Home Interview Alao Adedayo, Publisher Of Alaroye Newspaper Talks About His Early Life As...

Alao Adedayo, Publisher Of Alaroye Newspaper Talks About His Early Life As A Broadcaster, Reveals Why He’ll Never Join Partisan Politics

...Alagba Alao Adedayo, right, with Olayinka Agboola, during the Radio Show...
...Alagba Alao Adedayo, right, with Olayinka Agboola, during the Radio Show...
  • Speaks About Pet Project, INCEYAC

Alagba Alao Adedayo is a respected Yoruba elite, a passionate Nigerian and is also the man behind Alaroye Group of Newspapers. He was guest on our Radio Show, Ayekooto (Parrot Xtra Hour) hosted by Olayinka Agboola live on Lagelu 96.7fm last Tuesday. Dare Raji here present the excerpts and high points…

How did you come about the establishment of Alaroye Newspaper?

We started with Ewi in 1976 and I came to Ibadan with Baba Dele Abiodun and others then before returning to Lagos. I went back to Lagos in 1979 and when I got to Radio Lagos, I was saddled with the responsibility of anchoring news in Yoruba language and taking part in other programmes because of my talent and skills in Yoruba language. When Radio Nigeria, Ikeja was established, I worked with them for few years before I left for NTA.

After leaving NTA, I ventured into producing Alaroye because I loved the Yoruba culture and I noticed that there was a gap that needed to be filled in the industry because many of the Newspaper houses such as Concord, Sketch, Tribune had the Yoruba titles such as Isokan and Iroyin Yoruba and were merely translating their English content into Yoruba languages which was not really meeting the targeted needs of the local audience. The Yoruba version of the newspapers lacked deep analysis, genuine news content and because of this gap, I was inspired to establish Alaroye because of my passion for the Yoruba culture and to satisfy the teeming lovers of the Yoruba language.

Alaroye Newspaper publication failed four times and the first was around 1986 and around 1990 we tried to resuscitate it but all to no avail. The day we were to launch it around 1990 coincided with the death and burial of Colonel Odeleke, who was a friend to the sitting governor of the old Oyo state. Many of the personalities invited for the launching did not even show up except Alhaji Lanihun who gave us three thousand naira and the money was used to settle the bills of the printer. The second launching was even worse because of lack of professionalism on our part and it was at that moment I discovered that print journalism and broadcasting were two different things with different approaches.

Broadcasters only needed good voices and good command of English language to thrive in the industry while print journalism is deeper in approach and knowledge of newspaper production is an added advantage to succeed in the business.

What is your deepest attraction in publishing business?

I love to write and starting a newspaper was an opportunity for me to write and display my writing skills. I had seen what others publishers of newspaper were doing and I was eager to correct the anomalies. I wanted an avenue where I would analyse news contents, educate, and correct some form of misinformation and rumours flying around and I had to choose the Yoruba language as the medium of communication through Alaroye. I believe the best way to communicate to people is to do so through their local dialect.

Who was your greatest source of motivation?

My father was my greatest source of motivation because he used to purchase Fagunwa’s book and he would instruct me to be reading it to the members of the community. Then, I was in primary four and this motivated me to delve into the Yoruba culture.

Can you talk about your experience in the days of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election?

While I was sourcing for money to publish Alaroye, I decided to publish a book in honour of our traditional ruler in Egbaland, Oba Lipede about his biography. We met with Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and he fixed Friday, June 11, 1993 for the launching of the biography in Abeokuta but unfortunately on June 10 there was a judgement by Justice Ikpeme announcing the suspension of the June 12 election and this prompted Chief MKO Abiola and Olusegun Osoba to travel to Abuja to challenge the suspension.

While Abiola was leaving, he instructed that the launching should be kept on hold till his arrival from Abuja. On the afternoon of the scheduled date, many dignitaries were present at the occasion and the Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Lipede stated that the programme would not be held until the arrival of Chief Abiola and others. It was surprising that I could not even take one booklet of the biography home even after I had spent a lot of money to publish it because of the magnitude of the programme.

Chief MKO promised me that after the election, something will be used to compensate me but when the election was annulled, it was disastrous and every thought of how to resuscitate Alaroye ran through my mind because I had ran into debt before we were able to hit the newsstands again in 1996.

What is your opinion on the issue of our declining value system and do you plan to venture into politics?

Most of the current politicians met me here on ground and I was fortunate to interview Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1983 and I followed him all around as he went about playing his politics that time before he died.

I could have become a politician if I had wanted but I hated propaganda and insincerity. I could not endure the gimmicks of infrastructural and stomach politics in which the electorate will deceive me that they will vote for me and later turn their back on me after leaving my house. I am not cut out for such and I cannot imagine myself churning out lies in the name of canvassing for votes and that is why I decided to stick to journalism because it is based on truth and that is our major strength in Alaroye.

Do you take time to talk to some of your highly placed politician friends?

Most time, I usually advised them but many of them are looking for a medium to support their candidacy and after winning, they disappear into thin air until during the approach of another election year. We are not practicing the correct acts of politics in Nigeria because it has been distorted and abused by the present crop of politicians, many of them have lost their moral values and are acting like Emperors and dictators especially after getting elective positions.

Just because I am not participating in politics should not hinder me from contributing my quota to the development of the country, the government do not have the monopoly of providing all the needs of the people and they should allow people outside the government to contribute their quota to the progress of the country because the producers are the greatest contributors to the development of the society.

What is your concept of Omoluabi, what does it mean to you sir?

The Omoluabi concept has been abused by Nigerian politicians and even the electorates are guilty of this.  What the Yoruba culture of ‘Omoluabi’ meant is not even practiced in the current political situation in Nigeria of today. Many politicians propagating the concept of Omoluabi slogan are guilty of amassing wealth meant for the masses, using thugs and hoodlums to harass innocent citizens among other vices.

Is self-rule agitation the answer to Nigeria’s problem?

The system is lopsided and crooked and it does not favour the contraption called Nigeria. The least we can have is regionalism where every region will develop at its own pace. If regionalism is not allowed by the current dispensation, then let us go our separate ways.

What advice will you give to Sunday Igboho, the man known to be agitating for Yoruba nation?

Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as Igboho is on course in his approach to fighting for the freedom of the Yoruba race, we might just need to change the approach. He has not done any harm whereas some criminal elements from the North are favoured and pampered. The government is not sincere and not ready to fight injustice in Nigeria. If you want Nigeria to move forward, remove every form of injustice and let every region benefit from their labour without any kind of favoritism.

You are presently working on a pet project here in Ibadan. Can you talk about it?

The International Centre for Yoruba Art and Culture is an institution advocating for the survival of our language, Yoruba. I am interested in the language and culture of the Yoruba history because I do not want our culture to die and go into extinction. This centre will avail historians, journalists and researchers the opportunity to research into the culture and history of the Yoruba heritage. We are doing it in collaboration with the University of Ibadan and on the 23rd of November, 2021 the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibajo will be in Ibadan to see what we are doing and planning to do. The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi will be there too by God’s grace. We have seen Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and he told us that he would encourage other South West Governors to be there.

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