Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel will partner publishers of Akwa Ibom State based newspapers and online news blogs towards achieving better promotion of the State and projection of development strides of his administration.
This was made known when they were hosted to a Thank-you Forum by the Special Assistant to the Govenor on Local Media, Prince Emmanuel Sam, at Amity Hotel, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo.
Sam, whose appointment was made public on June 24, 2019, in a release signed by the Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, was before the appointment the Chief Executive Officer of Emmasol Communications, the publisher of Guide Newspaper.
He was also the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Independent Newspaper Publishers Association, INPA and Leader of Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement, AILM.
In his opening remarks, Prince Emmanuel Sam, thanked God for making the day possible. He expressed gratitude to His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel for deeming him fit for the service of his fatherland, adding that every publisher automatically becomes a stakeholder in the administration through him appointment.
Sam noted that the meet – which will be a regular event in the course of his official duties – was very significant in the sense that he was indebted to all publishers for their show of solidarity and unpretentious celebration of his elevation.
“This is my way of saying thank you to each and everyone of you, publishers, for your genuine display of love, support and solidarity with my appointment. I can assure you that I’m here to represent all your interests.
“Although I am the fourth SA on Local Media [since the return to civil rule] I want to assure you that my tenure will focus on serving as liaison between the Governor and state based publishers, media organizations and professionals. As those who invest your hard earned money to promote the state and project politicians into power, it’s now time for you to profit from those investments”.
The event which was graced by the immediate past Special Assistant on Local Media, Ambassador Uko Umoh, also witnessed a large turnout of publishers, officials of State Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, executives of various chapels of NUJ, editors of several state based newspapers and media professionals.
It was an opportunity for goodwill messages and requests for improved rate for advertorials, empowerment and other welfare packages for publishers.
First among them was from Ambassador Uko Umoh, who congratulated his successor on a well deserved appointment. In his words, “although the invite came on short notice, I decided to honour it because of our friendship. We’ve shared so many experiences and I’m certain you are good for the job. Publishers and local media fared well during my tenure, but I know you can perform better. I pray God to protect and guide you to success”.
The pioneer female publisher, CEO of Providence newspaper and pioneer chairperson of Consolidated Chapel of NUJ, Pastor Lucy Daniel, observed that it was the first time an SA on Local Media would gather publishers for an interaction soon after his appointment. She thanked Governor Udom for finally locating a square peg for a square hole, adding that Prince Sam’s appointment was a welcome development which signalled a new beginning for newspaper publishers in the State.
Also speaking, the Secretary, Board of Trustees of Independent Newspaper Publishers Association, INPA, Barrister David Augustine, stated that his association is elated by the appointment of its BoT Chairman, revealing that the appointment seals the reunion between the present administration and state based media organizations across all sections and divides.
Mr. Isreal Umoh, former State Chairman of NUJ and publisher of Straightnews, noted with joy that Prince Sam is among the few elite media professionals in the state that have remained consistent in service despite many challenges. He asked for improved welfare pakage for publishers, expressing confidence in his capacity to deliver since he has firsthand experience in the profession.
On his part, Otuekong Franklin Isong, publisher of Radar newspaper, while congratulating the SA on his appointment, lauded his undoubted integrity in the state media circle. He advised him to remain dogged in holding public officers accountable even in his new office. Furthermore, he asked the SA to work on improving rate for advertorials and strengthening the relationship between the Governor and media practioners, saying “it is how you paint us before the Governor that he will see us”.
The Secretary of League of Publishers, Mr. Nsibiet John, congratulated the SA on Local Media, noting that his appointment is well deserved and timely.He also conveyed his association’s goodwill and solidarity, urging him to remain focused and work hard to better the existing relationship between the Governor and state based media professionals.
The Chancellor of Coalition Of Online Publishers Akwa Ibom, COOPA, Mr. Ifreke Nseowo, while congratulating Prince Sam on his appointment, commended him for acknowledging the crtical role played by members of his association in the development of Akwa Ibom State. He also thanked him for the lofty plans he has for state based media professionals especially members of COOPA and pledged his association’s commitment towards his success and that of the Udom administration.
Others who spoke were Secretary, State Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr. Amos Etuk; publisher of Sermon newspaper and Vice President, Sport Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Otuekong Bonny Nyong; immediate past Special Assistant to the Governor (Grassroots Re-orientation) Mr. Joseph Okon; publisher of Fortress newspaper and State Chairman of SWAN, Mr. Solomon Bassey; and publisher of Vintage Express and Chairman of Federated Chapel of NUJ, Mr. Inimfon Silas.
Responding, the Special Assistant on Local Media reassured the publishers that Governor Udom is poised to offer them a new deal.
“Throughout my tenure, I will work to ensure that publishers feel the benevolence of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, who is evidently media friendly. I can assure you that just as your news outlets publish politicians donating cars to their supporters, all things being equal, you shall also report how cars are donated to publishers.
“Secondly, on the request for improved rate for advertorials, this will be looked into. With permission from my immediate boss, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and whoever will emerge the Commissioner for Information, we will meet with executives of League of Publishers, Independent Newspaper Publishers Association, INPA, and Coalition Of Online Publishers Akwa Ibom, COOPA to arrive at a standard rate for advertorials from government.
“Thirdly, State based online news blogs, under the aegis of COOPA, shall be incorpbeated into the mainstream. Personally, I believe publishers of online news blogs need advertorials too to sustain their sites”.
Highpoint of the event was taking of group photograph with the Special Assistant on Local Media, Prince Emmanuel Sam.
Meanwhile, Prince Emmanuel Sam earlier posted this on his Facebook page – soon after his appointment was announced: “To all-publishers, friends, family members, loved ones, NUJ members, Facebook friends, and well wishers, who through text messages, Facebook posts, calls, celebrated with me yesterday, I say thank you.
“I am glad that the long struggle of Local Media in the State has paid off and I promise that my leadership will not troll on the mantra of ,’winner takes it all’ but shall be pegged on ‘winner shares it all’.”