-By FUNMI FALOBI-
Female journalists in Nigeria do have reasons to hold up their head in high esteem following the recent election of Mrs. Funke Egbemode as the substantive president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) at the guild’s 12th annual conference in Port Harcourt
Egbemode, who is the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, New Telegraph Newspaper, becomes the second female journalist after late Mrs. Remi Oyo who was president of the guild between1999 and 2003.
Speaking on her confirmation, the astute journalist who in July was nominated president in acting capacity declared: “For the time I will be in the saddle, the guild will change for the better, will become more visible.”
Expressing her gratitude, she said, “I feel honoured and I feel like that I have just been handed a big responsibility, like a big board that must not drop. I urge members to keep the flag flying. We have done very well as a body. We should continue to do things that will elevate the Guild, whatever will promote journalism, whatever that will promote the body.”
Those who are familiar with her, describe her as a seasoned journalist who has worked in different media houses at the top management level. Egbemode started her career as a staff writer in the defunct Prime People magazine. She moved to The Punch in 1993 where she rose to become the Deputy Features Editor. In 2000, she was appointed Editor of The Post Express on Saturday. She was also the pioneer Saturday Editor, Independent Newspaper; Sunday Editor, The Sun Newspaper and later General Editor of the newspapers, a position she held until her appointment as Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the New Telegraph Newspapers in 2015. She had also served as the Special Adviser (Media) to the former Speaker, House of Representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh.
Born in Ijabe, Osun State, Egbemode attended Baptist Practising Primary School, Iwo and Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. She also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos.
In a congratulatory message, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode described her emergence as an inspiration to other women. “I have no doubt in my mind that the cap fits Mrs. Egbemode. She has a proven track record of excellence in journalism, which has seen her rise through the ranks to the pinnacle of the profession”, the Governor said. “I urge Mrs. Egbemode to see her new assignment as one that comes at a time in our national life where we need the media to be more circumspect and developmental in playing its role as the watchdog of the society,” he added.
The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, described her emergence as “a square peg in a square hole”. He noted, “Mrs. Egbemode is not just a technocrat and media executive of repute, she is a professional par excellence. She is a living example of the saying that ‘what men can do, women can do better.”
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun described her emergence as “a well deserved honour.” He noted: “Anyone who has followed the career path of Egbemode over the years will not be surprised at how far she has come in her chosen profession of journalism.”