The Information Commissioner, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang performing the commissioning of the Computer Unit
The Cross River State Newspaper Corporation, publishers of Nigerian and Weekend Chronicle, completely vandalized three years ago in the web of the infamous EndSars crisis in the country, is partially back to life.
The over 50 years old structure with it’s rich library and other sophisticated equipment were completely vandalized and torched in the crisis that left in its wake carcass that became a permanent abode for reptiles, rodents and criminals.
But thanks to the former management of Mr. Emmanuel Akpong that initiated the renovation of about two offices and the current management team of the Acting General Manager (AGM), Ms. Keyu Edet that moved a step further to give current touch to the structure pending government’s complete intervention.
Basking with joy and enthusiasm, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang, on Wednesday, commissioned the computer unit of the State’s Newspaper house as part of measures to the devastated corporation that was operating on a life support for three years at the Ernest Etim Bassey Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), State Housing, Calabar.
With this development, an array of light and life have returned to the newspaper house at Barracks road as some apparently excited workers were seen jostling in and out of some of the offices.
A release from the Daily InfoNews Bulletin of the State Ministry of Information said, two weeks ago, the Commissioner made a personal donation of a set of computer systems to the Chronicle in fulfilment of his earlier pledge to the newspaper house during his maiden working visit to the place on assumption of office.
Thr Commissioner for Information, Mr Erasmus Ekpang (6th from R), NUJ Chairman, Nsa Gill on his left, the AGM of the Corporation, Ms. Keyu Edet on his right, former GM of the Corporation, Mr. Emmanuel Akpong (8th from R), the Editor-in-C,hief, Florence Oloho, (4th R), the Editor, Chronicle, Mr Okar Ibor (3rd R), State Director of Orientation, Ministry of Information, Mr. David Akate (1st R) and others.
While inaugurating the computer unit, Ekpang described the event as a dream come true, saying he was overwhelmed by the zeal, commitment and dedication exhibited by the AGM and her team in revamping the age long newspaper house.
He said, “let me thank my Principal, His Excellency, Senator Bassey Otu, for his positive vibes which has spurred us greatly in delivering on his ‘people’s first’ mandate because that was what moved me in making my personal donation that today has led to a full fledge computer unit that I just commissioned.
“I thank also the AGM and her team for their resilience and passion to bring back our glorious Nigerian Chronicle after three years in disarray. I call all of you heroes of our time. You will live to understand why I call you heroes today because after the destruction of Chronicle, you stood firm and brought it back to where we are today.
“I made a commitment to bring Chronicle back to its optimal status as a frontline newspaper outfit in the state and today, we can say that the journey has begun for a place that was totally gone three years ago following the EndSars protest”.
Amid applause from the trilled workers and top management team, the Commissioner said, “honestly, I must say, it is the season of sweetness because the governor is passionate about this place and as we speak, he is already putting machineries in motion for a complete rehabilitation and repositioning of this edifice.
“I want to assure you that by the grace of God, on or before end of next year, we will gather again to celebrate our esteemed Chronicle again”.
While extending his appreciation to all those who contributed in one way or the other to keep Chronicle on its feet, Ekpang said, “I thank the Chairman of the NUJ,Comrade Nsa Gill who has been so wonderful and cooperative with my office since assumption for accepting to house the Chronicle team at the Press Centre when they became stranded and did not have an operating base again.
“For your staff employment issue and other support that Chronicle needs to stand afloat, be rest assured that I will continue to appeal to the Governor who has a listening hear and has made a commitment to transform this place.”
A cross section of staff at the commissioning ceremony.
He promised to make a special presentation at the State Executive Council to enforce the printing of all government jobs by the Corporation to enable it generate revenue as well as well as check the proliferation of official documents in private business centers.
In her opening remarks, the AGM who was overwhelmed with joy for a successful opening of the computer unit of the news room recalled the unfortunate incident that left the media outfit completely dismembered.
Edet who started her career in Chronicle, maintained that her passion for the newspaper house made her to remain steadfast and committed to revitalize the office and promised to pursue to the latter their mandate of disseminating information to the grassroots to compliment whatever is being circulated by the new media as well as the electronic media.
While thanking Ekpang for championing the course of their return, Edet appealed to him to look into the issue of technical staff recruitment for successive retraining as the ones on ground are at the verge of retirement.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths Development and former Editor-in-Chief of the Corporation, Mr. Sam Egbala, thanked the Commissioner for the show of love and urged him to use his good office to ensure that the office gets the desired attention from government.
On his part, the Chairman, NUJ and the immediate past landlord to Chronicle, praised the leadership and staff of the newspaper house for their determination and commitment to keep the tabloid afloat on the newspaper stands in spite of the challenges faced and called on the state government to modernise and adequately equip the office to meet up its printing needs.
The immediate past Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and former General Manager of the Corporation, Mr. Akpong, said that the news house has remained desolate overtime and expressed his joy for the renewed hope which Governor Otu’s season of sweetness has brought to the staff, state and esteemed readers.