The Guardian At 40 and The Spirit of Lagos, By Babajide Sanwo-Olu

So The Guardian is 40! How time flies. I recall the billboard announcement, which heralded its coming. It said: “Sooner or later, you will read The Guardian”. When it eventually hit the newsstands in 1983, it was not with a whimper, but a bang. Ever since, the landscape of print journalism has not been the same.

How could it have been the same, with such giants as the late Dr Stanley Macebuh, Mr Lade Bonuola (Ladbone), Mr Femi Kusa and a host of others who insisted on the freshness and depth that The Guardian brought to the scene.

The intellectual flavour was remarkable. It was a marriage of the Campus and the Newsroom, with many university lecturers on sabbatical joining the stable.

The Publisher, Mr Alex Ibru (may The Almighty bless his soul), and all those who were with him at its conception must be excited at the oak tree that this newspaper has become.

The Guardian has maintained its neutrality, owing no allegiance to any political or social interests. Its pursuit of the truth remains a cardinal principle of its operations. But it has not been a smooth journey for the newspaper. It was shut down by the military in the days of the struggle against military rule. A mysterious fire gutted parts of its offices in Isolo, Lagos. Two of its leading journalists, Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson were jailed under the draconian Decree 4 of 1984. Chris Imodibe went to cover the Liberian war and never returned.

The newspaper maintained its integrity, speaking truth to power and holding government officials accountable, despite its tribulation. That is the “spirit of Lagos”. Our resilience is legendary. We never give up. We strive to be the best. We give everyone equal opportunities to grow. We support great initiatives. We embrace the audacity of small and big businesses. We believe in the ability of our youths. This is the correlation between The Guardian and the ‘Greater Lagos’ that we are building. We have no doubt that the newspaper will remain a worthy partner in this journey.

I am delighted to join the 40th anniversary celebration of The Guardian, ‘The Flagship’. I, on behalf of the government and people of Lagos, wish the newspaper greater and more exciting days ahead.

  • Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu
    Governor, Lagos State

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