Dr Reuben Abati
Public Affairs Commentator
Public Affairs Commentator
Dr Reuben Abati, a respected public affairs commentator and ex-Special Adviser, Media and Publicity and as Official Spokesperson to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, will speak on the track on “Nigerian Media in A Digital Age” and share professional insights of the trends that will define the media industry over 2017 and beyond.
Dr. Reuben Abati, born November 7, 1965 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, is one of Nigeria’s leading public affairs commentators and a media professional with a multi-disciplinary background in drama, management, journalism and law.
Abati graduated from the University of Calabar Nigeria in 1985 with a First Class Honours and as Class Valedictorian. He was recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Prize for the Student with the Best Overall Academic Performance in the Graduating Class. He was also a National Merit Scholar. He later studied at the University of Ibadan as a University Scholar.
He holds a Ph.D in Theatre Arts, specializing in Dramatic Literature, Theory and Criticism from the University of Ibadan (1990), a degree in Law from Lagos State University, Lagos (1999), a professional training certificate in journalism from the College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, United States (1996–97) and a Certificate in Management and Leadership from the Said Business School, University of Oxford (2015)
He has worked in both the private and public sectors in the last 26 years, in many areas including journalism, editing, public affairs analysis, public speaking, television presentation, media management, communications consultancy, and as official spokesperson. Reuben Abati has been writing for the Nigerian press since 1985. He has served as Contributing Editor, Editor, and Columnist to many publications, covering both the mainstream media and the softer genre of romance and lifestyle magazines (Hints, Hearts, and Channelle).
He is very well known for his commentaries on national affairs, book reviews and essays. His writings have appeared in both local and international periodicals and academic journals. He is an author, editor, newspaper columnist, and contributor of chapters to many publications.
Reuben Abati is a well-known television personality. Between 2000 and 2011, he was a member and co-presenter of the television discussion programme, Patito’s Gang, founded by Professor Pat Utomi. He has had quality experience and exposure in the public sector at both state and Federal levels. Between 2003 and 2007, for example, he served as a member of the Governing Council of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State. He was also a member of the Board of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (2007-2011).
His columns also appeared regularly on the Nigerian website, Nigerian Village Square Abati is a recipient of many prizes for journalistic excellence. A four-time record winner of Hadj Alade Odunewu/Diamond Award for Media Excellence Prize for Informed Commentary, he is also winner of the Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year (1998), the Fletcher Challenge Commonwealth Prize for Opinion Writing (2000) and the Freedom Peace Prize for Journalism.
Early Career Life
Abati originally started his career as a university teacher, teaching courses in Dramaturgy, Theory and Criticism, Special Author Studies, and the Sociology of Literature before embarking on other fields of interest out of curiosity and adventure. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, and the Nigerian Guild of Editors. He is also a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, a Fellow of the 21st Century Trust, a Fellow of The Nigeria Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters.
Working with the Presidency
In 2011, he was appointed Special Adviser, Media and Publicity and as Official Spokesperson to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. In this capacity, he was responsible for managing the President’s media office, media relations and leading the Presidency’s public communications team.
Before working in government, Reuben Abati was Chairman of the Editorial Board at The Nigerian Newspaper The Guardian a privately owned, independent Nigerian newspaper from 2001 to 2011. He also served at The Guardian as Editorial Page Editor, and as a columnist, running two columns per week.