Prince Nduka Obaigbena, the Publisher of Thisday Newspaper will be is 60 in a few days time. And this is authoritative This handsome and dashing media guru will be 60 on 14th July 2019.
Born on July 14, 1959, in Agbor, in Delta State, Obaigbena attended Edo College, Benin and the University of Benin, where he received an Honours degree in Creative Arts. He began Thisday newspaper in 1995. Preceding this, in 2000, Obaigbena had founded the annual Thisday Awards which honour those who make contributions to Nigerian society in the political arena, global business, women of distinction, and leading figures in the Nigerian education sector.
In 2013 he launched an International TV news channel with an African focus called Arise News, signing a contract with Globecast, for satellite transmission on Astra 2G for broadcast on the UK Sky platform, and to Hot Bird for cable distribution, with bases in London, New York City, Johannesburg, and Lagos.
An International journalist once wrote this about him, “On October 14, with 5,500 people packed into the Royal Albert Hall for the THISDAY Music & Fashion Festival 2008, a man will take to the stage. Though chiefly in stature, he won’t hold the stage for long. He knows that the audience has paid to see Celebrity and Glamour, the chance to witness Christina Aguilera torch the proscenium with such rousing hits as Beautiful and Ain’t No Other Man, to gawk at Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford strutting the catwalk in sleek fashions by Africa’s leading fashion designers”.
“Unlike the celebrities, he’ll also be omnipresent backstage and in front of the house, overseeing details like ticketing, press badges and seating arrangements. Onlookers might see him dressed in a white tunic, trousers and head cloth, the regal, traditional Nigerian costume in which he has greeted heads of state and global geopolitical figures such as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Or he might sport one of the bespoke Lanvin suits he has made in Paris, replete with bowtie, cufflinks and hand-sewn shoes”.
“Remiss is the onlooker who takes this man’s understated leadership at face value or underestimates his importance. He is Nduka Obaigbena, Chairman and Founder of Nigerian newspaper THISDAY, one of the largest and most influential media brands in Africa, and the visionary behind Africa Rising. It’s because of Obaigbena that for 3 years running, a dizzying constellation of stars – Rihanna, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Shakira, Usher, P. Diddy, Mary J Blige, to name a few – have hopped on flights bound for Lagos, Nigeria, many to perform in Africa for their first time. Obaigbena’s indefatigable drive to promote Africa has compelled top artists to join the THISDAY/Africa Rising caravan beyond Nigeria, to inaugural concerts this year in the US (Washington, DC on August 1, with Jay-Z and John Legend) and in the UK”.
The festival is also making ripples in the upper echelons of government: the October 14 concert will see former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell address the crowd. General Powell, the first African-American to hold the post, will convey the central message of a festival that showcases the best of Africa – that the country needs investment, not aid”.
“Get Obaigbena alone in one of the 5-star hotels he stays at when in the West, including the Lanesborough in London, St Regis in New York and the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC, and the media mogul won’t make much of a to-do about himself. He will greet you at the door of his palatial suite in a polo shirt and jeans. He will invite you to pluck a beverage from the mini-bar and order something from room service. Just to poke fun, he will ask you whether the bright green top you are wearing is Cameroonian green or Nigerian green (a football reference). He will do more listening than speaking. While The New York Times described him as the leader of a multimillion-dollar empire in a July 10 interview and featured him on the cover of its Business Section, Obaigbena himself was quoted as saying: “I like to live simply and discreetly.”
His message about Africa is similarly Concise and direct: Contrary to what international media would have you believe, there is good news coming out of the continent and much to celebrate. Africans and people of African descent around the world have not only achieved landmark successes in fields as varied as music, but fashion, business and politics – they have also formulated and spearheaded solutions to Africa’s many challenges.
Conspicuous growth amid harsh obstacles has been the hallmark of Obaigbena’s career. He was born in Ibadan to middle-class parents, but he grew up in Benin City in Nigeria’s Niger Delta and studied Creative Arts and English at the University. After working on Time and Newsweek’s special sections on sub-Saharan Africa, he founded THISWEEK as a weekly publication in 1987, which grew to become the daily THISDAY newspaper. Obaigbena gives his staff the freedom to report as they see fit. But Obaigbena is committed to taking Africa’s future out of the realm of wishful thinking, and into the nuts-and-bolts world of action. He launched 2 international 24-hour TV stations, ARISE NEWS and ARISE 360, headquartered in New York 6 years ago.
Nduka Obaigbena hails from Delta State of Nigeria. He attended Edo College, Benin City and Government College, Ughelli before proceeding to University of Benin, Benin City, where he graduated with honours in Creative Arts. He later attended various professional, management and Graduate Schools of Business in United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Nigeria.
He started his career at Nigerian Observer in 1978 where he was a satirist, writer and cartoonist at various times. He later became coordinating editor of the Dawn monthly magazine. He left Nigeria for UK where he worked with advertising agency, NAL and as a media consultant with Michael Jarvis and Partners.
In 1984 he became a Special Section Representative, Newsweek magazine, New York and later as the Nigerian Representative, Time magazine, New York, United States of America. While there, he helped develop special surveys and country sections. Soon he was appointed Time magazine representative for English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa.
In 1986, at the age of 26, he established a weekly newsmagazine, ThisWeek, thus becoming one of Nigeria’s youngest publishers. The weekly was all gloss and it was printed in England. However, when General Babangida’s government deregulated the foreign exchange market in 1986, and the naira began its downward slide against other currencies like the US dollar and the British pound sterling, this took its toll on the Operation and Funding of the magazine and it eventually folded up and died.
In 1991, he ran for the office of Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 1994, he was elected a member of the Constitutional Conference, which drafted the present Nigerian Constitution. In 1995 he founded Leaders and Company, publishers of ThisDay newspapers. A daily newspaper, ThisDay a trend setter which introduced colour on its pages and printing simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja, innovations which got competitors scrambling to do the same.
In its first year in operation, ThisDay won the prestigious Newspaper of the Year award and subsequently retained the award for 3 consecutive years. With hundreds of thousands of copies in circulation daily and more during the weekends, ThisDay has more than 700 staff members in 38 offices across the nation and also has presence in foreign countries. ThisDay group pioneered the ThisDay Nigerian Universities rankings, a social project aimed at recognizing the teaching and research efforts of Nigerian universities.
The company has also made an impact on other social projects. The annual ThisDay awards, ThisDay annual music festival and ThisDay Fashion and Style weekend have since become prominent features in Nigeria social calendars and attracts who is who in and outside of the country. ThisDay’s entry into the South Africa media market made him the first Nigerian media enterprise to truly go Global, but the venture lasted for only a short while, due to a hostile business environment. Not deterred, Nduka went on to publish the Arise Magazine, a world-class publication with distribution worldwide and than a global TV.