By Wilfred Eya
Yesterday, the curtain was drawn on the life of Chief Duro Onabule, former Chief Press Secretary to ex-Military President, Ibrahim Babangida.
The veteran journalist and columnist per excellence with the Sun publishing limited died on Tuesday at 83. At the time of filing this report, the cause of his death was unknown as he was reportedly hale and hearty just few days ago.
For those familiar with the life and times of late ‘Double chief Onabule’, his demise was a big blow to the journalism profession. Many would agree that he was a colossus in his career.
Besides exploits in journalism, he was a humanist, patriot and detribalized Nigerian who was committed to the enthronement of democracy, justice, equity and freedom of speech.
Though from the South West region of the country, until his death, he remained one of the champions of power shift to the South East zone in 2023 for reasons of equity and justice.
Late Onabule was born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, on September 27, 1939. He attended CMS Grammar School and School of Journalism, London.
His first media work was as a reporter for the Daily Express in 1961 and three years later, he joined the staff of Daily Sketch where he spent some time before going back to his previous employer, Daily Express.
In 1969, he served as the London correspondent of the Express and in the mid-1970s, he worked for the Daily Times, rising to become a deputy editor of Headlines magazine.
When the late MKO Abiola started Concord Press, Onabule was appointed Features editor and later became the editor of Concord in 1984.
Until his death, he remained active in writing and making profound comments on national issues.
Onabule was presidential spokesman for most of the Babangida administration when government punished newspaper and magazine publishers with temporary proscription to make them conform to the code of conduct set up by the administration.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun confirmed the death on Wednesday in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin.
Describing Onabule as one of the finest experts of the pen profession, Abiodun said he received the death of the Ijebu Ode-born foremost journalist with a shock.
According to the governor, the nation would not forget his role as the mouthpiece of the military government of Babangida’s regime.
He added that the former Editor of the defunct Concord Newspaper would always be remembered and missed for his profound comments on national issues, via his column in the Sun Newspaper.
Abiodun stated that the young generation of journalists would also miss a national figure and father-mentor in the late journalist, adding that Ogun State would always remember him.
In commiserating with his immediate family, Ijebu Ode and the entire state, Abiodun prayed for the repose of the soul of the former journalism guru.
His words: “I received the news of one of the finest journalists Nigeria can boast of, with great shock. He remained a trailblazer in his profession, who proved his mettle while serving as the spokesman of the IBB’s regime. “Though his death is a national loss, we, in Ogun, will feel the vacuum most. No doubt, one of our illustrious sons and gift to Nigeria is gone, he shall be sorely missed.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Ogun State, I commiserate with the immediate family of late Onabule and his hometown of Ijebu Ode. May God rest his soul.”