Babatunde Jose is a Nigeria journalist who was managing director of the Daily Times of Nigeria during the Nigerian Civil War. At the time, the paper and its editorial staff had battles with the military government of Nigeria on issues bordering on press freedom. (1) Among his colleagues working for the times included Peter Enahoro, who later left Daily Times, Dele Cole and Doyin Aboaba. (2)
Babatunde Jose has often lamented the situation where independence, an idea vigorously championed by the newspapers has not improved the conditions of press freedom in Nigeria.
Jose has served on many commissions, board and ventures including serving as the first chairman of the Nigerian Television Network and was a member of the Council of Commonwealth Press Union and the International Press Institute. He was also on the board of the Nigerian Building Society which later became the Federal Mortgage Bank and owned some real estate and trading ventures under his Irede brand. He also chaired a commission which saw through the change from right hand driving to left hand.
Babatunde Jose was born on December 13, 1925 to the family of Ajaratu Gborigi and Amusa Brimoh Jose. His great grandfather was an African immigrant from Brazil and his grandfather, Imam Braimoh Jose was a member of the Royal West African Frontier Force.
Jose attended Government School, Lagos, Methodist School, and St Saviour's High School both in Lagos. In 1941, at the age of 16, he joined the staff of the Nigerian Daily Times as a technical trainee and compositor, this was a time when reporters faced arduous tasks as telecommunications systems were poor and transportation was weak as reporters use the foot transport system. He was not paid in his first job but decided to take the employment as a training ground in journalism. A few years later, he briefly worked with the Daily Comet of Zik group as a junior reporter and the Daily Service as a reporter and sub-editor. In 1948, he went back to the Times and became a reporter and industrial and political correspondent. At the Times, he gained the trust of its chairman Cecil King, who made him assistant editor (news), regional representative for the East and later for the North in 1954 and 1956 respectively. In 1957, he became an editor with the Daily Times and managing director in 1967. As editor of the Times, he inherited a strong and focused editorial and production team and he himself worked on improving the editorial and production quality even further, prolonging the strength and appeal of the Times. He created the foundation of recruiting graduates into the profession unlike before when GCE was the minimum requirement and expanded the number of titles published by the times from 2 to 13 including magazines such as Spear, Home Studies and Woman's world. He also had the fortune of being the first Nigerian to head a publicly quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange when the Daily Times went through indigenization and the stock was sold to the public.
After leaving the times in 1975, he served in various positions including chairman of the Nigerian Television Authority in 1975 and president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in 1987.
He served as the president of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam from 1967-1973.
- (1)Ndaeyo Uko. Romancing the Gun: The Press as Promoter of Military Rule. p 79.
- (2)Dhyana Ziegler, Molefi Kete Asante. Thunder and Silence: The Mass Media in Africa. p 92.
- Dayo Duyile. Makers of the Nigerian Press.......... p 313