One of Nigeria’s most celebrated Librarians, Nyaknno Osso, a former Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the brain behind the highly acclaimed and award-winning Newswatch Who is Who In Nigeria, has created Blerf’s Who Is Who In Nigeria, an online version. Last week, The Abuja Inquirer, visited the very hardworking Mr Osso in his expansive suite of offices in Gwarinpa, Abuja for a brief chat. DAN AKPOVWA reports.
For people who want to do research on Leading Nigerians, who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field, the place to go is BLERF’S WHO IS WHO IN NIGERIA, available online only. Yes, you can as well “Google it”, but while Google may give you a whole lot of materials, BLERF’S WHO IS WHO IN NIGERIA, provides just the concise information you need, for the research that you require. The thoroughness in the details, will, as they say, blow your mind. It’s a defining compendium, boasting of about 30,000 entries. According to its promoters, the publication is “focused on influential, famous, great, outstanding, renowned, eminent and celebrated Nigerians”
BLERF stands for Biographical Legacy & Research Foundation, and Mr. Nyaknno Osso is its Chief Executive and Editor In Chief. Mr. Osso is widely acknowledged as the pioneer of mass media research and documentation in Nigeria. In 1990, he published the highly acclaimed Newswatch Who’s Who in Nigeria, the first-ever authoritative, comprehensive and award-winning Biographical Encyclopedia. He is a graduate of the University of Ibadan (Library School, Class of 1975), and specializes in Journalism Librarianship and has deep international exposure in Journalism, information and knowledge management. Between 1999 and 2007, he served as the Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Library, Research and Documentation. Thereafter, he was invited to Abeokuta, Ogun state to serve as the pioneer Executive Secretary/Project Coordinator of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation (OOPLF). He disengaged from OOPLF in March 2013.
The BLERF’S WHO IS WHO IN NIGERIA is Mr. Osso’s brainchild. When The Abuja Inquirer visited his office in Gwarinpa, Abuja last week, a very proud and fulfilled Mr. Osso, spoke about his latest work. “This is easily the richest Nigerian biographical databank for scholars, researchers, historians, students, diplomats, journalists and all those seeking information about distinguished Nigerian personalities. It is intellectually backed up by a Board of Editorial Advisors, made up of renowned Historians, Journalists and writers” Mr. Osso says, adding that “it is a product of more than ten years of painstaking research. It is indeed a celebration of lives, times and achievements. I want to also add that it a timeless work in progress as we continue to update entries to accommodate new information as they occur. This is a legacy project. Every great nation – America, England, Canada, France, China, Russia has its own online ‘Who is Who’, and BLERF’S is Nigeria’s version of this National Heritage”. You can visit www.blerf.org for more details.
Mr. Osso started his career in the public service as the Principal Librarian/ Researcher, Cross River State Newspapers Corporation, publishers of The Nigerian Chronicle, from 1975 to 1984, before joining the management team of Newswatch Magazine in 1984 as the first senior management staff and rose to the rank of Chief of Research. On disengagement in 1991, he was appointed Consultant Librarian by Newswatch. He later founded OSSDATA Services Limited, an information management and marketing organization which specialises in Information, Library, Archival and Media research management. From 1999 to 2007, he served as the Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Library, Research and Documentation.
Mr. Osso says they plan to have a print version of BLERF’S WHO IS WHO IN NIGERIA in the near future.