THE SIX MILITARY GOVERNORS Voices of History by Dan Agbese
The style adopted by Dan Agbese in his compilation of the interviews he conducted in The Six Military Governors, Voices of History: Reminiscences of a Reporter (MayFive Media Limited, Lagos; 2018) as a rookie is novel.
His tributes to both the institution, New Nigerian newspapers, and its editor, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, who discovered and mentored him shows his appreciation for the way and manner these two jointly “conspired” to make him the celebrated writer of books on the profession he hardly knew about before they tapped him.
The author traces the history of New Nigerian newspapers into which Mallam Adamu Ciroma, administrator-turned-editor, recruited him.
Agbese had no previous training in journalism and saw his entry as a stint, from which he would exit within a reasonably short period of time.
That was on July 6, 1967. He is still in the profession and sees the publication of this book as a means of showing his gratitude to the profession, to the organization and to Ciroma who exposed and trained him.
Ciroma made a journalist out of a trained teacher, and Dan will never forget him for making him believe in himself. Dan recalled: “Ciroma was one of the most broad-minded Nigerians it has ever been my luck and privilege to work with. He was a kind and patient man. And he always showed a tremendous understanding of, you guessed it, my non-stellar performance as I struggled to learn the ropes. I could not have had a greater and more kindly mentor; I followed his guidance every inch of the way.”
One of the challenges Mallam Adamu threw at Dan on assumption of duty has resulted in the publication of this book.
Within three months of his assumption, Mallam Adamu threw the challenge to Dan to prepare himself to interview the six newly appointed military governors of the six states carved out of the former Northern Region.
Dan portrayed all the six military governors he interviewed as simple, humble and committed to developing the states the Head of State, Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon had put under their charge.
Gowon, it appeared, had known personally or shared similar perspectives (by attending the same secondary school) with over 60 per cent of them.