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STANLEY MACEBUH, STYLISH NEWSMAN, DIES AT 67

By NBF News

Stanley Macebuh, stylish newsman, dies at 67
By SOLA BALOGUN
Monday, March 08, 2010
Frontline journalist and former Editorial Board Chairman of The Guardian, Dr Stanley Macebuh, is dead. He died at 4.15 am Sunday at the National Hospital, Abuja, following a brief illness. He was 67 last December 28.

Reacting to his death, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, said Macebuh's exit has shrunk the club of great icons of Nigerian journalism, aaid Adefaye: ' The Nigerian Guild of Editors received the news of Dr Stanley Macebuh's death with grief. Macebuh, a man of style and panache, was remarkable not just for his pioneering roles in the establishment of a good newspaper, like The Guardian and others like the defunct Post Express which first hit the internet in Nigeria, and The Sentinel in Kaduna, he was noted for talent head hunt for quality journalism in Nigeria.'

According to Adefaye, the late Dr Macebuh was able to influence the journalism profession positively as years after leaving journalism, his great contributions remained indelible. ' His cult-like following for journalism of essence continued to influence professional thoughts and processes in Nigeria. His death has further shrunk the club of leaders with carriage and dignity in our environment. May his soul rest in peace.'

For the award winning poet and author, Odia Ofeimun, what has happened to Macebuh was totally bad for the country and for Nigerian journalism. Ofeimun who recollected his alliance with late Dr Stanley Macebuh at The Guardian, however, lamented how the late chairman of Editorial Board of The Guardian suffered stroke in his twilight years, said Ofeimun: ' I even learnt with regret that he'd been ill for sometime and that he was not quite okay in the last few years. I remember very well how The Guardian, which he co-founded in 1983 gave him a platform to set the pace for the movement of intellectualism in Nigerian journalism. I also remember how he ran our Editorial Board in those days-he anchored it with style and elegance, and his niche was synonymous with a robust tradition of serious intellectual engagement as far as journalism is concerned. We will miss people like him who revolutionized the journalism profession.'

Chief Eddie Aderinokun, President of the National League of Veteran Journalists, and former Editor of Weekly Express recalled how the likes of Stanley Macebuh, Patrick Dele Cole, Yemi Ogunbiyi, Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu and others revolutionized Nigerian journalism, said Aderinokun: ' Although their own generation followed ours in the journalism profession, it is on record that they (Macebuh and co) brought style and panache to our profession. Their columns were all well written. Macebuh in particlar helped to create a super structure for the defunct Daily Times. He was an Editorial adviser who used his skill to raise the standard of journalism in Nigeria.'

Also Mr Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director, Institute of Media and Society (IMESO) described the late Macebuh as a great professional and gifted writer. ' He was a great journalist and a fine writer. No doubt he made invaluable contribution to the development of Nigerian journalism. Everyone of us in the profession would miss him. He built the culture of editorial writing as a craft in Nigeria and he was able to exhibit this successfully at The Guardian, which he helped to nurture for many years.'

Born on December 28, 1942, Macebuh attended Government Primary School, Port Harcourt, Ngwa High School Aba, on scholarship, and had his Higher School Certificate at Kings College, Lagos, where he taught for a while immediately after passing out of KC. He studied English at the University of Ibadan (from 1963-66), left Nigeria in 1967 to the University of Sussex, England, where he acquired his DPhil, (Doctor of Philosophy degree) at the age of 26. When the University of California, Berkeley, California, USA began a search for an in-house African Philosopher, during the civil rights years in the US, his doctorial supervisor recommended the young Macebuh and he joined the Berkeley faculty. After two years at Berkeley, Columbia University (New York) and City College of New York, USA, both pitched to have him on their faculties, but had to settle to sharing his services as he began to lecture in both universities at the same time - but taught full-time at City College and part-time at the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University.

Dr. Macebuh left City College in 1977 as a tenured Associate Professor of English to return to Nigeria as he was invited to Daily Times newspaper to be the Editorial Adviser. But his un-cherished return to Nigeria was an annoying breach to him of his ultimate ambition of moving to, and retiring at, Harvard University as a Professor Emeritus. Until he died, he always rued that breach.

From the Daily Times, he left to found what he had intended from day one to be not just a great liberal newspaper but a flagship of Nigerian journalism.

The Guardian newspaper. On leaving The Guardian, and after a sojourn in the business world as an entrepreneur, he still returned to his beloved journalism. But his other efforts at The Sentinel magazine and The Post Express newspaper (both now defunct) were not that successful.

In 1999, he became Senior Special Assistant (Special Duties) to former President Olusegun Obasanjo but later appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, but left within the first year of Obasanjo's second term. Since then, he had lived in semi-retirement doing only consultancy jobs.

Dr. Macebuh became an author in 1973 with the publication of James Baldwin: a critical evaluation of aesthetics within the Black Civil Rights Movement. Another academic work of his, on Jewish American studies, unpublished however, has this curious title The Tyranny of Things. Up till his death, Dr. Macebuh lamented its non-completion, even after he had written over 400 pages.