From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, slammed Governor Godwin Obaseki for desecrating the state-owned newspaper, ‘The Nigerian Observer’ and changing its name to ECHO.
The party, in a statement by its Assistant State Publicity Secretary, Victor Ofure Osehobo, said it believed Governor Obaseki was being economical with the truth, when in June 2022, he closed down the Nigerian Observer and promised to reopen it in a month after restructuring it, adding that Edo people thought the clandestine move was part of a reform process.
‘The party can recall that in a statement, Secretary to his government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, said: “The Edo State Government, in line with the reforms of the state-owned media organisations, has directed the closure of the Nigerian Observer newspaper for a period of one month, for re-organisation and re-launch of the media outfit.
“All existing staff of the Nigerian Observer are hereby redeployed to the Ministry of Communication and Orientation, with immediate effect, where they will receive further directives on their new responsibilities.
“Members of the reading public and lovers of the Nigerian Observer brand are assured their darling newspaper titles will return to the stands shortly better and improved.”
But the APC, in its statement observed that “contrary to these promises, the factional Peoples Democratic Party government, led by Obaseki has since demolished vital sections of the premises of the newspaper at 24 Airport Road, Benin, installed a ‘N5-billion’ printing press, redeployed all the workers to ministry departments and agencies and created a newspaper called ECHO to replace the Nigerian Observer.
“The Nigerian Observer was set up in 1968 by the late Samuel Ogbemudia, as administrator of then Midwest region. It was one of the assets, Edo inherited in 1991.”