Before the emergence of celebrity journals in Nigeria, news reporting was basically about government and government officials alone. The practice of journalism too appeared to be somehow restricted to four basic areas: politics, sports, showbiz/entertainment and human interest. And because of this obvious imbalance, the public hardly got to read about individuals who are not government officials, no matter how successful they are in their chosen fields. However all these began to change with the advent of journals like Prime People, Vintage, Today’s Choice, Climax, Fame, to mention just a few, which started beaming the searchlight on the hitherto unreported private lives of notable personalities in our society.
Though all these publications which were weekly then, had since packed up as a result of the uncertainty in Nigeria’s business climate, yet their invaluable contributions to what is now known as society journalism would remain unforgettable. For it was through them that the general public started to read stories like “Jennifer Madike Arrested for Drug”, “The messy love-life of Florence Ita-Giwa”, How Sonny Kuku’s Marriage Hit the Rocks”, “How Mr X got drunk and fell into gutter at Femi Otedola’s party”.“This and that in husband snatching mess”…and several other happenstances, which were no-go areas to the then mainstream newspapers. That, perhaps was how what is now known as society reporting evolved and became an indispensable part of journalism in Nigeria.Today, even most of our hitherto holier-than – thou and highly elitist dailies are now featuring more of society and “junk” than the so-called Soft-sells
In the beginning of the soft-sell industry, we had the Funmi Coker- Onitas, Moji Danisa – Jemegbes, Femi Akintude – Johnsons, Kunle Bakares, Mayor Akinpelus and others.
however, apart from Kunle Bakare and Mayor Akinpelu who are now publishers of their own magazines (Encomium and Global Excellence) respectively, the others have gone under. And quite ironically their absence is hardly being felt in the industry, no thanks to people like Mr Seye kehinde (SK) the hardworking publishers of Nigeira’s hottest soft sell, CITY PEOPLE Since its inception in 1996, City People weekly has done tremendously well in the area of society coverage. As a matter of fact the widely –read magazine has created (or unveiled, if you like) more celebrites than any other media. follwoing closely are Encomium, Global Excellence First Weekly and News of People in that order.
Nevertheless, the story of how far how society reporting has fared in Nigeria will not be complete without acknowledging the contributions of some present crop of razor – sharp reporters who have performed creditably and make society reporting more vibrant, competitive and robust.I am referring to people like Kemi Akinyemi Deputy Editor, City People. She probably pioneered the now popular style of reporting high society parties in the short-short gist format. An alumnus of OAU – Ife, Kemi’s writing style is quite impressive and unique. Her column ON THE PARTY CIRCUIT is always a readers’ delight. Unfortunately most of the priceless works of this gifted reporter are hidden in the hard copies of City People. For reasons best known to Mr. S.K., City People has refused to go on-line. Other worthy society writers in this class are Kemi Dayo-Aiyetan (Punch) Kunle Rasheed (Nation) Tunde Moshood (Famous Enquirer), Lanre Alfred (Thisday), Gbenga Asabe (Mirror), Abiola Aloba (Encomium). so popular is Aloba that, any shop you enter either on Allen, Ogunsanya or Island, what they would most likely ask you is ‘do you know Biola Aloba?’ Others are Niyi Tabiti, (the master blogger at Gistmaster.com.) Kayode Olanshile (Encomium), Funso Akinwale (First weekly), Gbenga Bada (First weekly) and several others. Lastly we should not forget the contributions of Kayode Fayemi (1965 – 2007) too; He was a damn good society reporter. He is late but his works live on. May his soul rest in peace, adieu CHICAGO! In Nigeria, society journalism has really come of age and on this blog (METROGIST-NIGERIA) you will be treated to more of the finest society stuff than anything.just keep blogging with me.