No; I would rather resign. He asked why, and I said because I won’t serve under to Osoba. He offered me the job of the Editorial Manager but I said no, there is no editorial managership in the condition of service, even if you create it now it would not hold water I would be an island of my own while the Editor and the General Manager will be doing the job, so I resigned. I wanted to go and do my PhD in one American university at that time. They gave me admission and one teaching assistant and scholarship but late Bashorun MKO Abiola, whom I had known since when he finished his secondary school in Abeokuta and came to work at Barclays Bank in Ibadan. He invited me to join him as he was putting his newspaper together. He said Dayo you are my friend everyone I talked to said you should join this team. But, I said no I won’t join this team because he was anti-Awolowo and that the paper would be anti-Awolowo. I told him that I am an ‘Awoist’ and people know me for that.

I started my career in Nigerian Tribune and Papa Awolowo know me very well. I have pictures with Papa and so why should I come and start acting against Papa because your newspaper will do that. He said we are the ones that will give him editorial policy. He said he is not going to use the newspaper against anybody although he reneged in course of time. They said I should be the Editor, I looked at it; I was editor of Daily Sketch, Acting General Manager Sketch then coming to concord again I will be an editor? I said no and MKO gave me another job. He offered to give me a three year contract but I insisted that he should give me a two year contract and I will be responsible directly to him not to the MD; Henry Odukomaya. We eventually settled for the Training Manager position to train those in the newsroom and those editors how to manage, how to write and how to publish good newspaper.

At the end of two years, he wanted to renew I said no so I left. I was just going to take my scholarship again when Alhaji Jakande invited me to run the NIJ. It has been one problem or the other and the PhD was in my mind that I must have it by all means. For more than 35 to 40 years I have been going round in circles on the programme. But we thank God finally when I retired and I looked at what am I going to do now, I said let me go for the PhD.  Someone asked me what I am going to do with the PhD and I said don’t ask me. This is a dynamic world. Now I have the time and I am devoting to the PhD. I also write articles in journals. I was a teacher in Jamaican university of West Indies for two years and I have friends there and now they said I should come and spend another two years when I am done with the PhD. I did not apply for that. I also get a lot of satisfaction from the articles that I write. Also, I am writing books, and I sell them too.

The issue between myself and Osoba was that when they appointed him and I had to leave, there was a 30 day protest by workers, it’s in my book. The 30 days thoroughly shook the Sketch. I was not behind that crisis because I had gone to Lagos, I first of all went to Ondo  to tell my Dad that I was going to America then came this Abiola offer.

Osoba mistook the crisis to be my hand work and I said the future will tell because I was not behind it. I had no hand in the strike action.They were saying ‘No Duyile, No Sketch’. But I said no, Duyile did not own the Sketch; he is an employee like you so don’t say that but that was their slogan. So, for 30 days they did not allow Osoba to come in and there was no Sketch. They were always on the Street, saying; ‘No DuyIle; no Sketch’ even my father was saying go and settle this thing. By the time the issue died down and he came in, he used vendetta against those that he thought were my boys. He uprooted them but luckily, I was already in Concord so I took them to Concord. For about three years, we were not on speaking terms but later he realized that I was not involved in that crisis. We have mended the fence and we are friends again. When I launched my book, Osoba was the chairman. He came and he supported me with funds. Even now on the issue of NIJ, he told me I should not be aloof; that we should bring back that professionalism, so that all these small children can be taught properly. We are talking of highly responsible people who want to be journalists and who are even good writers, to bring them in the evening and let them do some training with themselves and they would revive and revolutionize the media.

What were the challenges of journalism in your days?

The challenges were not many. We were not aspiring to be editor, that is why I still like to be called a reporter. I used to tell my colleagues that the reporters are the journalists. They are the people who do the work and remuneration was good. If they send you on assignment you could take a taxi or whatever and at the end of the month the amount spent on moving around would be paid. Your salary would be paid, then, at the end of the year if you merit it they will give you an award. So, we were always happy to say I am a reporter even Osoba will tell you today that he is still a reporter.

The challenges were we did not know that journalism will be like this with our school certificate or at most advanced level papers. We were doing what we were supposed to do. I had two papers at advanced level which I passed when I was already a reporter. The challenges were that I was not thinking of going to the university. My plan was to go to Regent Street Polytechnic in London because that was where Onabanjo and Jakande trained. It was where a lot of those big names trained.

What I am saying is that one of the challenges in our time was that I wanted to advance to Regent Polytechnic because of those people that I have mentioned and looking at Jakande writing;  John West, look at Onabanjo writing Ayekooto; look at Ajuluchkwu of the West African Pilot, if you read his work anything on government you will think that the government will look for a gun to shoot him. Those were good journalists. So our challenges were to be like them. We did not know that we should go to the university because all these people went to Regent Polytechnic. We wanted to go to Regent Polytechnic. Osoba and some of our friends who joined us later went to University of Lagos for Diploma but I was still seeing London. At the end of the day, they came out and then they were promoted. I was still my usual self; Osoba became Senior Reporter; Tony Momoh went to Nsukka became Senior Reporter and then I went to Alhaji Jose and I said what is happening. His answer was that I was there when these people decided to go to the university. What are you doing? That was what prompted the idea of my going to the university. There was no university policy at the time; I joined but the challenges came when they said you must add to what you have. Those who did not were removed from the newsroom. Some of them were made proof readers; some were sent to the printing section but I went to UNILAG for my Diploma then Alhaji Jose said diploma is not enough that I must go for degree. I told him I had just finished my diploma; he said I must go back to get the degree and that was how I got the degree and as soon as I finished the degree, the Daily Sketch opened. They were looking for Editors with experience who had BSc. in Mass Communication or in journalism and 18 of us contested and they said I was successful. The major challenge then was that you wanted to be like those before you.

Is there any similarity to that now?

No; because most of the graduates we now employ, are either from the arts or sciences. But Daily Times had a policy, if you have a degree in Political Science or Economics, they still trained you in the Times Journalism Institute to be a political writer, or an economics and business writer and it was very good. But now you see BSc. Political Science becoming an editor with no experience. These are the challenges now; not that they are not good; they are good but the best they could do was to train them as journalist to write in their area of specialization but when you make them editor right away you will have problems and that is the product of political proprietorship of newspapers. They just bring anybody and say he is the editor, even though he has not been trained as editor; he has not seen the news room inside out. When you pass through the newsroom properly you can become an editor any day because you will see all the paraphernalia of news reporting; interviewing techniques; maintaining your sources and then the ethics of the profession.

‘Journalists Are Exposed To Dangers, Need Courage To Survive’

Today as an editor, the society expects you to live a life of affluence. How do we situate the experience now against what it was then?

No, we did not have that interference then. Let me use the Daily Times and the Daily Sketch because I was in charge of Sketch for four years and it was a government-owned newspaper but my slogan was yes it is a government newspaper it’s not the government that owns it. The government owns and holds it in trust for the people because those who were funding the Daily Sketch were Ogun; Ondo; Oyo and so on and I will go cap in hand to ask for their grant; and they will say look at the editorial you wrote about what we did in the government you are now asking for grants. They were common in their attitudes towards us. So, I went to the board I told the board this people want to ride on our back what do I do? Luckily I had a very good journalist on the board, Ebun Adesioye who was senior to Babatunde Jose. In 1950, he and Onabanjo had OAB Press which was a PR agency for Gulf Oil. They did not beg for money from anywhere. They were good professionals in journalism and PR.

Then I suggested to the Board that we should float a new company; that we should diversify. We can start selling newsprint because it was scarce and we can generate funds from it. So, we went to Sweden and had an agreement with one Swedish company and they were sending us newsprints and we were selling. That stopped my going to the government for grants and we were writing things that they did not like. I remember the Ogun State Governor at that time even threatened to remove me.

In the Daily Times, Alhaji Jose would not take nonsense. Even the Prime Minister then Tafawa Balewa once said “if I he had not read Ayekooto and had not read Tribune’s John West, he won’t have his breakfast.” That is to tell you how those people took the newspapers in those days. Nobody will just say go and publish something like what is happening now. All these did not happen during our time and if it happened they had a way of confronting them. The ministers knew their limit and they won’t interfere, but today as I said journalism has become another market.

Most of today’s journalists don’t have courage and it’s unfortunate. They cannot say no. In our time we would say no and nothing happen. I know there are lots of problems now but if you can’t do journalism with courage then, you are not a journalist. A journalist is somebody who is exposed to danger all the time. Even in his house he is exposed to danger; at home and on the field, he is exposed to danger. But, the courage that he has will make him survive and he will be known for it.

What are your suggestions for advertisements in Newspapers and Magazines?

You are the practitioners; nobody can do it for you. We in journalism; we are trying our best to train, it’s one thing to train them; it’s another thing for them to practice what we asked them to do but in advertising there are a lot of things that we have to do.

First, there is the ethical aspect; secondly, there is the need to defeat the charlatans who invade advertising; thirdly, to streamline the new way to carry out projects. There are so many things you can do.

As a matter of fact, I am looking for a situation where the advertising practitioners are on the board of newspapers to assist them in taking full advantage of advertising. Some of them, even trained journalists don’t know the implication of not having adverts.

They think it’s just a frivolous activity whereas if you trace advertising from 1859, in the days of in ‘Iwe Iroyin,’ the front pages were dominated by adverts and all stories will go inside.  In the newspapers of 1880, 1850, 1870 front page adverts were all over, why? Because that was the only way they could sustain publication which means advertising is a very powerful tool for newspaper management or media management. If people in advertising stop patronizing the newspapers, it will not be good at all. So, you can dictate certain standards for the newspaper, radio and television corporately not individually. Then of course; APCON is just a name; the practitioners are the ones that make up APCON. You are the people that will tell the government; what you want to do in advertising.

Advertising itself is communication. Remember, Awolowo used it successfully in the 1959 election when he was writing AWO on the sky with an helicopter. That was what sold him to Nigerians. Advertising has always been a powerful tool.

What is your assessment of magazines and newspapers honoring politicians?

I have said that corruption is the backbone of all these things that are happening. A newspaper that wakes up one morning and says that Duyile is the Icon of journalism because money is coming from him to his pocket should not be taken seriously. Unfortunately, we live in a society that worships this kind of thing but most of the newspaper and magazine proprietors today who do that regularly are doing so because they know that money will come from it. There is no other name other than corruption. What research have you conducted to ascertain that the man is “an icon”? You must tell the people, this is how we carried out this research. The decision made at the board room of any newspaper that said an individual is the best governor in Nigeria, is all corruption and we should not take them seriously. We ought to query how they came about these “icons”. It is a useless situation.

The good news however on that, the whole country is not corrupt; but the majority of people are corrupt especially the politicians and they are ready to do anything. But, you as a newspaper editor should try not to encourage this drifting.

Proprietors and editors should realized that the money that politicians give them cannot make them to survive. Very soon, they will tell other people that they gave you money and eventually will put a dent on you and ridicule you. It also questions the integrity and objectivity of your publication.

Some of your contemporaries went into politics, what is stopping you from also doing that?

That is personal principle; I almost made that mistake during the days of NPN. They made me the Publicity Secretary for old Ondo State then including what is now Ekiti State. When the crises came, political thugs targeted me but I was only lucky by the grace of God. The people that were assigned to assassinate me in my mother’s house at Ijoka Street in Ondo State couldn’t identify me but they knew my car. But unfortunately for them I did not use that car that week. I had left Concord so, Abiola gave me a brand new 504 with Lagos number which I brought to Ondo that day. When they came in the morning of that election day, they could not recognize the car and they did not know me in person. It was a good Samaritan and urged me to move out. I had initially resisted and I said no. But barely 30 minutes after, he came again and this time I followed his suggestions and I walked out of the house and I went straight to the car in their presence and I drove off. I did not stop in Ondo I went straight to Lagos. But Tribune carried the story the next day that I had been killed; it was a front-page story and so the whole of Ondo was troubled but I was in Lagos and from Lagos I took a flight to London. When I got to London, BBC interviewed me. That experience discouraged me from politics. I said I had better remain in my profession.

At 80 sir, you appear not to be tired. What will you consider the real inspiration that keeps pushing you?

I would say my staying power are the books. I read a lot of biographies and I am propelled by many biographical notes that I have seen. It will not end until you have ended it yourself. So, why should I end it when I am still alive by the grace of God? Every day I read up to 25 chapters of different books and I also tell my students to cultivate the habit of reading. You will not be tired because books reinvigorate you. The book that I have just written; Media and Mass communication in Nigeria; is going for printing apart from my memoir and I wrote everything in my house. I did not look at anything to write it; I write from my brain. I read one Stephen Kaslet, he was 90 when he wrote his 90th book. Kaslet also went to so many universities. He had one child with his wife. By the time he passed on at 101 he left a message; ‘continue to read that is where the knowledge lies.’ I am not tired either in journalism, reading or in writing. I am intensely involved in the three up till now. God has given us good health so why not do something and more so the children that are coming behind us; the journalists of tomorrow, you must do something for them otherwise what we will leave behind will be very chaotic.

Life depends on what you are able to make for yourself and be confident and courageous.

At 80 I am like a 50-year-old person in terms of doing my writings and I am never tired.

How do you see the education, practice and management of journalism in Nigeria in 10 years’ time?

We must mix practical training with academics and professionalism, we cannot continue like this; the unethical practices; the proprietorial interest in dictating to editors will continue. But if we mix professionalism in training with courage and with questions, we will produce great and courageous journalists.

Who is Chief Dayo DuyIle?

Dayo Duyile was born in Ondo town in the early 40’s I grew up there and had my primary education before I moved to Ibadan to attend the evening classes of Ibadan Boys High School under the care of my late uncle who was a printer. Most of the other things were done by correspondence; my GCE advanced level was by correspondence, at Rapid Result College.

Later I went to the university but before I went to the university I had been a reporter for more than 18 years. When I went to the university for my diploma, I was like a teacher because the lecturers were asking me questions which they did not know. They were teaching us news reporting and so they will say can we ask Dayo to come and tell us some of his experience in the class. My colleagues used to call me teacher extraordinary. I finished my university degree and then went on with journalism and even while I was still in the university, I was doing full time I was the deputy editor of Drum Magazine. By the time I left Drum I went to WNTV/WNBS from there I came back to newspaper again. I became the editor of Daily Sketch in Ibadan and from there, I moved to Lagos, to work with National Concord and later the Director of Nigerian Institute of Journalism. I started my master’s degree while I was in NIJ. I did it successfully and I returned to NIJ and for 10 years I was in NIJ and I made some little changes in the administration of the place. From NIJ I started a Public Relations consultancy, Gong Communication. But I am not a PR person. I am a typical news reporter. So, I decided to pack it up, and then go back to the media. It was from the media again that I decided to do some teachings in the universities. I helped to set up the Department of Mass Communication at Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State. I was coming from Lagos every week and later that was responsible for my staying in Ondo after 5years in Akungba. I also went to Joseph Ayo Babalola University to start the Department of Mass communication. After another 6 years at JABU, I went to Elizade University where I am still very relevant.

Writing is my hobby; I do a lot of writing for two newspapers and one magazine in Scotland.  It is not for money but they asked me to do some write-ups on politics; economics and so on and when they give me assignment I go to the areas concerned, do the stories, do the interviews and send to them for publication. I’m an unqualified correspondent of two overseas newspapers and one magazine. I do that with a joyous heart, I like that because it gives me the opportunity to write, investigate and report.

I have my family, I have 7 children they are not here one of them will be coming in soon from South Korea and all of the remaining are in England and America. I shuttle when they want me to come and rest. But they know their father is a restless person.

When are you looking at retiring?

As God permits.

BV.                    

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