Journalism in the service of society

Emeka Izeze… Saluting the national Ombudsman


EMEKA Izeze is one more reason 9/11 is special

Until a combination of Saudi-born nihilists and the mighty US media redefined it, 9 September had a special meaning in the Nigerian elite press. It was and remains the birthday of an influential but understated power player.

Happy birthday to Eluemuno Emeka Izeze, the national ombudsman.

Mr. Izeze is the Chairman of the National Media Complaints Commission. Players in the media ecosystem unanimously voted for Izeze to lead this body after many years of headaches and handwringing. His job requires the silky skills of diplomats and the knowledge of journalism, administration, and government.

Emeka Izeze temporarily halted his 40-year sojourn in the media from 1982 to 2022. He left as Managing Director and editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspapers Limited to run many other things, including a new project to equip the media to enhance its watchdog role.

He served in his long career in the media, including as Assistant News editor at The Guardian, Associate Editor at New African Magazine, London, when the military shut down The Guardian and back to The Guardian as News Editor of the Sunday Edition of The Guardian 1985-1988 and editor. He later ran the organisation.

Izeze is a fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. He is a founding partner of the FrontFoot Media Initiative. His team, including Sully Abu and Sonala Olumhense, began with capacity building in the innovative Audit Reporting.

Izeze wears a pleasant mien. Under it is steel. He would ordinarily pass for a diplomat. Emeka Izeze has done this, done that, and knows much more than he lets on.

Deeply religious, Izeze does not wear a billboard for his faith. Scratch, however, and you find a man of intense faith with the pips to prove it.

Izeze’s education reflects current traditions and best practices.

He studied mass communication at the University of Lagos and holds an MSc in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester, England. He was in the Chief Executives Programme at the prestigious Lagos Business School and obtained a certificate in strategic leadership at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, in England. He also undertook a course in leadership and development at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States.

He served on the governing council of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, on the board of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON, now ARCON), as Secretary General of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and as a member of the Vision 2010 Conference Committee. He is also a Fellow of the 21st Century Trust, England, a Board member of West African Institute, Cape Verde, and a Member of NEPAD Business Group.

On this 9/11, please join me in wishing Mr. Emeka Izeze a happy birthday with many happy returns.

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