• Column No.6: Everything old is new again

    Column no 6 everything old is new again - nigeria newspapers online
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    Because I fancy myself as being a bit of a futurist, “everything old is new again,” a famous quote from Jonathan Swift which has been revived many times since it was written in the 1700s, is one of my all-time favourites. Swift, who is famous for being the author of the classic ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ also was the editor of The Examiner, a Tory newspaper of early 1700s England. One of the reasons for my remembrance is, simply, what you hold in your hands: the very first edition of Weekend Trust. I write this with no idea how it will look like, but I am sure it will be stunning. Interestingly, over two decades ago, it was known as Weekly Trust, and it served the entire weekend, just as this will now. From the buzz and energy I am getting, it promises to do a great job of filling up the whole weekend. Everything old, as they say, is new again.

    Now, don’t fret about your favourite column though. I am not re-imagining it, or even repositioning it. It might look new-ish to you, but I guarantee it will have the same character, direction, and zing you have come to love. This reminds me, though, of a postscript I added at the end of the very first installment of this column, some four years ago. In it I discussed how I settled for the column’s name, and gave some insight into how I write. Here’s a partial reproduction:

    “Starting a brand-new column isn’t as easy as you’re made to believe. Mavens like my bosses Mahmud Jega, Aisha Umar-Yusuf, Tunde Asaju, and Bala Muhammad, do it so effortlessly, week after week, so you can excuse my impression that it’s a cake walk. But it’s not, as I learnt the hard way. Topics are easy, yes, in a country like ours with tons of material to mine from. But starting from scratch meant another thing was needed: a title. I pondered for weeks (yes, weeks), yet nothing came up. ‘Jagged Little Pill’ (you know, the type that’s hard to swallow) was already taken by Canadian rock star Alanis Morissette. The writer Toni Kan suggested ‘Weekend with Baba Aminu’, but I told him it sounds too much like a 70s Lagos magazine offering. Many other titles popped up, all sounding only somewhat interesting, or bought from Kasuwan Barci in Kaduna. At the eleventh hour, after brainstorming sessions on the phone with Managing Editor Nasiru Abubakar, as well as fellow newbie columnist Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, I settled for the simple-sounding ‘Column No.6’, because it’s the sixth column in the Daily Trust’s Saturday edition. So, there you have it. By God’s grace, next week I’ll be here getting stuff off my chest, and hopefully you’ll be here for the ride. Even if it’s a bumpy road – like Nigerian ones tend to be.”

    Times have changed since then, and many columnists have come and gone since, but one thing remains: The need for a balanced and fair pair of eyes to train sights issues of all kinds in Nigeria, and even beyond. And that is what this column will continue to strive to do, week in, week out. While it is a labour of love to write, love’s labours are lost on a landscape like ours where it seems public commentators are shouting themselves hoarse to no avail, over the same issues over and over again. But comment we will, even if it means occasionally airing views which differ from ours. Like the gentleman (I feel hard-pressed to use the term ‘gentleman’ though) who rained insults on me because I dared criticize President Tinubu and FCT minister Nyesom Wike. Needless to say, the colourful words have since bounced off me like water on a duck.

    If you are the type of reader who chafes when truth is told to power which you pander to, please thumb past the page this column will regularly be on. If you are an overzealous political party guy, a blind loyalist to government officials, or an unhinged individual of any kind, please flip past, because this column is not written for your comfort. Do not get me wrong, there will be a dizzying array of topics as the days go by, as varied as my interests are, so maybe there will be something for everyone. I will talk about current affairs, politics, governance, social norms and values, popular culture, art, history, and reviews of movies, books and even music, etc. Like I said, a variety of stuff. One thing I can guarantee is that you will not be bored, because your ‘number six’ will be exercised. If you doubt it, pick up a copy of Weekend Trust every weekend and see.

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