THISDAY editor, Simon Kolawole, resigns in protest

The editor of THISDAY, Simon Kolawole, has resigned in response to Sunday’s new appointments at the newspaper which saw him removed as editor and reassigned as editorial director.

In the new appointments, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, who was previously Editor of THISDAY on Sunday was named Mr. Kolawole’s replacement while Tunde Rahman, former editor of THISDAY on Saturday takes over from Ms. Nwogwugwu as Editor of The Sunday paper. Mr. Rahman’s deputy on the Saturday paper, Laurence Ani, was appointed the substantive editor of the Saturday newspaper.

The paper has since accepted Mr. Kolawole’s resignation. “He is free to pursue other interests,” the paper’s publisher, Nduka Obaigbena, told PREMIUM TIMES. “There is no quarrel, there is no problem.”

Mr. Kolawole was, in June 2010, appointed for a fresh three-year tenure which should lapse in June 2013. But Mr. Obaigbena, suddenly called a meeting of the board of directors of the company on Saturday to announce his plan to cut short Mr. Kolawole’s tenure, and restructure other top editorial positions at the paper.

An insider in the newspaper said shortly after the decisions were communicated to him, Mr. Kolawole turned in his resignation letter, telling colleagues that by terminating his tenure midway without even consulting him, the company had indicated that he was no longer wanted in the organization.

After he submitted his resignation letter, Mr. Kolawole turned off his mobile telephones, and had been unreachable ever since. Efforts to get him to comment for this story were unsuccessful.

“Simon was angry that he wasn’t consulted,” a source in the company said. “He felt that the company should have had a conversation with him if there was a need to cut short his tenure.”

But speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday afternoon, Mr. Obaigbena said Mr. Kolawole’s tenure had since expired, and that he should have expected his removal.

“He took over from Segun Adeniyi in June 2007 and his five-year tenure expired this June,” Mr. Obaigbena said. “Everybody knows what to expect in THISDAY. He has just been replaced in line with our style.”

When reminded of a fresh three-year tenure handed Mr. Kolawole in 2010, Mr. Nduka denied knowledge of such an arrangement, saying the editor had already overstayed in office.

But checks by PREMIUM TIMES indicate that news of the extension of Mr. Kolawole’s tenure was published in both the THISDAY edition of January 20, 2011 and on the paper’s web platform. Read that publication here.

Mr. Obaigbena also said Mr. Kolawole was informed before his removal. “There was a board of director meeting yesterday (Saturday) and the MD spoke to him from the meeting,” the flambouyant publisher said. “The deputy MD also spoke to him. So those telling you Simon wasn’t consulted are blatant liars.”

It is not clear why Mr. Obaigbena removed Mr. Kolawole before the expiration of his tenure, but sources in the paper said the move was a result of intense power play within the company and a breakdown of the cosy relationship between the editor and the publisher.

UPDATE: Highly-placed sources in the newspaper has since informed us that top managers in the newspaper had no advance knowledge of the appointments. “There was no board meeting as claimed by our publisher,” a top official, who pleaded anonymity, said. Besides, THISDAY has no board, it is owned 100 per cent by Nduka. Almost all the top managers here read about the changes in the paper this morning. 

 

 


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  • Dupri00

    Sad to see him go. He will certainly be missed by Thisday

    • Jude

      why must he remain as editor.is it not bribe they take to write stories?

      • Freedomecho

        Jude, why would somebody like you contribute to an intelligent discourse? Your contribution belies your level of comprehension of these issues. No insult intended please.

      • Babso

        This your comment can’t be for this discourse.

        • B_adebiyi

          Well, lets wait and see

          • t.top

            I go with Jude, it can only be as a result of bride, have we forgotten so soon the punch scandal between Azu and Steve Ayorinde, which flushed them both out of Punch

          • t.top

            I go with Jude, it can only be as a result of bride, have we forgotten so soon the punch scandal between Azu and Steve Ayorinde, which flushed them both out of Punch

  • Hp911

    The publishers ego and arrogance must be larger than his immense physical frame.

    He should not have so shabbily treated his editor for whatever reason.

    Anyway, Thisday has since outlived its usefulness as a credible publication and is now relying on government patronage.

    The recent attack by BH on the paper is a painful reminder of this. RIP Thisday Newspapers.

    • Olamide Ayodeji

      I have nothing to add but to let the story published by THISDAY Newspaper about changes in the newspaper January last year. After reading you can then judge by yourself if Mr. Nduka Obaigbena is the blatant liar and can who cannot even be accountable to his own words and decisions:

      New Appointments at THISDAY
      By Joseph Ushigiale
      20 Jan 2011

      The management of THISDAY yesterday announ-ced new appointments and promotions, with the Editor of the daily newspaper, Mr. Simon Kolawole, reappointed for three-year tenure.

      His appointment was renewed effective June last year and will terminate in 2013.

      Ms. Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, until yesterday the Editor, THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper, has been moved to THISDAY, The Sunday Newspaper as Editor, while the former editor of the title, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, moves to the Editorial Board as Chairman.

      The Deputy Editor of THISDAY, Mr. Tunde Rahman, takes over as Editor, THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper.

      Also appointed are Mr. Nduka Nwosu, erstwhile Deputy Editor, THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper, who is now Editor, Nations Capital, and Mr. Collins Edomaruse, formerly Deputy Editor, THISDAY, The Sunday Newspaper, who moves over to the daily newspaper as Deputy Editor.

      Kolawole holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos and an MA in Governance and Development from the University of Sussex, UK. He was THISDAY’s Features Editor (1998-99) and Editor of THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper (2002-2005). He was appointed THISDAY Editor in 2007. In 2009, he was named one of Africa’s next generation of leaders by The Banker, a publication of the Financial Times, UK. Kolawole is a 2010 Mo Ibrahim Gover-nance for Development Fellow.

      Ms Nwogwugwu was able to bring two decades of valuable experience to her job as Editor of THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper. Her background embraces the private and public sectors as a banker, financial analyst, business strategist, and journalist. In addition to her degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos, she has a post-graduate diploma in International Housing Finance from the Wharton Business School, Pennsylvania, USA. She has also attended several management and professional training programmes in Nigeria, Europe and the United States.

      Olaniyonu began journalism practice after his national service in 1989. He has spent most of his career covering the political beat and has won several journalism awards. He had served as Group Political Editor, Group News Editor and Deputy Editor of the Sunday and daily newspapers before he was elevated to the post of Editor of the Sunday newspaper in 2005.

      He was educated at the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Lagos State University and the Nigerian Law School. He holds degrees in Communication and Law. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2006.

      Rahman has journalism experience spanning two decades. He holds a first degree in Political Science from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, Ikeja and a Masters in Communication Studies from the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos. He also took courses at the Lagos Business School.

      Rahman was Political Editor in the old Daily Times and Group News Editor of The Punch Newspaper. He joined THISDAY in 2004 as Deputy Editor, THISDAY, The Sunday ewspaper, during which he pioneered CICERO, the political arm of the newspaper, from where he rose to become Deputy Editor, THISDAY.

      Nwosu holds an honours degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos and a Diploma in Journalism from The Daily Times Journalism Institute. He started his journalism career in the Daily Times under the tutelage of Tony Momoh, Onyema Ugochukwu and Andy Akporugo. He was a senior correspondent reporting Business and Finance at Business Times and Sunday Times, as well as Literary and Features correspondent. He later left Daily Times to float a business magazine called PROFIT. Nwosu returned to The Guardian after a stint in consultancy. He joined THISDAY in December 2005 as Deputy Editor, THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper.

      Edomaruse studied Mass Communication at both Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State and Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State. He also participated in BBC-organised short course in investigative journalism; money laundering and fraud investigation outreach in Switzerland, etc. He joined THISDAY at inception in 1995. He has served as Group News Editor and Deputy Editor, The Nation’s Capital. He was also Deputy Editor, THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper.

      Edomaruse had covered education, sports, energy, national security, defence and transport beats among others. As a defence correspondent, Edomaruse traversed the war zones of both Liberia and Sierra-Leone in the dark days of Charles Taylor and Foday Sanko as warlords, which earned him the sobriquet “General” by his colleagues in the newsroom.

  • Patrickwisdom44

    This is fine exclusive piece. Like the publisher said, Simon is free to embark on a free voyage. May God guide him in his new endevours.

    wisdom aptrick

  • Akinonthelam

    I already believed this would be a result of politics involving Nduka even before reading the article. While reading through I thought the report was being economical with the truth but then I got to the last paragraph and voila! …Nduka is too close to the government (to put it nicely) to run an objective newspaper and I believe Simon would have had problems doing his job effectively with a government-chicken-boy boss.

  • Adebayo Damilola

    You are wrong. Not because Nduka is close to government. The man has his paper and can do whatever he likes with it…This marks the end of the Kogi/ Kwara mafia. We are in a capitalist country where the practice of hire and fire is no crime…If Simon thinks it is easy, let him float a paper. Nonsense!

    • Daremola

      Adebayo, even in the creed of capitalism, the power of hire and fired where does it take them? No where. You need to know who you hire and fired, not just becouse you own a firm, you fire any one with no excuse, it does not work like. As an employee he has rights of labour protected by the so called capitalism of hire and fire. Or do you think New York times will just wake up today and say they fire there editor with no reason? This will also affect the readership of the paper, and time will tell!

    • Babso

      Are you happy now? What do you mean by Kogi/Kwara mafia? Common, try make useful contribution next time. No insult intended, just can’t fit in your comment.

    • Olabode

      Adebayo, you sounded as if you are envious of a genius simon, what does kogi/ Kwara has to do with the issue on ground. Simon has always been a man of integrity, most time imagine if he is from Nigeria, he is so cultured and pure in his thinking.
      Adebayo, watch out for him, I know you will fall in love with his paper when it’s out though it might not be easy from your own point of view for him to float a news paper outfit but I can assure you it will be possible because you are not God.

  • Adenaikke

    I will certainly miss Simon Kolawole’s column. He is by far the best columnist in ThisDay. I am certain there is a story behind his abrupt removal and I sure will like to read it. I wish Simon Kolawole all the best in his future endeavours. He can look on the bright side; at least now he can pursue his interest in the academics

    • rolchi

      True! His columns are quite interesting as well as captivating. He has finesse to his style of writing. Best wishes to Simeon on his future endeavours

  • Vicruth99

    It is so clear that the issue here is the power play game. How on earth will you do this to your editor? How will you do this to him with any consultation? Obaigbena, that is a big insult on Simeon. After you have done your worse, what do you expect him to do? Remain there like somebody who does not have other options? NO! Simeon, you are a man of honor! You have taken the right step. May God give you a better one.

  • Zionmanz

    the press talk so much about freedom and justice but they too are involved in draconian behaviors

  • Sisqod

    Are you ready,
    Are you ready for this
    Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
    Out of the doorway the bullets rip
    To the sound of the beat

    [Chorus]
    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone, and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust
    Hey, I’m gonna get you too

    When we seat down and support injustice in whatever form, then we are only moving a step towards becoming a victim.
    To the others left in this disgrace called Thisday run by one of the most evil thing ever to inhabit this part of the earth,my advice is “Watch Your Back”

  • adebolaji

    MAFIA NDUKA…..remember simon kolawole was in the panel that interview the governor of lagos on may 29th at the ltv station…they see him as a threat to their evil design..he used his expertise for years and now he wants to use him negatively but he knows it wont work so he has to bring on board the yes guys…..true…this day is “boardless”