JUST IN: LEADERSHIP: The Daring Dream @20

LEADERSHIP: The Daring Dream @20

LEADERSHIP: The Daring Dream @20

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Like what now seems to be a twinkling of time, the newspaper that birthed liberal freedom in newspapering is now 20-year-old. Founded in the nation's capital in the North that was once reputed for being a media cemetery, LEADERSHIP has weathered the storm and walked a tortuous journey to its present peak of success, guided and managed by 's best media professionals.

Stormy birth
The debut of the newspaper was thundering and fraught with uncertainties. The he made in the compilation of his column that was launched as a book provided the capital with which he used to found the paper. Not conversant with the dialectics of the media industry, the late ‘Kakakin Nupe', Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, would assemble media personnel, most of them relatively unknown, to ensure hitch-free take-off of a new newspaper. When LEADERSHIP finally sailed into the tempestuous waters of a media voyage in 2004, it all looked rosy after some few weeks. In less than three months later, a close confidant of the media proprietor parted ways with him, prompting rumour mills to hit town with the news that the newly debuted newspaper was about to be engulfed with an ownership crisis. The rumour mongers had their say, but the irrepressible founder cared less.

the fainting task of surviving the media sharks and competitors that saw him as a threat, especially those in the North, the newspaper founder stayed the course and refused to be identified with the tags unleashed on him. He was persistent in his dream and got the support of , including then former Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) who was engaged in fighting for a comeback bid to the corridors of power.

Going daily
Just after less than a year of the debut of LEADERSHIP as a weekly newspaper, the founding chairman announced to members of the editorial staff that the newspaper was set to go daily. Many saw it as media , as some top editorial staff, including the then editor of the newspaper, Mallam Ibrahim Sheme, threw in their towels. Mallam Shehu Dauda, now late, was quickly elevated to replace Sheme. Ahead of going daily, I was headhunted from ‘The Punch' newspaper to serve as the pioneer editor of the Sunday title.

The newspaper was rolled out of the press lately, and complaints of non-arrival of the newspaper were rife in many Northern states. When the LEADERSHIP walked into his office and summoned top editorial staff to review the first copy of the daily edition, he was neither sad nor happy. Taking his seat at the head of the table, he went through the pages and, in a low tone, declared: “I have with me over 150 years in media experience in you. If that is what you can produce, then, we better close and do something.”

Thereafter, he left the table and walked back to his chair. We filed out of the office, leaving the editor to bear the brunt. Few hours later, Dauda returned to his office and ordered the production of staff to get cracking for the second day of going daily. The newspaper whom many had predicted wouldn't last three months, would commence a gradual rise above the media horizon.

Better years still ahead
Considering the height the newspaper has reached, the magic word for this magnificent feat was attained by the daring dream of one whom many thought was crazy and without the requisite expertise. No doubt, the media proprietor never had an early training in the media, but he later founded and managed LEADERSHIP that has continued to employ teeming media experts engaged in shaping national discourse.
Celebrating LEADERSHIP @20 is an eloquent testimony to the vision of a man whose quest for success amidst insurmountable challenges was boundless. If an idea could be imagined, Sam believed it could also be achieved. If he was a slave , he was the chief slave and visioner of the newspaper and refused to be identified of where he was coming from and was never weary in reaching out to people across political and religious divides for assistance. The news medium survived those early storms due to the late chairman's commitment and devotion for humanity.

Despite the astounding successes in the last 20 years, LEADERSHIP is not relenting on its oars for greater strides. Like its founder, present managers of the newspaper are walking in the footprints of the man whose quest for excellence was never exhaustible. Mr. Sam has completed the greater work of laying the of a media that is built to be a voice for the voiceless and a platform for the promotion of national discourse for consensus building and development .

There can be no greater honour for the memory of the newspaper's founder than to engage in the ceaseless great works of ensuring that LEADERSHIP remains a voice for those trapped in the valley of despoliation and despair. Happily, better days are ahead for the newspaper, as late chairman's , Mrs. Zainab Sam Nda-Isaiah, assisted by a devoted and dedicated workforce, led by the editor-in-chief and senior vice chairman, Mr. Azubuike Ishiekwene, is not letting down the daring dream called LEADERSHIP.

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