By TOPE ADEBOBOYE
Lagos monarch, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Akiolu on Thursday showered encomiums on The Sun newspapers, asserting that the organisation has in the last 10 years brought a lot of innovations to the Nigerian media space.
Oba Akiolu spoke in his palace at Iduganran, Lagos when the management team of The Sun Publishing Limited, led by the company’s Mana-ging Director/ Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Tony Onyima, paid him a courtesy visit.
The monarch’s comments came on the heels of official communication former Ghananian Presi-dent Mr John Kufuor, expressing his happiness and readiness to deliver 10th anniversary lecture of The Sun scheduled to hold at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on Tuesday next week.
The visit to the Lagos monarch marks the official commencement of activities marking the 10th anniversary celebrations of the company. The organisation clocked 10 on January 18. The respected traditional ruler, who received the delegation in company with some of his white cap chiefs, informed the visitors that he loved The Sun titles, adding that he had a library of past editions of the publications.
While congratulating the newspaper, Oba Akiolu recalled that the first editions of The Sun rolled off the press just a few months before his coronation as the 21st paramount ruler of Lagos in May, 2003. While praying God to continue to bless the organisation, Oba Akiolu noted that the company commenced publication on an auspicious date. “That 2003 that you started publishing is a year of blessing and fruitfulness,” he stated. “God Almighty will have mercy on all of you.
Your progress will be in geometrical progression, and all will be well with you. You will continue to go up and up. You will climb higher and higher,” he said. While noting that the country was passing through major challenges in many areas, Oba Akiolu said what the country required at this time was prayer, patience and the support of everyone.
“When I heard the news this morning, I was not so happy over what is going on between the Executive and the two legislative chambers. They should sit down and resolve their differences.
They are mostly from the same party, and it does not augur well for the future of this country that people from the same party cannot sit down and resolve their differences. But I know God will take control and all will be well with us,” the monarch said. He also challenged the media to maintain its patriotic stand on issues affecting the country. In his words, “the success of the nation largely lies with the media.”
Speaking earlier, Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Tony Onyima, noted that the team was at Iga Idunganran to thank the monarch for accommodating the company in his domain and to also seek the royal father’s blessings to flag off the week-long 10th anniversary activities. He averred that The Sun Publishing Limited had been divinely blessed in its 10 years of existence, adding that the management and staff were grateful to God and Nigerians for the success of the newspaper.
“The Sun started publication on January 18, 2003,” Onyima stated. “We are publishers of Daily Sun, Sunday Sun, Saturday Sun and Soccer Star. And on January 18, 2013, we clocked 10 years. We looked at where we were coming from, we felt God had been merciful to us, and we said we should have a one-week programme to celebrate this.
We thought we should start this celebration by paying a courtesy visit to the Oba of Lagos. Lagos is where we are domiciled, from where we reach the entire nation. And Lagos has been very fruitful. We are also here to seek your royal blessings so that the one-week programme will be successful.”
Onyima informed the monarch that the company has since expanded, with additional plants in the federal capital and the South-East. “Because of the vast nature of our land, and since we need to cover all parts of Nigeria, we had to establish plants in Abuja and Aba.
We hope to establish plants in the northern parts of the country in the near future,” he said. The Sun Managing Director disclosed other activities lined up for the 10th anniversary celebrations include a Jumat service holding today in Lagos, a Christian thanksgiving service and an anniversary lecture holding in Abuja on Tuesday next week, among others. “The grand finale is The Sun Awards which would hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Saturday, January 23,’ he said.
The Sun delegation comprised the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Femi Adesina; Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mrs. Ethel Nmezi; Executive Director, Marketing, Chief Paul Onyia; Editor, Daily Sun, Mr. Steve Nwosu; Editor, Saturday Sun, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh; Editor, Sunday Sun, Mrs. Funke Egbemode; Editor, Magazines, Mr. Shola Oshunkeye; Chairman, Editorial Board, Dr. Amanze Obi; AGM, Corporate Services, Mrs. Neta Nwosu; Business Development Manager, Mr. Demola Abioye; AGM, Sales and Operations, Mr. Damola Lajumoke; Accountant, Mr. Obioma Ogukwe; Internal Audit Manager, Mr.Johnson Ogwumike and Principal Human Resource Manager, Pastor Patrick Enilama.
Among the white cap chiefs were Chief Rauf Salami, Ologun Agan of Lagos and Chief Nurudeen Olubiyi Agoro, Ojon of Lagos. Also in attendance were Chief Pius Akinrelure, a Chartered Accountant and retired official of Mobil, Engineer Afolabi Salami and Mr. Sam, a friend to the monarch. On his part, former Ghanaian president, John Kufour, in a letter of acceptance and confirmation addressed to the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun, said he was “happy to be associated with the noble goals of your esteemed publication (The Sun) which has added to the rich and diverse media landscape of Nigeria.”
Kufour, who will speak on the topic: “Religion, Strife and the Future of Democracy in Africa,” is among a long list of dignitaries who have already confirmed attendance at the lecture, which is a major highpoint of events marking the anniversary. Senate President David Mark will chair the occasion while former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar 111 and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, will serve as Guest of Honour, Royal Father of the Day and Chief Host respectively.