The Samuel Ogbemudia Forum of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Observer Chapel holds today at the corporate headquarters of the Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, publishers of The Observer titles.
The forum is not new. It has been celebrated annually since 2001 until it was rechristened this year. The re-naming, from all indications,  is significant. It is meant to signpost and identify with the yearnings and aspirations of the populace  for Good Governance across the length and breadth of our nation and in doing that, some concretization is necessary.
Interestingly, The then Midwest Newspapers Corporation, now Bendel Newspapers Company Limited, publishers of the Observer titles was established by Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia  as a child of necessity on May 29,  1968. The newspaper was published as document for daily circulation that would inform the public on the activities of government of the then Midwest State, educate as well as provide a forum for a two-way communication.
The founder of the newspaper and then Governor of Midwest, Colonel Samuel Ogbemudia, even though a military officer, demonstrated his penchant for a free press, which is the hallmark and essential ingredient of democratic society. He observed that “if the publication is to discharge its sacred functions effectively and efficiently too, it should be free from government control as to what it should write or not write, it should also be free to criticise any aspect of government policy which it considers worthy of criticism in public. He gave the management and staff of the newspaper house  free hand to operate a free press and provided all the resources needed to make it the flagship among its contemporaries.
We are glad to learn that Journalists of  The Observer stable are  very conscious of the role reserved for the media in highlighting the main issues of the day and setting an agenda befitting and benefitting society. Little wonder this year’s edition is focusing on “Advancing Media Freedom, The Promise Of Technology,” as its theme,  even as the nation wades through a high  political tempo ahead of next year’s general elections.
Also, , we believe that the new Dr. Samuel  Ogbemudia Forum has to be fortified by all stakeholders to enable media practitioners in the establishment step up their  performance in  the discharge  of this sacred duty in years ahead. It is also heartwarming to note that the Nigerian Observer boasts of some of the best brains in the journalism profession, practitioners who are highly knowledgeable, dedicated, and competent in the discharge of their duties. We are further encouraged to note that some of the best brains in the print and electronic media across the country, at one time or the other cut their teeth in the Observer.
We recognise the busy nature of journalists across the world as busy men and women who leave home very early, and very often do not know when they return home with all the attendant hazards and those of the Nigerian Observer are no exception. According to the Leaders of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Observer Chapel who instituted the annual forum in their maiden edition, “The annual forum was conceptualized to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders in the business of governance as well as the private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations to come together at the end of year to cross-fertilize ideas with members of the fourth estate of the realm on topical state  issues.” We believe that the  annual aspiration is laudable and should be  sustained.
On the occasion of the inaugural Samuel Ogbemudia forum, the Observer pledges to continuously uphold the highest tenets of journalistic practice, while welcoming and saluting Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia after whom the forum is re-named.