Not many people know that the Governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a keen reader of City People Magazine. He shocked many guests at last week’s City People 20th Anniversary lecture when he told the audience that he had closely followed City People for years, especially since 2012 when City People singled him out for honour as the Governor Of The Year. He went ahead to extot the virtues of City People. And he told his listeners that he is not surprised City People has survived the last 20 years.
“We must commend City People for bringing its anniversary celebration to Osogbo” he said. “Although, the Publisher Seye Kehinde has not expressly said so, I think this must be the first time ever City People, a Lagos based news organisation will think that it will be worth its while to bring the celebration of its anniversary a unique one, its 20th anniversary, to Osogbo to celebrate it with us here to come to Osun and organise this gathering for me to do a Stewardship account. So for the reason of bringing your anniversary here, and giving me the opportunity to again reflect and review, with a section of our people in Osun, we thank you Seye Kehinde.
Where is he? (Seye Kehinde waves to the Governor from the last row at the back of the hall) He is quite humble. See where he is. Please come and share the hightable with us since you are the celebrant. Seye Kehinde I am very, very grateful. And to all the staff of City People who have been working with Seye Kehinde over the years to make this magazine survive till now, I thank all of you. I thank workers and managers of City People.”
“We must thank City People for its decision to have its 20th Anniversary Lecture here. And for asking me to use the forum to again share with you our experience in the last 6 years. Precisely, today marks 2,209 days that we got here. I titled my campaign speech then, Government Unusual This is The 1st time anybody, anywhere in the world would clearly for 7 and a half years or there about without any equivolation, that he is going to run a government that is unusual and had ever deared to do it anywhere in the world…
I must thank Dr. Seye Kehinde and his team at City People once again for the kind invitation for me to deliver the 20th Anniversary of the founding of this softsell magazine called City People. Let me first congratulate City People on its 20th anniversary, for surviving and thriving in this indement weather and instability the newspaper industry has been known for in Nigeria.
City People is no the 1st or the last, but it has been the most successful and longest-lasting so far. (Claps) What do I mean by that? Let me repeat what I have said, in that genre of journalism City People is the longest on the newstand, as a softsell. There was Prime People and others at some point in the softsell sector. There are others which came with some measure of success, however City People appears to be the reigning champion and I pray that your reign will endure Seye Kehinde. (He turns round to look for Seye Kehinde once again). “Seye, where is he again? He has left the hightable. You must totally abhor fame and publicity and you are in the publicity industry.
The late Alhaji Ismail Babatunde Jose, the doyen of Nigerian Journalism at a time, once segmented newspapers into 3. The first one are those who are above society, that set standards for it. The 2nd are those at the level of society that reflect the true state and the third those below society that seek to drive it down all the time. Those are the 3 types of newspapers. So some set standards for the society, in all spheres. And there are those that just show society how it is. And those that would want to pull down society because they are below society.
Softsell magazines, it appears, belong to the 3rd category, with due respect to Mr. Seye Kehinde, with their rave stories, gossips, salacious and often lewd stories and obsession with celebrities. There are often allegations of blackmail and extortion, with many people claiming to have been maligned and falsely accused with many reputations destroyed.
Let me enter this caveat, that the softsell can hardly be blamed if their reports are true. no matter who is hurt. Their job is to bring out the dirt and the ugly, wherever they are. However, the big question is where to draw the line in seeking for the truth and propagating cheap blackmail and forgery. There have been reports of marriages that have been ruined as a result of reports in tabloids that could have been true or false all together.
Most times, they create sensation and give idle minds something to talk about, not caring for the cost to the victim. The worst part is when they build a negative reputation of trading in falsehood. This is when public interest in them wane and they eventually have to wind up.
With the new media (social media), softsell magazine have had their share of substantially being eating up by blogs, which further marginalises their influence in the press because that stage is now free for all. Now you can say what you want to say online.
Unless for the serious softsell, who do not just bandy anything most of those who think that sensationalism for its sake is the basis of production will have to pack up. Because you can not rival the new media sensationalism. That City People is still thriving after 20 years is an indication that it has raised its game above this pedal and has cultivated respectability in the market. (Applause) Because City People has risen above all these problems. Its has balanced out being soft and yet being rigorous. I hope it will keep it up and remain at the level of society if it cannot rise above it. City People is not just celebrating me. I have forgotten precisely when you did it. Its either 2012 or thereabout City People was able to identify me as the Governor Of The Year for that year (Applause) So they are not just recognising me. They have been doing so. For years, City People within the genre of Nigerian newspapers saw through the then popular negative stories, that was our work then to say that we merited being put out as the best Governor in Nigeria. So, I thank Seye Kehinde for always looking beyond the facade of lies, of inaccuracies, in which statement of intent and evaluation that characterises governance, partiuclarly leadership, that characterises governance to know that something extra-rdinary is happening here. And I thank God for Seye Kehinde keen study of Osun to know that something extra ordinary is happening here. I thank God for your keen study of Osun that made you to see, in positive light, what we are doing here in Osun. I am grateful.