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PUNCH: Ex-Lagos Commissioner to curate 50th anniversary photos

A former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde, will on Wednesday be in charge of curation at the three-day photo exhibition being part of activities to mark PUNCH’s 50th anniversary.

The photo exhibition, showcasing iconic photographs from PUNCH’s rich archive, comes next after the ceremonies marking the newspaper house’s golden jubilee kicked off on February 24, 2024 with a colourful novelty match at the Onikan Stadium in Lagos.

Founded in March 1973, PUNCH, Nigeria’s foremost newspaper, clocked 50 on March 18 last year but its Board of Directors moved the 50th anniversary celebration to this year because the anniversary month fell within an election month and year.

At the three-day photo-story exhibition holding at the Alliance Francaise de Lagos/Mike Adenuga Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria’s most widely-read newspaper will be showcasing 100 of its iconic photographs that tell the rich history of Nigeria and her people, as well as how the media house has been a major part of the country’s history.

Some of the photos will show action moments of the late Afrobeat icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, as well as the late human rights activist and lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi (SAN).

Ayorinde, who is also a former editor of The PUNCH, in a statement on the event, titled: “Timeless Lenses: A Newspaper’s Visual Journey Through Nigeria,” said the exciting journey into the heart of PUNCH Nigeria Limited would naturally commence from Mangoro, the suburban Lagos area from where it started operation, and end up at Magboro, a burgeoning new development area in Ogun State.

Ayorinde said: “Between its birthplace where it spent 36 years and the Magboro permanent site, which is its befitting and edifying complex of the last 16 years, is where PUNCH Newspaper’s exhilarating journey through Nigeria of the last 50 years was nurtured. For a good reason, both locations play an important role in telling the visually-engaging story of this dominant quality newspaper, which is celebrating its 50 years of operation.”

He stressed that the commemorative photographic exhibition would therefore capture various snapshots of history that PUNCH had served its numerous readers as a socially conscious and people-oriented news organisation over the years.

According to him, the 50 works on display at this exhibition, along with several others that can be viewed on PUNCH website, underscore the newspaper’s enchanting connect to social relevance topically and how photo news serves as an integral part of good journalism.

Ayorinde added: “At the centre of this collection are recurrent issues in Nigeria of the past half a century; the variegated emotions constantly on display showing on the one hand, the mood of the nation, and on the other hand, how PUNCH attaches importance to how they are captured.”

He said from the late Anikulapo-Kuti to Fawehinmi or from the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, to politician and activist, Omoyele Sowore, and even from political power brokers like the late billionaire businessman, Chief MKO Abiola, and President Bola Tinubu, “all of PUNCH titles have feasted on issues affecting personalities with huge following and the circles they courted”.

PUNCH’s anniversary is being marked with the 40th anniversary of the passing of its founding Chairman, the late Chief James Olubunmi Aboderin, who died on February 28, 1984 at the age of 50.

The high point of the weeklong activities of the anniversary will be the distinguished public lecture to be held on February 29 at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos. 

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The lecture is expected to play host to leaders from the public and private sectors. 

The lecture will be graced by Professor Soyinka among other eminent thought leaders.

The activities will continue on March 2, 2024 at Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, where PUNCH will host a black-tie dinner to acknowledge the contributions of its stakeholders to the success of our organisation.

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