By Victor Omoalu/Hannah Anyanwu
BENIN CITY – A former Governor of Mdiwest and Bendel States, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia has harped on the need for the sustainability of the dream that birthed the Bendel Newspapers Company Limited (BNCL), Publishers of the Observer titles when it was established in 1968.
Dr. Ogbemudia stated this in Benin City yesterday at the Aannual Samuel Ogbemudia Forum organized by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Observer Chapel.
He said that the state owned Newspaper Company was established primarily to compete with the Daily Times, which was the highest circulating newspaper then; served as breeding ground for journalists who are courageous in the field of journalism as well as to serve as a confidential printing press for government.
He however recalled that the establishment’s range circulation could not be overemphasized as its circulations were done by aircraft.
While noting that dwindling fortune of the newspaper company began during the aircraft crash, Dr. Ogbemudia cited politics as a major challenge facing the company today.
He also cited reckless abandonment as another factor militating against the fortune of the company, just as he commended the management and staff of the company for keeping the operational activities afloat despite its present challenges.
Expressing hope that the future is still bright for the company, the former two-time governor however advocated for the set up of a committee charged with the responsibility of organizing an annual development journalist award.
To this end, he said journalists are expected to improve on their professional output and knowledge presentation.
Edo State Head of Service, Mr. Jerry Obazele who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Information and Communication Technology, Dan Aigbavboa acknowledged with joy and satisfaction the role Dr. Ogbemudia played in building good governance and political reengineering in Nigeria.
According to him, the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria requires that the media should, as a matter of responsibility set the agenda for players in politics and governance.
The Head of Service used the occasion to express his appreciation to trade unions and professional bodies in the state, including the NUJ for their support and cooperation with the state government.
He promised to make the state public service better than he met it, including the regular payment of salaries, promotions as well as training and retraining of the work force and former Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Emmanuel Emovon, said the history of Edo State cannot be complete without due reference to the Dr. Ogbemudia.
He recalled that the Observer Newspaper was a tool used by Edo people to attract Federal Government attention on pressing issues related to the people and lauded the two time governor for his initiative towards establishing the company.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Union Journalists, Observer Chapel, Comrade Kehinde Osagiede said the Annual Observer Forum was renamed the Samuel Ogbemudia Forum because of the need to honour him for his momumental achievements during his reign as the military governor of Midwest/Bendel States.