Sketch newspaper, a publication of Spark Communications Ltd is back.
The newly resuscitated Sketch publications is made up of Daily, Weekend and Sunday Sketch as well as Gbohungbohun – the Yoruba Language edition).
The newspaper has been charged to put in their front burner the integration agenda of the Yoruba nation currently being pursued by the governors of the six states of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Lagos, Osun and Ekiti that make up the South Western Nigeria.
This charge was made separately by the Odu’a Investment Company Ltd, OICL, and Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, during the courtesy calls paid on the two organisations at their respective Cocoa House Corporate Headquarters, Ibadan by the management team of Spark Communications Ltd., the new publisher of the newspaper led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors, Elder Bode Oyewole.
While welcoming the team, the OICL chairman, Chief Segun Ojo, who led his team made up of the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO) of the conglomerate, Mr. Adewale Raji and some of his managers, stated that the need for the Yoruba nation to come together and speak with one voice informed the idea of integration which has become a major concern to the governors and the Sketch being one of the legacies of the Yoruba cannot afford to stay aloof while the integration policy is being pursued.
Charging that the publications must at all times let their editorial policy reflect the yearnings and aspirations of the Yoruba nation, the OICL board chairman maintained that the urge for profit on the part of the publisher should not erode Yoruba interest.
He recalled what he described “as the travails of the Yoruba since 1962” which he said had relegated Yoruba to the background in the affairs of the country and noted that the current efforts on the part of the governors of the Yoruba speaking States “is to halt the slide and bring back the lost glory.”
According to him, “before the 1962 crisis from which the Yoruba nation is yet to fully recover, we are like Great Britain to Africa because we had the best of everything any developed society could think of, name it, is it in education, health, infrastructure, judiciary, commerce, agriculture among others? Our civil service was a model, not only to all other parts of the country, but to the entire continent”.
Chief Ojo, who was alarmed at the lack of sense of history of the present generation of children noted that “there are books everywhere, but, they are not reading, yet, there’s the need for them to know about their past and I’m charging you to use your medium to reorientate them so that they can know where we are coming from and to inculcate in them the values of the past that made Yoruba unique as a nation”.
He commended the states’ governors for their commitment and dedication to the integration agenda as he equally charged the Sketch publishers to key into the agenda, saying, “we must move together, we should not allow states demarcation which is just for administrative convenience to erode our collectivity. The governors have started it, let’s key into the agenda. Our origin is Yoruba and we must defend our race at all times”.
The OICL chairman tasked the publisher not to engage in frivolous publications like it happens on the social media, asking that they should go for real news and bring it the people as it is. He said “it is only through factual report that the papers can gain the confidence of the people and it is only through that that his board would not regret granting them the franchise”.
With nostalgic feelings, the chairman recalled how the paper was established in 1964 and how it became the voice and pride of the Yoruba nation and disclosed that it took a long time before the franchise was given to the new publisher and this he said was due to the screening and other checks conducted on him in order not to fail the Yoruba nation.
“Don’t let us regret granting you the franchise, sell your editorial qualities, make us proud of our relationship”, he charged the Spark Communication team as he promised them to liaise with the management team on area of collaboration as a way of supporting the project.
In his own remark, the OICL GMD/CEO, Mr. Raji told the Sketch team that the expectations from the publications are high, assuring that the conglomerate would partner with them and be committed to their success.
He explained that the business thinking of government currently has been to create enabling environment for both individuals and corporate bodies to drive every business concern and this is being pursued by engaging in partnership with those that are technically capable and financially empowered.
Raji also harped on how germane and paramount integration is to the owner states of the conglomerate through collaboration and cooperation among them and restated that everybody must be involved because “it is for our collective interest”.
He too lauded the governors for the integration agenda described as all inclusive of everything that in the past made the Western region a unique one and not excluded of information and communication technology that has become the vogue.
The GMD described the conglomerate as the economic engine room of the Yoruba nation and would not for any reason abdicate its responsibility, asking the Sketch publisher to ensure strict adherence to the ideals and ideas of the Yoruba nation in his publications.
The Acting Director-General of DAWN, Seye Oyeleye, who received the Sketch team on behalf of the commission disclosed that the birth of the organization about four years ago was to coordinate the activities of the states in the region as the intellectual arm to drive integration and development agenda.
He recalled that the idea of having a body like this was conceived as far back as 2010 when proactively the region looked at ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil, What Next’ following which the DAWN strategy document was signed in Lagos in 2012 and which all the states bought into.
The Ag. DG expressed satisfaction with the opportunity being given to the body to work without let or hindrance and equally commended the states’ governors for their acknowledgement of the distinction between development and politics following which they had not allowed political party differences to jeopardize their commitment to the integration agenda.
He said, “here, we talk of development and not politics and we have been enjoying tremendous support from our retired fathers and mothers, who give us free consultancies and always reiterate their commitment to the development of the region”.
Oyeleye expressed happiness at the resuscitation of the Sketch publications, recalling that the DAWN commission had on different occasions asked the OICL GMD about it, who had always assured him that the publications would be back.
While assuring the team of patronage, he charged them to let the Yoruba agenda be their priority, saying, “we shouldn’t get to a situation whereby an outsider will be telling our story, because there’s no way an outsider can tell our story how we want it to be told. Let our younger ones know about our past through your publications”.
In the speeches delivered by the publisher and board chairman of Spark Communications Ltd. at the two places, Elder Oyewole, he disclosed the paper’s readiness to key into the integration agenda of the Yoruba nation just as he appealed to the two bodies to see the paper as their own, the survival and sustainability of which must be the concern of all.
He lauded the two bodies for their commitment to the preservation of the legacies of the founding fathers of the region through their various programmes and activities, reminding them that “Sketch is one of them and it equally demands the same level of commitment for its growth and sustainability”.
Oyewole said “this becomes imperative in view of the role the publications would play in the lives of our people as their voice and more importantly the employment it would generate for the teeming unemployed youths in the region.
“Whatever you do for the publications to survive and grow is an indirect investment in the Yoruba nation because of the direct benefit the people will reap and on our side, I can assure that we will not do anything that can injure our people”, he added.