Brief History of Nigerian Newspapers
The history of Nigerian newspapers dated back to the colonial era when the British introduced print media to the region. Here are short historical underpinning of the history of newspapers in Nigeria. Iwe Iroyin was established in 1859, is considered the first newspaper in Nigeria. It was a Yoruba-language newspaper founded by Rev. Henry Townsend, a Christian missionary. The newspaper served as a means to propagate Christianity and disseminate information among the Yoruba people (Lawal, 2004).
In 1880, The Lagos Times and Gold Coast Colony Advertiser began publication. It was the first English-language newspaper in Nigeria and catered primarily to British colonial officials and European settlers in Lagos (Olorunnisola, 2001).
Founded by J.E. Casely Hayford, Nigerian Pioneer was one of the earliest nationalist newspapers, launched in 1914 in Accra, Ghana (at that time, Nigeria was still a British colony). It played a significant role in promoting Pan-Africanism and Nigerian nationalism. Equally, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who later became Nigeria’s first president, founded the West African Pilot in 1937. It was a prominent nationalist newspaper that advocated for independence and social justice. The newspaper played a vital role in the fight for Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule (Olorunnisola, 2001).
The Nigerian Daily Times began in 1926 and quickly became one of Nigeria’s most influential newspapers. It was initially established by the British as the Nigerian Printing and Publishing Company (NPPC) but was later acquired by local interests and rebranded as the Daily Times. Launched in 1966, the New Nigerian was founded to serve the Northern region of Nigeria. It played a crucial role in providing a platform for the Northern viewpoint during Nigeria’s early post-independence period (Lawal, 2004).
Founded in 1983, The Guardian is one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers. It is known for its balanced and independent journalism, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, business, culture, and sports. Similarly, the Punch, founded in 1971, is another prominent Nigerian newspaper known for its bold and critical reporting on social and political issues. It has gained popularity for its fearless approach to investigative journalism. Since the time of Iwe-Iroyin till date several newspapers have come and gone while many still remain afloat till date including the Nigeria Tribune newspaper, Sun newspaper, Daily Trust etc. today, many now have online version (Adetula, 2002).
Adetula, V. A. (2002). The African newspaper in the information age: A case study of The Nigerian Tribune. African Research Review, 16(1), 111-127.
Olorunnisola, A. A. (2001). The development of mass media in Nigeria: A historical and political analysis. Africa Media Review, 9(1), 1-18.