NEPTUNE Prime: The making of a media conglomerate

If you are wondering about the unusualness of the word NEPTUNE as the name of a newspaper/magazine, you are not alone; I was too. No, it is not the Roman god of the sea, nor is it blue, brine, deep, ocean, sea. There is neither sea nor ocean in the North East where the publisher, Dr Hassan Gimba, hails from and which the medium is named after. NEPTUNE is an acronym for News, Entertainment, People (Politics), Tradition and Unity of the North East. So, from the beginning, the publisher carved a niche for the paper and himself, then other things followed.

From that creative inner recess that first debuted in 2017 as an online newspaper, came forth a new baby birthed in the colourful, and aesthetically exhilarating NEPTUNE PRIME magazine. Its rich array of stories betrays its novelty in the congested media market, especially the conventional print copy. And its first interview with Mai Mala Buni, the executive governor of Yobe state, and a senator from the same axis further expatiated on where the medium stands.

A flip through the magazine appears a journey into political reengineering as the highly popular governor and caretaker chairman of the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, (I call him governor-general) spoke copiously and summed up his thoughts in the lead story titled: “Why Disintegration of Nigeria is Not Feasible” and another interview with Senator Bomoi who averred that “Bad Economy is a Major Cause of Insecurity and banditry. I couldn’t agree more. Not forgetting a piece from Ooni of Ife, HRM Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and yet another about the irrepressible lawyer cum activist, Femi Falana SAN.

There are other interesting materials on the North East Development Commission, NEDC, and a feature on a Kannywood star, Fati Isa. Other sections are Traditional Breakers, Barrier Pushers and Down Memory Lane. Under entertainment, there is Ofege: Iconic Nigerian Boy Band of the 70s, Focus on Fati Bensouda, the Chief ICC Prosecutor, and food matters like Tuwon Dalayi, Margi special; and sports such as the Euro 2020, hockey, tourism and historical excursion, thereby completing the tripod on which journalism is rooted— to inform/enlighten, educate, entertain; a total package it is.

The choice of MMB to grace the cover is both significant and symbolic. So, while the focus is on the North East, Hassan Gimba’s patriotism as a believer in a united Nigeria with diverse groups, also reflected in the paper’s national outlook.

The media market is crowded and expensive, no doubt, such that only the strong and will-hearted can venture into it, but the publisher found a need in the region he comes from and fulfilled it. He was also innovative about the initiative, having created awareness around the brand, that started publishing in 2017 as an online newspaper. The debut of NEPTUNE PRIME is proof that there is a ray of hope in the media business if a bit of creativity, innovation and unusualness are brought to bear at conception.
As the publisher himself told me, “the intention is to bring to the fore the problems and prospects of the region (North East), in order to attract to it, local and international attention in terms of investment. Being number one in the country in all indices of human development but from the rear, with no mouthpiece, our intention is to be its mouthpiece and authoritative window into the North East. However, as an internet-based newspaper with a global reach, we report universally”, Gimba said.

I have no doubt about Hassan Gimba’s capacity to make NEPTUNE PRIME the authentic voice of the North East, nay Nigeria, and I’m confident the magazine will go places, and go far as well, just as its online version has survived all odds to thrive. The magazine will take its prime place in the media market, because the publisher is imbued with a never-say-die spirit and always committed to whatever he sets out to do.
Together with another old and experienced hand in the industry as editor, Hajiya Amina Alhassan, leading the editorial team, NEPTUNE PRIME is poised for greatness.