BY FEMI AKINTUNDE JOHNSON
The uninitiated may ask, why would you want to celebrate a librarian? For those who understand the business of the media, great stories, reports and features are particularly outstanding because of the quality and breadth of their ‘backgrounding,’ which is a product of painstaking research, efficient and robust archival and retrieval system and rich, accessible library administration; made possible by a profoundly comprehensive and robust library.
Now, there’s hardly anyone better, more driven, intellectually astute and more punctilious than the man in charge of Newswatch research and library services from inception, Nyaknno Osso. The man behind the path-finding and award-winning biographical encyclopedia: the Newswatch Who’s Who in Nigeria, has carved a virtually unassailable niche for himself in octopal library services, a reputation that, I suspect, has scarcely been rivaled.
From the University of Ibadan Library in 1971; to the Nigerian Chronicle in Calabar in 1975; and to Newswatch magazine in Lagos, in 1984; Osso ended up with President Olusegun Obasanjo—first in the Farm House at Otta and later as Special Assistant on Library, Research and Documentation, for eight years at the Presidential Villa.
Out of the Villa, OBJ immediately appointed him Executive Secretary/Project Coordinator of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation—a dream project which Osso had nurtured for several years. He executed the function to completion till 2013.
He withdrew from this position in March, 2013 to focus on his own business. Today, the foremost library connoisseur sits as chief executive officer of BLERF—Biographical Legacy & Research Foundation. In 2018, the restless documentarian launched BLERF Who’s Who in Nigeria—from 1861 to 2021 (www.blerf.org). This year, he unveiled BLERF Women Who’s Who in Nigeria (womennigeria.org) to celebrate “determined, fearless, decisive, outstanding women of Nigeria.”
Today, Nyaknnoabasi erects two milestones. He celebrates 50 years of a remarkable ‘love affair’ with library and information management; and his 67th birthday. He has blossomed, widely and fluorescently, to become the living legend of Nigerian media/private library infrastructure!