The undisputable legend of Nigerian Journalism

Dr. Reuben Abati

Reuben Adeleye Abati (born 7 November 1965) is a Nigerian journalist, politician, television anchor, and newspaper columnist. He was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Deputy Governorship candidate in Ogun State for the 2019 Gubernatorial election. Abati served as the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria from 2011 to 2015. Prior to that, he was a newspaper columnist and the chairman of the editorial board of the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian from 2001 to 2011. He holds a PhD in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan and a bachelor’s degree in Law from Lagos State University. He is also a Senior Research Associate with the Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for Cultural Studies and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

BACKGROUND Abati graduated from the University of Calabar, Nigeria, in 1985. He later studied at the University of Ibadan as a University Scholar. He holds a PhD in Theatre Arts, specializing in Dramatic Literature, Theory and Criticism from the University of Ibadan (1990); a bachelor’s degree in Law from Lagos State University, Lagos (1999); a professional training certificate in journalism from the College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, United States (1996–97); and a Certificate in Management and Leadership from the Said Business School, University of Oxford (2015).

While serving as the Chairman of the Editorial Board and Editorial Page Editor of The Guardian Newspapers for over ten years, and later as the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity and Official Spokesperson in the Nigerian Presidency (2011-2015), he was responsible for a wide range of tasks including policy articulation and execution, determining editorial direction, crisis management, media management, communications, and team management. Between 2000 and 2011, Abati was a member and co-presenter of the television discussion program, Patito’s Gang, founded by Professor Pat Utomi. He also served as a member of the Governing Council of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, from 2003 to 2007, and was a member of the Board of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund from 2007 to 2011.

Reuben Abati has been writing for the Nigerian press since 1985, contributing as an editor and columnist to many publications, covering both mainstream media and the softer genres of romance and lifestyle magazines. He is well known for his book reviews, essays, and commentaries on national, regional, and international affairs. His writings have appeared in both local and international periodicals and academic journals. Before working in government, Abati was the Chairman of the Editorial Board at The Guardian Newspapers, a privately owned, independent Nigerian newspaper, from 2000 to 2011. He also served at The Guardian as the Editorial Page Editor and as a columnist, writing two columns per week. Abati is a recipient of numerous prizes for journalistic excellence, including the Hadj Alade Odunewu/Diamond Award for Media Excellence Prize for Informed Commentary (which he has won four times), the Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year (1998), the Fletcher Challenge Commonwealth Prize for Opinion Writing (2000), the Freedom Peace Prize for Journalism (2010), and The Red Media Africa Living Legends Industry Award (2015).

He began his career as a university teacher, teaching courses in Dramaturgy, Theory and Criticism, Special Author Studies, and the Sociology of Literature at the Olabisi Onabajo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, before venturing into other fields of interest. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, and the Nigerian Guild of Editors. He is also a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, a Fellow of the 21st Century Trust, a Fellow of The Nigeria Leadership Initiative, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters.

In 2011, he was appointed as the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, and Official Spokesperson to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. In that capacity, he was responsible for managing the President’s media office, media relations, and leading the Presidency’s public communications team. After his tenure in government, Reuben Abati returned to journalism, writing his regular two columns in The Guardian newspaper (Fridays and Sundays). He subsequently moved to ThisDay newspaper, where he now writes a Tuesday column titled “TuesdayWithReubenAbati.” He is an Anchor with Arise News on the program “The Morning Show,” alongside Ojy Okpe. He also runs a website: and regularly posts on Instagram and Twitter as @abati1990. He is actively engaged as a consultant on media and public policy issues.

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