Elder statesman and veteran journalist, Olusegun Osoba, has said that he wrote many exclusive news stories that shook the nation in his heyday as an investigative journalist.
Osoba, a former governor of Ogun State, said people lay more emphasis on his report about discovery of the body of the late Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, perhaps because that was the first major story that exposed him to the nation as a journalist.
He said he broke other exclusive news such as the impeachment of Alhaji Balarabe Musa as the governor of Kaduna State and the deportation of the majority leader in the then Borno State House of Assembly, Alhaji Shugaba who was physically taken and dumped across the border.
Osoba who disclosed this when he featured as a guest on Nigerian Television Authority programme, said that he was not a lazy reporter who would hear any information and sit back without investigating such.
The elder statesman said as a young reporter that he had the necessary paraphernalia that made him to excel as an investigative journalist.
Osoba also attributed his success as a journalist to the wide contacts which he built over the years.
He revealed that the management of the Methodist Boys High School gave him the opportunity to meet a lot of people when he was sent on leadership training in his final year in the school.
The six-week training according to him, involved military and leadership training which high point was the climbing of the Cameroon Mountain.
“We were away for six weeks. We were given serious military and leadership training. A lot of my contemporaries that came to that training ended up in the military. As a result of that training, I had contacts with a lot of people. I met people like the late Shinkafi and I had contacts at different levels. People like Awoniyi, and the rest were the people that I knew in the public service. I was nurturing all these contacts, so my arsenal of information gathering was reasonably wide,” he said.
Osoba who recalled how he found the body of Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, said one of his contacts gave him the scoop that led him to the discovery.
“Those who were searching for the body of Tafawa Balewa contacted me. It is being argued that an officer from Katsina was the first to see the body of Balewa; from the security point of view, he was part of the team that saw the body but they kept their information. I happened to be the first person that saw the body and also broke the news.
“What happened was that my former teacher Oshuneye, (now late) was coming from Abeokuta, he came through the old road and noticed a crowd along the Ota Road at Ilogbo Junction. He came to my house when I was already getting prepared to go to the sight and he confirmed the news to me. I had several sources of information at the time, from security personnel, civilians and friends.
“I was not one lazy reporter who would hear and ignore such information, so I immediately took the necessary action. I was already prepared for the investigative journalism because I was the first young reporter to have a telephone in my house, so were some of my contacts. To have telephones in 1966, the persons must be super elite but for me, it was an instrument for information,” he said.
He further revealed, “I also had a scooter, as soon as I got the information, I went straight to my scooter, I did not wait for the public transport, I went straight to the site and found the body of Balewa. I have many other exclusive stories. There were so many stories that shook this country, they were landmark stories.
“But people emphasize much on that Balewa story, perhaps because that was the first major story that exposed me. I gave my life to service and these are the things that make me to thank God and appreciate him and make me to continue to live a joyful life.”
Born on July 15, 1939, Osoba commenced his journalism journey with the Daily Times in 1964 as trainee journalist, crime beat. He later became the diplomatic correspondent and rose to become the news editor of the paper in 1968 and deputy editor, Sunday Times a few years later.
Osoba was appointed the Editor, Daily Times in 1975 and the Managing Director of the company in 1984.