Rotimi Sankore: (1968 – 2024) What you need to know about Nigerian veteran journalist

NIGERIAN seasoned journalist Rotimi Sankore breathed his last on Friday, April 12, throwing the nation’s media industry into mourning.

Born in Lagos on June 5, 1968, he plied his journalism trade across the local, continental, and global stage, serving in and leading several groups promoting journalism practice, human rights, good governance, and equality of the human race.

Sankore was a writer, trainer, researcher and leader.

He was the Executive Director/Editor-In-Chief, Africa Centre for Development Journalism, a centre offering strategic communication support to organisations whose goals are to effect social, political and economic change in Africa.

According to Edugist, an education and news platform, until recently, the ace journalist was editorial board chair of Nigeria Info Radio group, part of AIM Media Group, having 13 stations in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, and Onitsha (incorporating Nigeria Info, WaZoBia, Cool FM, and Arewa Radio Stations).

He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Africa Human & Social Development Information, which pioneered the use of data and statistics for journalism and policy advocacy during the Millennium Development Goals/MDGs (2000 – 2015)

Sankore was the pioneer editor in the mid to late 90’s of the Belgium-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) website for African journalists reporting on public accountability, corruption, democracy and rights-related issues.

Edugist further states that the deceased worked with/contributed to publications in The News & Tempo Weekly Magazines (Nigeria) in the early 90’s, Guardian Newspapers (Nigeria); The Guardian UK, Global Index on Censorship, Mail & Guardian (South Africa) the Global New African Magazine, The Journalist (UK), and New African Woman Magazine amongst others.

He also worked as a broadcast journalist hosting The Public Square, a flagship programme on Nigeria Info Radio focusing on democracy, development, governance and policy issues.

His global and Africa-wide development advocacy work includes consultancy and project lead work on partnership projects with UNFPA, UNAIDS, WHO, the Geneva-based Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the Africa Development Bank, and the African Union Commission.

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He was Secretary of the Africa Health, Human & Social Development Parliamentary Network, a network of chairs of parliamentary committees on health, finance, gender & development issues that worked with United Nations agencies and regional bodies of ECOWAS (West Africa), EAC (East Africa), SADC (Southern Africa), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Commission to advance Heads of States & Ministers of Finance commitments on development policy and investment.

He also coordinated the Africa 15 per cent Plus Campaign on Development & Health Financing, which was chaired by South African democracy and rights advocate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.



    The deceased was a feminist/gender equality advocate focusing on the role of equality and women’s rights in sustainable development and democracy.

    In one of its programmes, Report Women gave a brief profile of the deceased. It said Sankore, among other things, worked to represent journalists from minority communities, advocated against racism and women’s rights, trained journalists and advocates, and coordinated the Centre for Research & Development of Rights in Africa (CREDO) for Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights.

    Veteran journalist Ahmed Kadaria Ahmed broke the news of his passing on her Facebook page on Saturday, sending a shock wave across the nation’s media industry.

    Ahmed wrote: “It is with deep sorrow that I announce we have lost one of Nigeria’s finest journalists and excellent all-round human beings, Rotimi Sankore. Rotimi loved Nigeria with a passion that allowed him to be honest about her problems and what needed to be done to solve them.

    “Over the years, Rotimi spent time and energy trying to make sure those in government, policymakers and ordinary Nigerians understand what the numbers show, how they came about, what they mean and how they can help us understand what needs to be done.

    “His work was insightful and significant, and it is his legacy. His death is a big loss. We will miss him. My heartfelt condolences to his daughter and his family.”

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    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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