The Chairman of the occasion, Barr. Emma Okah, Special Guest of Honour, Guest of Honour; Guest Speaker; Ministers of God, Captains of industries, invited Guests, Distinguished Newspaper Publishers and Editors of all the Media Houses here represented; Colleagues; Members and Leadership of Newspaper Distributors Association, Ladies And Gentlemen.
It gives me great joy to stand before you this afternoon taking advantage of this 15th anniversary to further ingratiate our widely-read and massively cherished publication with our august guests.
As you ought to know, the journalism profession is fraught with inherent dangers, risks and challenges that only the brave, the courageous, the fearless, the passionate for public interest can dare and survive. It is common knowledge that journalism everywhere around the globe is not for the lazy, the feebleminded, egoistic individuals or those given to egregious breach of protocol.
Journalism and, by extension, newspaper publishing, calls for deep intellect, profound knowledge of history, commitment, sound education, altruism, appreciable sense of justice, humanitarian spirit, selflessness etc. Encouraged in this regard by the view of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th American president that, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat,” we proceeded to establish the National Network on October 1, 2004 (15yrs ago). Since then, there has been no looking back as we rely heavily on God's grace and the courage of our conviction, very much aware that the world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave, “the roar of the crowds on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.”
As you all know, it is professionally and ethically required of every news organization and, or newspaper of this size and importance wishing to hit the newsstands to pass through some professional tests by relevant authorities and regulatory bodies.
Prior to this time, therefore, National Network had endeavoured and indeed, obtained, both the registration and approval of the other statutory bodies like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), National Library, the relevant information departments etc, and has significantly and overwhelmingly been accepted and acclaimed as the most vibrant Port-Harcourt based newspaper currently. This is evidenced in the calibre of our editorial team led by the ace journalist, and NUJ Rivers State Council Award Winner 2000, Chris Konkwo, that's my humble self as the Editor-in-Chief/General Manager.
To acquaint you briefly with the history of this publication, National Network as you have seen, is a national paper by all definitions of it and has truly come to stay. It is vibrant and all-encompassing, reflecting society, politics, education, business, environment, Technology, religion, philosophy, human interest etc. As a child of circumstance, National Network was conceived and born to occupy a perceived yawning gap in our chosen career. In fact, we noticed the need, and indeed, there was the need to come up with a newspaper that was thorough, objective, balanced, fair and, at the same time, informative, educative and entertaining. It was against this background that National Network was born, and since then, there has been a dramatic change on the publishing landscape in the state.
I will, however, be wallowing in self adulation if I forget to mention a few friends, admirers and corporate organizations whose encouragement and support contributed in no small measure to the success we celebrate today.
These include but not limited to our parent professional body, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), currently and ably led by Messrs Stanley Job Stanley and Ike Wigodo as chairman and secretary respectively; the Rivers State government, His Excellency, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike; Executive Governor, Rivers State and his wife, Hon. Justice Suzzette Wike; former Rivers State Governor, Sir Dr. Peter Odili, former Rivers State Governor, Sir Barr. Celestine Omehia and wife; former Minister for Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara; Senator Barry Mpigi, Senator Representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Rt. Hon. Dumnamene Dekor, member representing Khana/Gokana Federal House of Representative, the immediate past Commissioner for Information, Rivers State, Barr Emma Okah; former Information Commissioner, Ibim Semenitari; our traditional ruler friends; Council chairmen, former Vice Chancellor, Rivers State University, Prof. B.B. Fakae; former House of reps member representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke; Chief Monday Wehere, Publisher of Surveillance Newspaper, and Rivers State Independent Publishers Association (RIVPA). Director Imakop Press, Mr. Willi.
Also worthy of mention is our good friend, and brother, distinguished Senator Lee Maeba who has always supported us to forge ahead. May God bless him bountifully. Last, but not least, is one of our very own, our backbone and propeller, Bro. Felix Obuah, Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Sole Administrator, RIWAMA. We'll ever remain grateful to this great man, and philanthropist par excellence. The 15th Anniversary of National Network Newspaper is successful and possible by the singular prayers, support and encouragement of Bro. Felix Obuah. May God continue to bless and keep you Sir.
We are also grateful to other numerous friends and well-wishers who could not be mentioned in this address for want of space. Your support and contributions are indeed, appreciated and may the good Lord reward you abundantly in Jesus name. Amen.
Finally, I thank the publisher, Pst. Jerry Needam, my brother, my friend and my boss and all the staff of National Network, both present and former for their individual and collective contributions which constitute an essential chapter in the success story of this great newspaper. I will always remember you in my prayers for your co-operation and comradeship.
Thank you and God bless.