More encomiums have continued to pour in for the Chairman of THISDAY Newspapers and ARISE Television, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, who celebrated his 60th birthday last Sunday, with goodwill messages from former Heads of State, Generals Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and Abdusalami Abubakar leading a galaxy of other prominent Nigerians to pay tribute to the Duke as he is fondly called by friends and admirers.
Also sending in their best wishes were the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; a former presidential running mate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993, Babagana Kingibe; former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and members of staff of THISDAY Newspapers.
Not left out in the deluge of greetings were the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar; Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; and the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, all called to wish him well and thanked God on behalf of Obaigbena for keeping him alive till this moment.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier sent his wishes to Obaigbena via a public statement. He acknowledged immense contributions to the evolution of journalism and the media in general. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was however personally present at the thanksgiving service held the at The Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina. Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu attended both for himself and also represented the President at the reception at Eko hotel on Sunday, after the thanks giving service.
While Babangida, Abdusalami, Babagana Kingibe, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, Oba of Lagos, Akiolu and Okonjo-Iweala personally spoke to Obaigbena by telephone and wished him long life in good health, Lawan, on his part sent Senator Dayo Adeyeye from Ekiti State to represent him at the birthday celebration.
The Senate President, had earlier in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mohammed Isa, said the contributions of Obaigbena to uplifting and changing the face of journalism in the country had assured him a safe place in Nigerian history.
He said it was significant that in spite of the challenges confronting the media industry today, which have resulted in the collapse of many newspapers, THISDAY Newspapers has continued to soar to enviable height.
“This has demonstrated your ability to deploy your administrative, managerial and professional acumen to navigate a difficult business and professional terrain to succeed.As journalist, columnist and publisher, you have no doubt made your impact to the growth and development to journalism profession in Nigeria and beyond,” Lawan said.
Abdusalami, while speaking to Obaigbena, believed that with his radical revolution in both the print and the electronic media, a lot could still be done by the Nigerian media as an institution to turn around the fortunes of the country.
He therefore urged Obaigbena to continue to channel his positive energy towards galvanising the media with a view to keeping the country together especially, at this time when the nation’s unity was going through its toughest test.
Also in a rare show of love, many THISDAY staff, friends and former employees of the company in videos posted across social media paid glowing tributes to Obaigbena for his tenacity and dogged determination to succeed which they said has been a source of inspiration, recognising not only the grace of God over his life, but his seemingly conscious efforts towards becoming the man they all acknowledge today. They wished him many more years of progress and good health.