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WORLD PRESS DAY CELEBRATION: OUR MESSAGE TO NIGER DELTANS

BY GBARAMATUVOICE EDITORIAL BOARD 

The Gbaramatu Publishing Company Limited, owners of the GbaramatuVoice Newspaper, joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Press Day as declared by the United Nations General Assembly. This event is celebrated even as the newspaper prepares for another epoch-making ceremony-the 6th GbaramatuVoice Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Awards, slated for Tuesday August 10, 2021 at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

As we know, the celebration (World Press Day) is slated for every 3rd of May, to among other objectives raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of the urgent need to have that particular freedom respected.

For the publisher of the GbaramatuVoice, Jacob Abai, the Editorial Board Members and of course the entire management of the News Organization, this year’s celebration offers us an opportunity for a deeper reflection on our journey so far in the industry. And it has equally helped us come to a sudden realization that we could not have been here if not because of the unalloyed support given to us by our dear people of Niger Delta region.

Making these baskets of support a well appreciated effort is that it is coming at a time when their (Niger Deltans) communal rights to clean environment and access to clean water supplies are daily violated. And when the oil industry has abandoned thousands of polluted sites in the region without adequate compensation for the communities adversely affected.

As we celebrate this special day, we must not fail to underline that in our six years of existence as a media group in the region, your support to us has been critical. We are indeed, grateful.

We are particularly grateful to the royal fathers/traditional rulers for their prayers, blessings and moral supports. Your tireless preaching of peace and speaking of truth has been a great source of encouragement to, and have in no small ways made us to remain focused in the discharge of our  responsibility of information dissemination which  the nation’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the instrumentality of participatory democracy and election of leaders confer on us.

In the same vein, our sincere appreciation/gratitude goes to the Izon-ebidouwei of Ijaw nation, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo predominantly referred to as Tompolo by his admirers and the general public.

Right from May 1999, when democracy re-emerged on the nation’s political space, you (Tompolo) on behalf of the people of the region fully participated in challenging, questioning, fought for the right to organize, the right to free expression, the right to assemble freely, the right to free movement and ultimately, the right to, and need for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

Your effort in this direction and decision to be a peace ambassador and the new face of the Niger Delta region, you have appreciably helped stamp out some nagging problems in the region, and assisted the country by extension to improve not only in economics but also in social order and social climate.

As a media organization, you have taught via your character that peace is not only possible but remains a journey of listening based on memory, solidarity and fraternity. Most importantly, by promoting peace in the region, you have made our work easy.

We are indeed grateful.
Also, for those that have at different times and places advertised with us through product placement, announcements of political, cultural, religious events and intellectual discourse targeted at resolving the environmental impasse in the region, you are our major stakeholders. We are well aware of the fact that the news sells the paper but advertisement keeps the paper going. We obviously appreciate your contributions.

To our governments at state and federal levels, we must on this day reiterate the fact that as a responsible and responsive media organization, we will continue to 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 includes-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.

Secondly, as watchdog of the society, we promise to watch over crimes, injustices, malpractices, and every other act that is deemed unfair and unlawful in the region.

To use the words of Martin Luther King Jr. we solemnly promise to bring to surface via objective reports/analysis and investigations, the hidden tension in the region that is already alive to where it can be seen and treated.

Similar to a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its purlse-flowing ugliness to the natural medicine of air and light, it is our views that injustice must likewise be exposed in the region to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

As we celebrate this year’s World Press Day, our solemn promise is to continue to use GbaramatuVoice as a vehicle for promoting peace, unity and progress within the region and the nation at large.

While this is being done, we urge traditional rulers, public office holders, community leaders, captains of industries operating in the region to imbibe the attributes of accountability and transparency when dealing with the people.

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