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#50thAnniversary: PUNCH photo exhibition opens February 28, Soyinka delivers anniversary lecture February 29

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A three-day photo exhibition, as part of events marking the 50th anniversary of PUNCH newspapers, opens in Lagos today (Wednesday), with a former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde, as curator.

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 Saturday, February 24, 2024, with a colorful novelty football match at the Onikan Stadium in Lagos.

Founded in March 1973, PUNCH, Nigeria’s foremost newspaper, clocked 50, 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.

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.

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.

The exhibition will afford PUNCH readers and other Nigerians the opportunity to view the best photographs from its extensive pictorial archive of the biggest news events in the nation’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).

Following the photo exhibition is the distinguished public lecture to be held on Thursday, February 29, at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, will deliver the anniversary lecture. The renowned playwright, novelist, poet and essayist is expected to deconstruct an important issue of national discourse.

Speaking on the photo exhibition, Ayorinde, who is also a former editor of The PUNCH, in a curator’s text 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.”

According to him, the 50 works on display at the 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.”

He 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.”

The activity to round off the anniversary will be happening on Saturday, 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 the organisation.

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