Almost two years after he stepped down as editor of Lagos-based THISDAY newspaper, respected journalist and columnist, Simon Kolawole, is returning to newspapering with a bang.
Mr. Kolawole will on Tuesday, April 29, begin a new journalistic journey with the launch of his own newspaper, TheCable, in Lagos.
The online paper will be unveiled at a colourful ceremony to be headlined by some of Nigeria’s business and political leaders.
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote will lead a high profile cast, which include Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; Chairman of the Senate Committee on Navy, Chris Anyanwu; Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya; and Founder and CEO, Channels Television, in a panel discussion about Nigeria@100: Reflections On The Future.
Mr. Kolawole’s former employer at THISDAY, Nduka Obaigbena, will moderate the discussion while a former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, is the event’s Father of the Day.
In some publicity materials ahead of the event, Mr. Kolawole said TheCable would deliver a knowledge-driven journalism in the pursuit of Nigeria’s progress while aiming to become Africa’s number one online newspaper in terms of influence, content and traffic.
The paper, he said, will target political and business leaders while also appealing to millions of the country’s youth. He expects that within a year, the paper would be able to stamp its influence on the market and become a dominant player in the field.
Mr. Kolawole later told PREMIUM TIMES via email that the establishment of the TheCable is a fulfillment of his childhood dream of owning a newspaper.
“When I finished university, my ultimate dream was to start a newspaper or a magazine,” Mr. Kolawole said. “When I resigned from THISDAY in 2012, I considered several options. I considered starting a weekly newspaper, a magazine or an online publication.
“I did my feasibility studies. Without sentiments, it became glaring to me that online was the best way to go. The newspaper market was not expanding. No newspaper is printing 500,000 copies again. More people now get their news on their mobile phones and laptops. News breaks by the minute. News cannot wait for the following day. News wants to be free. People want free news. They want the news now. I finally settled for online journalism. I decided to set up www.thecable.ng.”
He said as part of the process of setting up the paper, he read lots of books on online journalism, did some research at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London, and spent some time at the Huffington Post, the biggest internet newspaper in the world based in New York, United States.
An award winning journalist and writer, Mr. Kolawole, 42, was, in March 2012, named a Young Global Leader, a prestigious honour bestowed by the World Economic Forum, WEF, each year to recognise the most distinguished young leaders from around the world. In 2009, he was named one of Africa’s Next Generation of Leaders by The Banker, a publication of the Financial Times. He was also a 2010 Mo Ibrahim Governance for Development Fellow at the University of London.
He was appointed Editor of the Saturday newspaper of THISDAY in August 2002, becoming one of the youngest editors of mainstream Nigerian publications. He became editor of THISDAY in 2007 and was in that position until June 2012 when he resigned from the paper but continued to write his weekly back-page column, Simon Kolawole Live.
Before becoming editor of THISDAY on Saturday, Mr. Kolawole served as Editor of TheWeek, a national weekly magazine.
The former THISDAY editor holds a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos and a Masters in Governance and Development from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. He studied at Sussex as a Chevening scholar and has taken leadership courses at Yale University and Harvard Kennedy School.