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Veteran Journalist, Rotimi Sankore Dies at 56, after Battle with Cancer  

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By Uche Amunike

Nigeria’s media industry has been thrown into deep mourning with the passing of former Editor-in-Chief of the Africa Centre for Development Journalism, Rotimi Sankore, who has been announced dead on April 12, at the age of 56 after his battle with cancer.

News of his death was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer of RadioNow 95.3FM, Kadaria Ahmed in a post on her verified Facebook page on Saturday, where she described Sankore as one of the country’s finest journalists and exceptional individual who is known to address the country’s challenges with great passion.

Her words: ‘It is with deep sorrow that I announce we have lost one of Nigeria’s finest journalists and excellent all-round human beings, Rotimi Sankore. Rotimi loved Nigeria with a passion that allowed him to be honest about her problems and what needed to be done to solve them.’

‘He was an expert data journalist, the best at what he does. He could analyse data like no one else I knew using it to understand events but also project trajectories, especially avoidable ones.’

She continued: ‘Over the years, Rotimi spent time and energy trying to make sure those in government, policymakers and ordinary Nigerians understand what the numbers show, how they came about, what they mean and how they can help us understand what needs to be done.’

‘His work was insightful and significant, and it is his legacy. His death is a big loss. We will miss him. My heartfelt condolences to his daughter and his family.’

According to Ahmed, Rotimi Sankore made contributions that went beyond the shores of journalism, as he was also an expert in development, policy and human rights advocacy.

As Editor-in-Chief of the Africa Center for Development Journalism, he provided communication support to groups that strive for social, political and economic change in the African continent.

The late Rotimi Sankore was Editorial Board Chairman of the Nigeria Info Radio Group which was a part of the AIM Media Group that oversaw 13 stations across Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Onitsha, While incorporating Nigeria Info, WaZoBia FM, Cool FM and AREWA Radio Stations.

The African Human and Social Development Information, where he was founding Editor-in-Chief, introduced the use of data and statistics for journalism and policy advocacy during the Millennium Development Goals/MDGs between 2000 and 2015.

He was also the editor of the Belgium-based International Federation of Journalists (IFG) website for African journalists which reported on public accountability, democracy, corruption and issues related to human rights.

On the global stage, Rotimi Sankore’s development advocacy work also included consulting with partnership projects involving the WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, the African Union Commission, the Africa Development Bank, the Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the African Union Commission, etc

He also served as the Secretary of the Africa Health, Human and Social Development Parliamentary Network, a network of Chairs of parliamentary committees on finance, health, including gender and development issues that worked with United Nations agencies and original bodies of ECOWAS (West Africa), SADC (South Africa), EAC (South Africa), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Union Commission to advance Heads of States and Ministers of Finance commitments on development policy and investment.

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