On Wednesday, two days ago, one of my favorite women in Journalism and an icon that my daughter can look up to when she is born and older, Ijeoma Nwaogwugwu, quietly stepped down as the MD and CEO of Arise TV.
Her picture is attached below with her former boss Nduka.
In her stead, Emmanuel Efeni, Arise TV’s newspaper reviewer and deputy managing director, has been appointed the substantive managing director of ARISE TV.
Before Ijeoma was appointed as the substantive managing director of Arise TV, the TV station was a mess and a sinking ship.
Nduka was struggling with his dream to own a TV cable station.
Staff salaries were not paid on time or at all.
Arise TV staff morale was at an all-time low.
It was during that dark period that Nduka Obiegbena’s friends and close friends rallied around him by promising to advertise their businesses on his fledgling cable station.
In the room that night were Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank, and Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank.
These guys, who are wealthy businessmen, believed in their friend’s dream to democratize and transform our TV industry with Arise TV, so to support that dream, they agreed to place a TV commercial advertising their business on Arise TV.
When you see Zenith Bank, Access Bank, or Dangote Cement commercials playing on Arise TV today, beyond the exposure that these brands get, the ads playing were a decision taken by these elite businessmen that night to support one of their own and the finest golden boy of journalism called Duke Nduka Obiegbena.
So Ijeoma took over an Arise that was at its lowest ebb, an Arise TV that was tottering on the brink of closure, and Ijeoma refined it, made it her own, and took it from the ground up.
Cher once said, “Women are the real architects of society.” And more than anything else, Ijeoma story with Arise TV exemplifies this.
One thing I love about her is that she never craved limelight.
She never cared about the headline or being called a celebrity.
Not many people knew who she was.
She preferred to be under the radar, building what is today Nigeria’s biggest TV by viewership.
The fact that Arise TV is the toast of Nigerians is simply because of her talent and ingenuity.
She built Arise TV and made it what it is today; she can brag about that.
She is a pro-PDP member and one of the most passionate Atiku supporters that I know, but her bias did not reflect in the organization that she led.
She was fair to every person and gave equal access to all the political players.
Arise TV is her legacy and as she leaves her baby.
She would look back, with a smile on her face, proud of what she had built, but most importantly, she reminded us with her story why we need to open the door for more women who want to be the next Ijeoma.
Ijeoma has opened doors for younger women in journalism to “aim for the sky.”
She gave many younger women, in journalism their first break from Ojay okpe to Adefemi Akinsanya to Salami Johnson.
Those were her protege and she gave them the wing to fly.
With her story , she is reminding the younger generation of women that it is not enough to be a woman; you can succeed without losing your self, your essence, and your head as a woman in a patriarchal society like ours.
No doubt about this, she came, saw, and conquered.
What ever the issue that made her to leave, which she chose to keep private, though I was told by a source that she fell out with her chairman and boss, who is Nduka Obiegbena, that made her to resign as the man demanded for it, that for me is not enough to diminish her legacy, to blight her remarkable career, or to reduce the greatness that she carried on her shoulder.
One thing is certain and cannot be taken away from her:
History will be forever kind to her.