The Daily Times is a newspaper with headquarters in Lagos. At its peak, in the 1970s, it was one of the most successful locally owned businesses in Africa.
The paper went into decline after it was purchased by the government in 1975. What was left was sold to a private investor in 2004. Folio Communications Limited officially assumed the ownership of the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc on September 3, 2004 after a colorful handover ceremony that was televised. The company was not and is still not a consortium. It is a private limited-liability company.
The printing of the flagship title The Daily Times resumed after the assumption of ownership in earnest from 2006 until 2009, partially to satisfy the embedded requirements contingent upon the Enterprise Sale Deed while company turnaround and restructuring continued.
Although the flagship Daily Times returned to the streets in December 2014, further efforts have been made towards the return of the other viable titles, especially the Sunday Times, the Weekend Times and the Lagos Weekend, to the streets.
The Nigerian Printing and Publishing Company, publishers of the Daily Times was incorporated on 6 June 1925 by Richard Barrow, Adeyemo Alakija, V.R. Osborne and others. They printed the first copy as The Nigerian Dailytimes on 1 June 1926. Alakija was an African barrister, while the other founders represented European interest groups in the Lagos chamber of commerce. The company resolved to acquire the African Messenger published by Ernest Ikoli and takeover the publication of Reuters news bulletin to service the business community. Ernest Ikoli was the first editor and Alakija was Chairman of the Board. Alakija and Ikoli became involved with the nationalist Nigerian Youth Movement. Later, Ikoli became a member of the Legislative Council in 1941, while Alakija was appointed to the governor’s Executive Council in 1943.
In 1928, the new publication began to gain advertising income from foreign firms operating within the country and in the next ten years arise to dominate advertising by expatriate firms. The paper adopted a policy of detachment from local political issues opting to focus on supporting issues about Nigerian progress. In the early 1930s the pan-Africanist Dusé Mohamed Ali joined the paper as a journalist at the age of 65. He later moved on to found the influential journal The Comet. The Dailytimes became a popular voice of the nationalist movement. Education was one of the first issues. In a 1934 editorial the paper opposed Native Authority schools, which they saw as controlled by stooges of the colonial administration, and advocated independent mission schools. The first tertiary institute in the colony, Yaba College, opened in January 1934. The Nigerian Dailytimes described it as “a grand idea, and imposing structure, resting on rather weak foundations … we wish to declare emphatically that this country will not be satisfied with an inferior brand [of education] such as the present scheme seems to threaten”.
R. B. Paul, a Liverpool businessman, who had interest in West Africa magazine and later the West African Review bought the paper in 1935. When Nnamdi Azikiwe (“Zik”) launched his West African Pilot in 1937, dedicated to fighting for independence from British colonial rule, many established papers such as the Nigerian Dailytimes lost a large part of their audience. The Dailytimes responded by raising foreign capital and injecting fresh blood into the editorial team. In addition, the new owners hired more expatriate staff to fill the post of business manager, managing editor and works manager. But the newspaper struggled with newsprint supply during World War II and number of paper printed dropped.