A well-regarded Nigerian journalist based in the United States, Laolu Akande, on Friday visited the PREMIUM TIMES’ head office in Abuja, praising the paper and its staff for their efforts in helping to take Nigeria’s democracy to a credible level.
Mr. Akande, during an interactive session with staff of the paper, commended PREMIUM TIMES for its commitment to crusading for good governance and sustainable development in Nigeria.
“The change in Nigeria’s democracy (that) we see today can be largely credited to the bold reporting done by PREMIUM TIMES,” Mr. Akande, the North American Bureau Chief of The Guardian, said.
“PREMIUM TIMES is the best and most credible newspaper in Nigeria today,” the journalist said. “Most Nigerians in diaspora and the international community as a whole wake up to read PREMIUM TIMES.”
Mr. Akande, who is also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Executive Director of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the Americas (CANAN), said PREMIUM TIMES had demonstrated by its ethical, courageous and enterprise reporting that good journalism is possible in Nigeria afterall.
He urged the paper to remain focused and ethical, and admonished staff to realise that their reporting was contributing significantly in making Nigeria a better place for many.
He also urged the management of the paper to explore the possibility of transforming the paper into a printed format available on newsstands nationwide.
That, he said, would enable the paper to reach a wide range of Nigerians that are yet to make the transition from the traditional publications to digital news media.
PREMIUM TIMES’ Managing Editor, Musikilu Mojeed, thanked Mr. Akande for visiting and for his consistent support since the paper debuted about four years ago.
He said Mr. Akande’s Empowered Newswire group had contributed a lot of groundbreaking reports to PREMIUM TIMES for years.
“He (Mr. Akande) has consistently stood by us, advising us and pointing us in directions of great stories,” Mr. Mojeed said. “He has remained a tolerant mentor and it is the invaluable contributions of people like him that have taken us this far.”
Mr. Mojeed assured Mr. Akande that PREMIUM TIMES would remain true to its tradition of vibrant, bold, ethical and crusading journalism.
“For most of us here, journalism is a calling and we are committed to using this platform to improve the lots of our compatriots and other human beings wherever they may be in the world,” he said.
Mr. Akande was a former editor of Saturday Tribune. He cut his journalism teeth at The Guardian, and was a foundation staff of The NEWS magazine.
He moved to the United States in the late 1990s after agents of then dictator, Sani Abacha, began harassing him over perceived critical stance of his paper (Saturday Tribune) to the administration.
He is visiting Nigeria to participate in the ceremonies leading to the inauguration of the Buhari-Osinbajo government on May 29.