Dele Giwa is name that so popular yet, not so popular; depending on which generation one is from. Whatever the case may be, Dele Giwa is one of a kind; a rare breed. He was one who ranked (and arguably, still ranks) in the category of Nigeria’s crème de la crème class of Journalism; One, who was amongst the finest, most intelligent, fearless, bodacious, daring and probably most detribalized journalists Nigeria has had. Dele Giwa was more than in a class of his own in his time; he probably was a whole school on his own.
Early Years and Education
The man, Sumonu Oladele “Baines” Giwa was born on 16 March 1947 to a family with a lowly background in a surrounding of affluence and influence. His family worked in the palace of Oba Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife at that time. Dele had his education at the local Authority Modern School in Lagere, Ile-lfe. Later in life, his father moved to Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife as a laundry man, and that provided a pedestal for Dele to gain admission to that school. Thereafter, he travelled to the United States of America for his higher education, earning a BA in English from Brooklyn College in 1977 and enrolled for a Graduate program at Fordham University. He worked for The New York Times as a news assistant for four years after which he relocated to Nigeria to work with Daily Times.
Dele Giwa: The Newswatch Editions
Dele Giwa’s return to Nigeria marked the beginning of a new tone in journalism. He was at the fore front of a generation that were ready to take the ‘bulls by the horn’. He was in the category of journalists that exhibited the true essence of the trade called journalism; ready to bare the minds of the masses in the most lucid way; irrespective of whose feelings were involved, whose oxen were gored, whose beauty was smeared, and whose ego was smudged. It was integrity first; fairness and equity was ready to become louder. That was Dele Giwa; that was what his clique was about. That was what Newswatch was about.
Newswatch became an instant success and the hottest cake out of the oven. Every issue was a collector’s item.” They were pacesetters and trend setters. They made journalism attractive in Nigeria because they combined intellect with swagger.
Dele Giwa: Legendary Journalist
Many things make for this title, Legendary Journalist. The man Dele Giwa, represented his profession rightly and correctly. He was as bright as any torchbearer could be in the profession; shining lights in dark places, drawing clear-cut lines in grey areas and blurry terrains. The down trodden had a voice, the least privilege could speak, everyone should be heard. The lines of ethnicity, tribalism, economic status, religious beliefs were all collapsing; that was Dele Giwa’s modus operandi; all voices must be heard, on the same frequency and same decibel levels. There was no room for political correctness, journalistic diplomacy or partisanship. The man operated with a swagger and wrote without mincing his words. Every article and column was technically an intellectual back-to-back hit; food for the soul, boggling to the mind, exercise to the intellect. Dele Giwa was not just an exemplary journalist; he was a prototype of the ideal one.
Dele Giwa: The Tales must come to an End
As the saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end’. So also did Dele Giwa’s life. Though with much controversy surrounding his death, yet, his life was one that has counted even many years later, after his demise. Dele Giwa died at his prime; at the peak of his power; at his most influential period; full of figure, strength, sap, ideas and content to express and deliver. Dele Giwa died on the 19th of October, 1986. He was only 39 year at that time.
Dele Giwa;the legend lives on.
Featured image source: The Next Edition