The Commoners newspaper is one of the Ajegunle popular grassroots newspaper and Badagry areas of Lagos State. The Commoners newspaper was established on June 10 1993 by Jim Suleman as the sole publisher of the paper. The Commoners newspaper started with a name as Boundary news and later suggested by one of the founding writers as the crusader later changed to the Commoners newspaper as an Ajegunle monthly tabloid. As a young man growing up then in a slum city of Ajegunle, he had a distinctive passion for the pen-push profession but was focused on sports especially football. He played active football for many years where some of the big time footballers were his intimate friends. He was one of those footballers that played at the Navy barracks and others. His foray into community journalism was not a mistake but his intimate passion for the profession made him stood out from his aged peer group in Ajegunle and Badagry areas of Lagos State. He also played active politics to some extent at the local level but always using the pen to fight for justice.
He started his journalism profession when the profession was mainly made for church rats. He went into the profession to report his conscience not for profit making. He was a dogged fight of the pen for total liberation of Ajegunle people to the outside world. His sole passion catapulted him to the limelight of community journalism in Nigeria. He used his community experience to grow young men and women into the profession with funny write ups where some saw him as a mediocre writer but he knew where he was going and never bothered about the third party criticism. According to him, the Commoners newspaper started from his bedroom where many envisaged that he was joking with his precious life. The Commoners newspaper is now a household name in Ajegunle and Badagry areas of Lagos State. As a trained and seasoned journalist, he saw the vision in Ajegunle before others with creative passion. He was able to register his company with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
In Lagos State House of Assembly, the Commoners newspaper is widely circulated and read among honorable members and the executive arm of Lagos State government on monthly basis with a colorful and digital print. Few years ago, when my uncle was always buying the Commoners newspaper on monthly basis, I was a keen reader of the paper with funny jokes that were so fixated that made me persuaded my uncle not to miss the Commoners newspaper on monthly publication. I was an avid reader of the paper while the Commoners publisher was always coming to our house at No 45 Olayinka Street Ajegunle to supply the paper by himself. Then, he did many of the write ups by himself because he was having paltry resources to employ staffers. Ajeromi- Ifelodun was still under Ojo local government area when the Commoners newspaper started its publication. Jim Suleman was a man with determination and vision that saw the journalistic profession at the 90s that would bear positive fruit in the 21st century. He was able to overcome the shackles of poverty. He wholeheartedly preserved with creative mindset to grow the Commoners newspaper to the zenith. He had several destructive criticisms from the Ajegunle people where many described him as a community journalist but never bothered while only few believed in his dream. Today, those that believe in his tall dream at the preliminary stage are now part of his meteoric rise in the fourth estate profession in Nigeria. Even to the extent that many criticized the name the Commoners newspaper. Many critically assumed that the Commoners newspaper is meant for only the common people but has produced great political and religious leaders in Nigeria. Today the Commoners newspaper has able to employ sizeable staffers and with a modest office situated at Ajeromi shopping plaza. Jim Suleman is a very articulated writer with distinction.
In Nigeria today, nobody, started his or her apex career or vision from the top but from the community basis. Even at his weakness, he never allowed his golden dream to die off. He knew what worked for him and he pursued it to the logical conclusion to have a positive result. Jim Suleman is from the Edo- speaking state but grew and bred up in Yoruba land especially Lagos State where you can hardly differentiate him as an Edo man. The Commoners newspaper started using the community pen to promote small fishes that are now big fishes in the both political and economic landscape. The Commoners newspaper is the mouth-piece of Ajegunle community and one the most recognized community newspapers in Lagos State. The Commoners covers all political and human angles including sports, security, entertainment and others. It is not sentimental community newspaper but a newspaper that reports the truth. It is a newspaper that is easy to read without too many grammars. The Commoners newspaper has given awards to credible people that started their careers from Ajegunle but today they are known all over the world. The likes of Hon Victor Afam Ogene, the present Honorable member of House of Representatives, Deputy media and publicity, Hon Taiwo Adenekan, present Honorable member of the House of Representatives, Hon Kolawole Taiwo, Deputy speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Dadday Showkey(a.k.a Asiemo John) music star, Hon Kalejaiye, a former member of Lagos State executive arm of government and a strong ACN member in Lagos State, Hon Kamal Bayewu, the present chairman of Ajeromi- Ifelodun, Hon Adewale Adeogun, Education secretary of Ajeromi- Ifelodun, Professor- Bishop Leonard Umunna, Prophet Godday Akhagbe,Dr Chima Okereke, Hon Hasssan, Hon Kareem Lamide, Ifelodun councilor, Baba Fryo, Daddy Fresh, Marvelous Beje and just mention but a few. Jim Suleman is a media consultant to highly placed traditional rulers in Lagos State because of his growing legacy and relationship he used the Commoners newspaper to establish. His journalism integrity has made the Commoners to grow beyond Ajegunle level.
Again, the Commoners newspaper is one of the sought after Ajegunle newspapers that has created a single name of bringing the news to the doorstep of thecommon people. The Commoners newspaper is not a newspaper for common writers but writers with distinctive future For many years of the Commoners newspaper formation, he has able to pull together great writers of the 21st century of knowledge of the highest order like Gilbert Okezie of the Sun, Victor Imuka, media consultant, Abayomi Peters, a brilliant columnist, Mac- Anthony, CEO peakline sports. Okey, a great media consultant and others. The Commoners newspaper is a training ground for great thinkers of the pen- push profession. Apart from the Commoners newspaper that has made great name, we still have some young other community newspapers that are gradually coming into the limelight and greatly doing well to support the noble vision of the Commoners newspaper publisher, like Inside and neighbor newspaper, the reality and others.
Finally, newspaper publication is not meant for people that have desire for physical cash but people with innovative passion like my great mentor, Jim Suleman. Jim Suleman has credibly done well to promote Ajegunle and Badagry news as a last resort to common people. Jim Suleman is an ex- ordinary publisher with a difference. He is humble man with no sentiment but wants perfect publication with determination to bring the rightful news to the stand with no fear of bullying. He has biblically fulfilled his God-given vision in all ramifications. He is one of the creative publishers in Lagos State but radical in terms of searching for the truth. He is a great field writer to the core. The Commoners at 20 is the celebration of great Ajegunle titans and Jim Suleman's achievements in life. With due respect, Jim Suleman has paid his noble price and he needed to be celebrated at 20. He has able to survive in the newsstand for 20 years in spite of the Nigeria's economy situation with bad political leaders. Jim Suleman is one of the best community journalists in Nigeria. He is a mentor of mentors, writer of writers, father of fathers, history maker of makers, evaluator of evaluators and others. God bless you for promoting Ajegunle community journalism to the Promised Land. More power to your elbow and prosperous years of the Commoners newspaper publication.
By Godday Odidi,
Ajegunle - Apapa, Lagos. 08058124798.
Congratulations to the newspaper for their achievements so far with their news stories.
Big congratulations to them. Many more years to come.
The journey so far has not been what we expect. It really can be better than what we are getting nw