President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday congratulated the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, on his conferment with the chieftaincy title, Aare Baroyin of Akure Kingdom, by the Deji of Akure, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi II. Nda-Isaiah will be conferred with the chieftaincy title today in Akure, the Ondo State capital, in a ceremony scheduled to end the two-week long Odun Ulefunta Oyemekun festival 2018. According to a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari felicitated with the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group on the recognition, which he said is obviously inspired by his contribution to the development of the media industry, business world and support for the underprivileged.
The presidential spokesman said, “The President believes Nda-Isaiah’s foray into journalism in spite of a background in pharmacy was divinely ordained to serve the country with his strength in writing, deep thinking and philosophical outlook on life. “President Buhari commends Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, Odundun II and his kinsmen, for selecting the publisher for recognition, affirming that it will give further fillip to his appetite for serving the nation and humanity”. Also, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida and former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar congratulated the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group Ltd, Sam Nda-Isaiah, on his conferment with the Aare Baroyin of Akure Kingdom title. The two former leaders described Nda-Isaiah as a worthy son of Niger State who has impacted positively on the nation’s growth through his contributions to good governance and effective leadership. Also, the foremost monarch of the Nupe, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, while congratulating Nda-Isiah on his new title described him as a worthy son of the land adding that his service to humanity and achievement in the field of communication, had earlier earned him the title, Kakaki Nupe.
In the same vein, the Emir of Potiskum, Alhaji Umaru Bubaram, yesterday congratulated the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group Ltd, Sam Nda-Isaiah, saying his conferment with the Aare Baroyin of Akure Kingdom title by the Deji of Akure is a honour well-deserved.
A statement issued by his special adviser on communications and strategy, Mallam Gidado Ibrahim, noted that Mai Potiskum joined the media industry, publishers in the country, family and friends of Nda-Isaiah in celebrating the lofty achievements of the media chief. The royal father said the patriotism and commitment demonstrated by Nda-Isaiah in nation-building had been clearly demonstrated in the objective reporting in all the titles in the stable of LEADERSHIP Group. He noted that Nda-Isaiah’s relentless pursuit of justice and fairness during some past administrations in Nigeria’s democracy were a clear demonstration of his patriotism. Mai Potiskum commended the untiring efforts of the publisher in contributing to the development of Nigeria through writing of his back page column and books over many years.
He also lauded the new Are Bayorin’s courage to start a newspaper that has grown to become one of the most influential media organisation in the country. He prayed God to grant Nda-Isaiah long life, good health and more strength to continue to serve the country and humanity in general. Others who congratulated the chairman of LEADERSHIP Group through congratulatory adverts include the governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Kano, Ogun, Ekiti, Borno, Ondo, Enugu, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi States. Others are Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Nda-Isaiah was chosen for the chieftaincy title based on his solid achievements in the newspaper industry. The Deji of Akure Kingdom had earlier conveyed the decision of the Deji-in-Council to honour Nda-Isaiah in a letter delivered to him in his Abuja residence by a delegation from Akure few months ago. The delegation, which was led by the Edemo of Akure Kingdom, High Chief Afolabi Fayehun, said the Deji of Akure and his Council of Chiefs considered Nd-Isaiah for the chieftaincy title due to his unblemished antecedents in the newspaper industry. Chief Fayehun described Akure as one of the oldest state capitals in the country, hence the need to showcase its potentialities to the world, particularly during the forthcoming Odun Ulefunta Oyemekun festival 2018. He said, “After due consultations, the Deji of Akure found out that you are a detribalised Nigerian, and the Kabiyesi instructed that we should personally deliver this letter to you.” Describing the 50-year-old festival as the most influential cultural event in the Yoruba land, Fayehun said the Ulefunta Festival had a historical and cultural significance. LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that Ulefunta Festival is celebrated after the five days of Eru Owa when the princes and princesses present kola to the Deji of Akure, while the Deji in turn gives them gifts of tubers of yam. During this period, according to investigation, commercial activities of the provincial city will be shut down, while traders take their wares to ldi-Agba over a period of seven days.
It was also gathered that the period is when notable Nigerians, who have been seen to contribute to national development, are awarded with varying chieftaincy titles. In his response, Nda-Isaiah appreciated the honour bestowed upon him, especially as the Deji of Akure does not personally know him. He said, “I was surprised when I was told that the Deji wanted to confer on me a chieftaincy title. I said, ‘I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me’. This is a very big honour to me. It is a thing that I will not joke with. “This will be the beginning of my relationship with Akure Kingdom, apart from the time I served in the state. I appreciate this and I cherish it. I will sustain and make sure that there is mutual benefit from both sides.” Sam Nda-Isaiah was born in Minna on May 1, 1962. He attended Christ Church School, Katsina Road, Kaduna, between 1968 and 1974; Government College, Kaduna, 1974–1979 and the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, 1979-1983. While at Government College, Kaduna, he led the school to win the Kaduna State Schools Challenge – a quiz competition among all secondary schools in the then Kaduna State (now comprising Kaduna and Katsina states). At the University of Ife, he was the national editor-in-chief of the “Student Pharmacist”, the official publication of all the pharmacy schools in Nigeria. On graduating as a pharmacist, Sam worked at the Minna General Hospital after a stint at the Kano Specialist Hospital. He did his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the General Hospital, Ilawe Ekiti, and the State Hospital, Ikere Ekiti, both in Ekiti State, in 1984. In 1985, he joined Pfizer Products Ltd where he worked until 1989. He resigned and launched into serial entrepreneurship. Sam was a member of the Daily Trust Editorial Board as well as a member of the committee appointed by the Kano State Government to revive The Triumph, the state-owned newspaper. His Monday column in LEADERSHIP under the combined titles of “Last Word” and “Earshot”, which he started at Daily Trust before the establishment of LEADERSHIP, was one of the most popular columns in Nigeria before 2015. Through this column, he firmly established himself as a pro-good governance exponent. Early versions of his articles, now distilled into a book entitled “NIGERIA: FULL DISCLOSURE”, are a compelling narrative on the audacity of the Nigerian paradox. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish the LEADERSHIP Group in 2003. He started with LEADERSHIP CONFIDENTIAL, a subscription-only authoritative and elitist newsletter. It was successful.
A year later, he started LEADERSHIP, first as a weekly newspaper, after launching “NIGERIA: FULL DISCLOSURE”, a compilation of his articles. Today, the LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group is made up of LEADERSHIP, LEADERSHIP Friday, LEADERSHIP Weekend, LEADERSHIP Sunday, LEADERSHIP Hausa now LEADERSHIP Ayau, a vernacular publication in Hausa Language to cater to the millions of Hausa readers of LEADERSHIP and LEADERSHIP.NG.LEADERSHIP Ayau recently marked its maiden year of hitting the newsstands with its daily production. Ayau has on its stable LEADERSHIP Ayau (Daily), LEADERSHIP Ayau Juma’a (Friday), LEADERSHIP Ayau Asabar (Saturday) and LEADERSHIP Ayau Lahadi (Sunday). The chairman of LEADERSHIP Newspaper Group is also a member of the Institute of directors, a member of the Vienna-based International Press Institute, a member of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and an executive member of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN).