11/08/2022

GbaramatuVoice Newspaper

Niger Delta's Leading Newspaper for Breaking News, Fast and Reliable News, Events, culture, Politics, from the Niger Delta, Nigeria and Africa at large.

GbaramatuVoice at 6: Reflecting On Our Journey So Far

11 min read

The Publisher, Editorial Board Members, entire management and staff of Gbaramatu Publishing Company Limited, owners of GbaramatuVoice Newspaper will mark their 6th Anniversary on August 10, 2021.
 
Essentially, series of programmes shall be used to mark the anniversary. They include but not limited to Anniversary lecture entitled: Dwindling State of Crude Oil Demand in the Global Market: The Way Forward, to be delivered by His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
 
The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo, will be the Special Guest Of Honour; the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, as host; the Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sawoolu, as Chief Host; Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Executive Governor of Kogi State, Guest of Honour, while Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, The Executive Governor of Delta state, will Chair the occasion.
 
The celebration offers us yet another great opportunity to look back and be able to be more productive onward.
 
Again, it  is equally a common knowledge that the GbaramatuVoice has within this period of six years in operation expanded into a media group that currently accommodates the realities of new media, especially on the digital platforms, such  as the GbaramatuVoice Television, alongside social media like facebook,  Instagram, youtube etc.
 
What is however, newsy about the present discourse is that the celebration more than anything else, offers a unique opportunity for the GbramatuVoice family to tell our stories of how we conquered our fears to become a great media organization of repute.  And essentially avails us the great opportunity to look into the future to set an agenda to launch a Resource Centre for Niger Delta Studies as well as a media institute where fresh graduates from the region interested in media practices shall be trained on different media skills for self reliance.
 
How the idea was incubated
 
Like George Soros, who at a time noted that every society needs some shared values to hold it together, that when such values disappear, the society becomes a mere simple equation without meaning; likewise, the Publisher of the Gbaramatuvoice,  Mr. Jacob Abai, in early 2015, watched with pains how the media professionals, in their search for new but personal fields to increase their wealth and wellbeing, opted out of their primary mandate of objective reportage to become a willing tool in the hands of political, and socioeconomic gladiators.

This particular concern was more worrisome and worrying when it comes to reporting the International Oil Companies’ (IOCs) activities as they pertain to crude oil exploration and production as well as failures of state actors (government agencies) to effectively monitor/regulate such ill actions- a state of affairs that left the people of Niger Delta region/coastal dwellers as both victims and “witnesses to tears”. (Abubakar Gimba).
 
To change these narratives and correct some misinformation, innuendos  and distrusts about the region and its people being projected to the wider world, the idea of Gbaramatuvoice was conceived on that day, at that time and in that place.
 
Though, Abai is a faith-based man who always put God first in all he does and whose habit of giving/generosity, many characterize as legendary. That notwithstanding, people who knew about his intention gave him neither the needed support nor a chance to succeed. They were skeptical about how possible it would be for him to do magic this time around.
 
But as native wisdom proclaims, ‘the protestation of the innocent chick does not prevent or stall the sacrifice. If anything, the protestations enriched the sacrifice and hastened its value and efficacy. Likewise, the flood of oppositions did not stop Abai from plunging into GbaramatuVoice Newspaper publication. Rather, such a doubt and oppositions acted as a tonic.  He prayed to God for direction and held on to honesty as his hardest currency while working night and day, in order to ensure that the Newspaper hits the newsstand. He started by reporting highlights, and analyzes of current affairs/events and topical issues happening in the Niger Delta region that was of interest to the people especially in the environmental, political and community leadership.
 
Vision, Mission and Core Values
 
In preparation for its emergence as the flagship of an objective news organization in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria, the proponent came up with a well crafted clear vision. Simply put: to be recognized as the leading and most trusted newspaper, reaching people no matter who or where they are.
 
Its mission was equally clear enough and assisted.  Among other things, it include: To deliver captivating content from the South-South to the world which informs, inspires and entertains through — Engaging talented, creative and spirited people, Reaching deeper, broader and closer with our content, platforms and interactions, Rebalancing global media by respecting the diversity and humanity of the world, Giving a voice to the voiceless people of the South-South, Achieving outstanding results efficiently.
 
GbaramatuVoice Hits Newsstand
 
Established in August 2015, GbaramatuVoice has grown into a global multi-media organization with newspapers, websites and apps serving millions of readers around the world. As an important media in the Niger Delta, GbaramatuVoice shoulders an even more significant responsibility as it continues its quest to connect Niger Delta communities and the world in communication while acting as a bridge.
 
Its Fundamental Principles
 
Like every media organization true to its name, the GbaramatuVoice from inception declared that it will continually support the fundamental needs of the country, and, the positive purpose of the elected government if it will not in any way dent/obstruct the media’s primary responsibility to the masses in a democratic society which among others include -inculcating and reinforcing positive political, cultural, social attitudes among the citizenries. Create a mood in which people become keen to acquire skills and disciplines of developed nations.
 
The Newspaper management was also laced with the understanding that to do well in the job of information dissemination, they are to watch and not to be watched over. They are to watch over crimes, injustices, malpractices, and every other act that is deemed unfair and unlawful. Professionally, they are competent to carry out their duties as the fourth estate of the realm. As watchdogs of the society, they have since internalized the idea that they are not the kind of dogs with ropes tied round their necks.
 
The fact that they are watchdogs “means they know what to do, where they are going, and how to discharge their duties as when due. That is, their decision and direction should not be dictated by any force or power whatsoever”.
 
What Worked For GbaramatuVoice
 
Out of many, there exists very critical area worthy of mention -that is the Newspaper’s management philosophy of using the annual lecture and merit award instituted about six years ago to promoting national unity/cohesion and build bridges of harmony across geopolitical zones in the country.  This thinking explains why Abuja Transcorp Hilton played host to our fourth edition, Port Harcourt in Hotel Presidential and now slated for Lagos.

Aside from locations and promotion of national unity/cohesion, we have often always, to the admiration of stakeholders, used the opportunity provided by the annual lecture to craft for discussion, topics relevant to the nation’s socioeconomic development and critical research areas that proffers array of solution to the Niger Delta challenge.

Secondly GbaramatuVoice made use of professionally trained journalists who understand, and are dedicated to the Niger Delta course while collaborating with national and international media organizations.

This strategy helped GbaramatuVoice become a gateway to Niger Delta-related news that is factually supported. We must recall that the region was formerly characterised by perennial violence occasioned by mutual suspicion and hostilities between the IOCs and the Federal Government on one side and host communities on the other side. Such narrative and state of affairs have since been thrown to the waste bin of history with the advent of GbaramatuVoice and its team of journalists. The GbaramatuVoice has become reputed for bringing to the surface the hidden injustices and tensions that were always alive and active in the region to where it can be seen and treated.
 
Aside from the involvement of competent hands in the day-to-day operation of the news platform, another factor that gave helping hands to GbaramatuVoice in its quest for greater height is its Core Values which include  Integrity and respect, focus on issues not personalities, telling of stories from human angle, daily strive for excellence in everything, adherence to credibility through impartial, accurate and comprehensive representation of the story of our people.
 
From inception (2015) the Gbaramatuvoice internalized as well as operationalized the global media axiom which states that ‘every decision media/journalist makes when gathering, organizing and presenting the news requires a value judgment. Different decisions bring different results-that all decisions have consequences that are direct and indirect, intended and unintended, short term and long term;  journalist’s decisions affect others; those decisions may influence thousands of people’s opinions on a political issue’.
 
Yes! At GbaramatuVoice, we are not unmindful of the fact that the role of the media in every evolving democratic society like ours is to inculcate and reinforce positively political, cultural, social attitudes among the citizenry. Create a mood in which people become keen to acquire skills and disciplines of developed nations. And when the media fails to perform these roles, the nation can never hope to raise the standards of living of the people or achieve the political development of the state.
 
This principle has really assisted us in no small measures.
 
GbaramatuVoice Today
 
By keeping to the above detects, GbaramatuVoice is today in the estimation of stakeholders likened to the Biblical grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches. (Mathew 13; 31-32, Mark 4; 30-32, Luke 13; 18-19).
 
To the people of Niger Delta region particularly the coastal dwellers, GbaramatuVoice has within this six years of operation become reputed for bringing to the surface the hidden injustices and tensions that were always alive and active in the region to where it can be seen and treated.
 
To the high profiled/international media organizations, GbaramatuVoice is acknowledged/affirmed as a gateway to Niger Delta-related news that is factually supported. Take as illustration, very recently, GbaramatuVoice news report caught the attention of, and attracted the development professionals on their parts view the news media as an agent of peace and a vehicle for the promotion of development and harmonious co-existence in the region. Recall that the region was formerly characterised by perennial violence occasioned by mutual suspicion and hostilities between the IOCs and the Federal Government on one side and host communities on the other side. Such narrative and state of affairs had since been thrown to the waste bin of history with the advent of GbaramatuVoice and its team of journalists.
 
It has also diversified into organizing the Face of Gbaramatu beauty pageant, and recently ventured into full-time electronic broadcasting with the establishment of the GbaramatuVoice Television that can be sourced online. These successes have earned the newspaper, The Niger Delta Newspaper of the Year 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 awards.
 
Viewed from social and humanitarian prism, Our GbaramatuVoice Foundation incorporated among other things, provision of succor to the less privileged. This has indeed, become a vessel of hope to the less economically and socially disadvantaged persons in the rural communities of Niger Delta region. We have used this platform (foundation) as a vehicle for promoting girl-child education; awarding scholarships to these economically disadvantaged lasses.
 
Our well operational office and well equipped studio has become an attractive and most sought-after destination for Mass Communication/Theatre Assets students in the region for their compulsory Industrial training/experience as well as for National Youth Service Corp Members. We have provided, and performed these responsibilities at the most fundamental levels.
 
As an illustration, within this period under review, we trained many, retained as staff those that expressed interest in building their career with the Organization and awarded scholarships to those that with us demonstrated excellence in their areas of studies.
 
Very remarkable, as if we got the premonition that the CoronaVirus (Covid-19) was locking around, towards the tail end of 2019, we opened a Food Bank. The initial vision was to serve the coastal dwellers ravaged by the perennial flood. But with the crisis of the CoronaVirus pandemic, the GbaramatuVoice Intervention Food Bank served even a greater purpose –distributed food items of various varieties to over 900 hundred residents/families.  
 
Fundamentally, it has in the estimation of the watching world become a platform for pursuing the truth and the decentralized creation and distribution of ideas; in the same way, that government is a decentralized body for the promotion and protection of the people’s life chances. It is a platform, in other words, for development that the government must partner with.
 
GbaramatuVoice of the Future
 
As we celebrate and look into the future, we recognize without mincing words that the future is as full of promises as it is fraught with uncertainties. Conventional media practice is giving way to the type based on knowledge.
 
It is this reality that informed our choice of using the opportunity provided by its 6th Anniversary celebration to launch a Resource Centre for Niger Delta Studies as well as a media institute where fresh graduates from the region interested in media practice shall be trained on different media skills for self reliance. And we need your support!
 
As the Newspaper celebrates, another area of interest to focus on is the personality behind GbaramatuVoice Newspaper — in the person of Jacob Abai. 
 
He is a believer in the philosophy that leaders who scaled in the media industry did so regardless of background, skill and talent but because they were open to learning, took deliberate steps to confront their shortcomings and modeled their vision to that of great leaders that did not flounder in the industry. This particular viewpoint inspired his choice of John Edward Taylor, the Founder of Guardian United Kingdom; Uncle Sam Amuka, the founder of the Vanguard Newspaper Limited, the late Mr. Mike Ibru of the Guardian Nigeria Newspaper, among others as his role models.
 
Without any shadow of the doubt, Abai, the Publisher has within record time become the leader that his organization and of course, the media industry, want him to be.
 
Broadly speaking, there exist another reason, just one more but fundamental reason why the GbaramatuVoice 6th anniversary is considered as a celebration for all Niger Deltans and supported by the government-local, state (south south governors), the federal and of course the corporate bodies operating in the Niger Delta region particularly the International Oil Companies(IOCs). Such a reason has to do with the restoration/existence of peace in the region.
 
This point becomes particularly appreciated when one remembers that before now reports from the region were always slanted by some media groups in such a way that were ‘valid, but, prevents others from deciding for themselves whether the claim to validity was correct-by not including the data that others could use to decide for themselves whether the illustration was valid and, by placing their conclusion in such that disguises their logical implications’.
 
As a final point, as the Publisher, Editorial Board members, Management and Staff of the GbaramatuVoice Newspaper welcome to the occasion of its 6th Anniversary lecture and Niger Delta Awards, dignitaries which include but not limited to Traditional Rulers from the Niger Delta, captain of industries within and outside the country, executives of International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country, public office holders from the Niger Delta region, leaders of specialized groups in Nigeria, among others, we are particularly grateful  to all our major stakeholders for being with us in this journey so far.
 
Indeed, your support has been critical.
 
God Bless You All.
 
Signed:
Editorial Board

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