Benin City — Following Edo State government’s reorganization and planned re-launch of The Nigerian OBSERVER newspaper after 31st July, vendors and readers of the daily across the state and beyond have tasked the government to hand over the management to competent persons.
The respondents who spoke on their expectations for a new Nigerian OBSERVER in a chat with our correspondent charged would-be management of the newspaper to take advantage of the digital era and ensure people at the grassroots are given needed coverage, for them to know what government is doing and how best to engage it for democracy dividends.
Recalled governor godwin obaseki had during his visit to the newspaper house midweek told journalists that the state government is taking advantage of history of the premises to rebuild the newspaper; to replace the “old press building with a modern and digital web press” to serve the entire sub-region.
The governor who visited barely four days to expiration of the one month closure explained there are no plans to lay off staff of the company, adding there is going to be an upgrade of personel as well as revamp of the establishment to fit into the digital age.
Responding to the development, executive director, Network for the Advancement of Persons With Visible Disabilities (NAPVID), Melody Omosah commended Obaseki for extending institutional reforms to the media establishment.
Omosah said he anticipate a new Nigerian OBSERVER newspaper that can compete favourably with the new media.
“We want a Nigerian OBSERVER that is digitize. We want to see a Nigerian OBSERVER that is the first choice of the people; nationally. When you look for credible, you will want to read the Nigerian OBSERVER”, he maintained
Also, a Benin-base soil conservationist, Mr Ezekiel Nwokpoku, asserted that the government should absolve freelance journalists especially those who are IT-compliant that have over the years contribute to sustenance of the state-owned newspaper.
“Observer is an household name; and if not for freelancers, the newspaper company would have since shut down, though some of them still need to up their work. I expect Observer to bring them (freelancers) in, possibly retrain them to work with new people that will replace those deployed to the ministry of communication and orientation”, Nwokpoku stressed
Mrs Kate Uwoghiren, a newspaper vendor of more than 30-years lamented the hitherto poor quality of the print, even as she expressed confidence in the government’s intervention to fix the newspaper to meet global standard.
“The OBSERVER newspaper quality na zero over hundred. As the government say dem wan rearrange the place, na to tell them make dem make the paper get better quality like The Pointer newspaper and other National paper;
“And secondly, good news, quality news for paper, no be old (stale) news. I mean news wen go make people dey read the paper, news wen go make am sell”, Mrs Uwoghiren told our correspondent in pidgin at her stand adjacent Edo NUJ secretariat
However, a retiree of the establishment who do not want his name mentioned expressed uncertainty over the period of closure saying that it may extend beyond the announced date.
According to the 76-years old Agbor resident, “the time may not be enough for them to finish it; or resources may be problem. It can get to even December; if not beyond”.
Meanwhile an international media organization, the Voice African News magazine base in the Netherlands has conferred on the state government African Media Organization Award 2022, which is not unconnected to Obaseki’s reforms at the state-owned media outfits.
Recalled in a statement issued on 30th June 2022, and signed by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie announced the closure of the newspaper house for “a period of one-month, for re-organization and re-launch” of the outfit.