A Tale Of Loyalty, Dilligence, Commitment, Doggedness And A Narrative On Stewardship.

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Mr. Labaran Maku began his career with Standard Newspaper in Kano but honed his skills under the tutelage of veteran journalist, Henry Odukomaiya, who was then the managing editor of Champion Newspaper. More than anything, commitment to duty and  to details from his boss contributed to his rise in the pen profession. Funke Olaode reports

If you want to learn how to be a dependable and loyal ally, it is better to take a cue from the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku. Maku was a guest of honour at the 80th birthday of veteran journalist and former managing director of Champion Newspaper, Prince Henry Odukomaiya. Though they both belong to different generations but the bond between thm was well pronounced at the ceremony. Maku was at the church service and stayed till the end of programme at Civil Centre on Victoria Island in Lagos.
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Maku, a native of Nasarawa in Nassarawa State may have stepped   up in his career having served as Commissioner, deputy governor and currently a Minister in the present administration.  But he hasn’t forgotten his source that brought him to prominence.  Maku and Odukomaiya’s paths crossed in the late 90s when he had a rare privilege of leaving Standard Newspaper and was hired by the then top shot in Champion Newspaper, Odukomaiya.  The fire of journalism which dwelled in him was further ignited in Maku whose every step was being monitored by his superior.
“The very moment I stepped into Champion Newspaper, my career trajectory took a positive turn. Honestly, from that moment on my career changed. Anything I wrote was personally edited by him. I didn’t know him from anywhere he just developed this love for me even as managing director and editor-in-chief. Each time I had the copy of my write up I would see the red pen. He would correct virtually everything whether it was grammar, spelling and everything. I was amazed at his level of commitment to excellence. He ensured that nothing went into the paper that would lower the standard for the publication. He was also managing the business angle of the paper because he was editor-in-chief in charge of virtually administration.
 “As a reporter, he nurtured me and the labour of that commitment propelled and put me on my toes to be the best because I knew that whatever I wrote would attract the attention of my MD and editor-in-chief.  Mr. Odukomaiya was always ‘walking the talk’ by doing what is right, by showing good example. He was always the last to leave the office and would not go home until the paper went to bed. Again, he used to come to the office unusually early. For us reporters it amazed us that journalism is the most demanding profession.”
Calling Maku a radical writer in his days as a journalist is not an understatement.  This was evident in some of his writings, which sometimes put him or his paper in trouble.
 But he had confidence in his boss.  “When Mr. Odukomaiya posted me to Kano I was still committed to writing. Apart from writing my normal stories, I was always sending analyses and some of the major developments in my area. In fact, I tried to write an opinion at that time. Initially, it would look as some of the opinions were not going to be published because some of them were too radical at that time and given the fact that we were in the military era. Each time I wrote and it didn’t come out I would write more. I didn’t get tired because I would keep sending until it became acceptable to him. Of course, my writing would always be moderated because Prince Odukomaiya would edit and correct. And each time he edits what you write it comes out better because he adds value to it and improves on your judgment. I was very impressed that I had a boss who believed in my ability.”

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