•THISDAY gets three winners: Style Editor, Ruth Osime and a former correspondent, Ruona Meyer
Tobi Soniyi and Chiemelie Ezeob
Managing Director of Arise Television and former Editor of THISDAY, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, has been declared the most powerful woman in Nigerian journalism. She beat a galaxy of top media personalities and media entrepreneurs to clinch the top spot in the ranking.
Nwogwugwu was ranked first among 25 most powerful women in Nigerian journalism by Women in Journalism Africa (WiJAFRICA).
Kadaria Ahmed and Chris Anyanwu, MFR, a recipient of the IWMF Courage in Journalism Award, were ranked second and third, respectively.
Vice Chairman of Channels Media Group, Olusola Momoh, Bilkisu Labaran, Stella Din Jacob, Lady Maiden Ibru, MFR, Mo Abudu, Funke Egbemode, and Tosin Dokpesi also made the top 10 list of “25 Most Powerful” women in the Nigerian media, particularly journalism, for 2020.
WiJAfrica said it worked with a team of industry leaders and practitioners to rank the women. It measured the most powerful woman journalist in four criteria: the size and effectiveness of her influence in national affairs, her influence in the media industry, her experience and the arc of her career, and, finally, her social and cultural influence.
According to the organisation, most of the women on the list often shun the limelight, preferring to work behind the scenes.
“Many of them will not be well-known to the public, but their understated approach is often the source of their power and longevity,” it said.
WiJAfrica also said some of the names might be debated, but that would not diminish their impact or the fact that they had helped shape major issues in the polity.
On the emergence of Nwogwugwu as the most powerful woman in Nigerian journalism, the association said, “Contrary to what many may think, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu is not the most powerful woman journalist in Nigeria because she is the managing director of Arise TV – even though this in itself, is a big deal. Rather, Ijeoma, through her weekly column in THISDAY and as editor of the paper, helped shape national policy and provide often sharp criticism of government since the days of former President Obasanjo. She is quick-witted, highly cerebral, and resolutely holds the government of the day accountable. It is no secret that every leader in the field of business and national politics knows Ms. Nwogwugwu personally, but this has not affected her journalistic responsibility to the public.
“Ms. Nwogwugwu brings to journalism a wealth of experience across private and public sectors. She held the track record of editing all three titles under the THISDAY stable for the longest unbroken period of 11 years and is the second woman in the history of Nigerian journalism to be appointed Editor of a national newspaper, the first being Dr. Doyinsola Abiola of Concord.
“Based on her national and industry credence, the trajectory of her career and all-round professionalism, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu is the most powerful woman journalist in Nigeria.”
The Editor of THISDAY Style, Ruth Osime, is also listed among the 25 most powerful women in Nigerian journalism. In choosing Osime, the association said, “For a high-level job in journalism to be successful, power with people is mandatory.”
It stated: “Few people wield the influence of Ruth Osime in an industry where relationships are the currency. As the longstanding editor of THISDAY Style, she is often the gateway between politicians and captains of industry trying to burnish their image, and the public they are trying to reach.”
The association stated that her work was equally as important as hard news reporting, since the leaders appearing on her Style cover often must prove that their professional mettle was balanced by a healthy humanity.
“To date, Ms. Osime has directly sat in interviews with no less than eight present and former presidents, more than 150 serving and former governors, senators and other political leaders and their wives, and scores of captains of industry and change makers. Ruth Osime is a formidable media power broker coming in at number 12,” the association added.
A former THISDAY correspondent, Ruona Agbroko Meyer also made the list. She is the first Nigerian journalist to be nominated for an International Emmy Award for her work, Sweet Sweet Codeine, a 2018 documentary on drug abuse, for BBC Africa Eye. The report provoked a general outcry, and the Federal Government announced major steps to address codeine abuse and going after its illegal sale. Ruona has several awards to her name and has her works featured in several local and international press.
The Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, said the duo of Nwogwugwu, Osime and Meyer merited the ranking. He congratulated them for their achievements, urging them to arise and conquer.
“Go girls! Arise and over the world with Style.”
In his congratulatory message, the Managing Director of THISDAY, Mr Eniola Bello, said Nwogwugwu and Osime emerged from an impressive collection of professional women of “timber and calibre”.
Others who made the list of the 25 most powerful women in Nigerian journalism are: Toun Okewale Sonaiya, Toyosi Ogunseye, Ifeyinwa Omowole, Maupe Ogun Yusuf, Uche Pedro, Linda Ikeji, Morayo Afolabi Brown, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Eugenia Abu, Stephanie Busari, Kiki Mordi, Ruona Meyer, Adedoja Allen and Angel Emuwa.
WiJAFRICA is the annual gathering of women working in the field of journalism and the media across Africa. The programme is organised by WiJAfrica, supported by local and international partners with “the aim of advancing conversations around the practice of journalism in Africa, promoting best practices and supporting innovation in the profession.”