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Published On: Fri, Jun 6th, 2014

How Greed Tears Delta Community Newspapers Publishers Apart

By Godday Odidi.
Barely in the middle of 2013 when the Association of Community Newspapers Publishers of Nigeria(ACNPN) Delta State chapter inaugurated a new caretaker committee to run the affairs of the organisation leadership tussle born out of greed. It all started when the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan appreciated the association with some substantial amount of money and some took all to themselves that infuriated the division of the noble association.
The purpose of inaugurating this Delta State chapter has been totally defeated as a result of greed of money by some disgruntled elements. Before its inauguration, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Delta State chapter was the only recognised body in the state until this association was brought to limelight due to the promotion of grassroots journalism.
Today, the police also recognised the association too. Delta State has over 50 community newspapers and publishers publishing Delta State news only while few are registered with this unsettled association. Over a year now, the chapter has been having a loggerhead with its apex‘s leadership in the state which many described as incompetent system of leadership and unable to resolve it than using legal means to expose the association. Publishers no longer report their conscience again but money. The alleged financial malfeasance by the top executive officers and unable to resolve the journalistic crisis rocking the association that led to the motion moved by the National Deputy President of ACNPC, Dr. Prince Oromonokpaye and others to dissolve the former leadership of the association . This group accused the former leadership of the Delta State chapter of mal administration, incompetency of modern journalistic leadership, unaccountability, sideling eligible members, inability s to moderate the association and journalistic rascality.
In a swift reaction, the dissolved executives declared the new caretaker committee as a persona non grata that they do not have the legal action or otherwise to dissolve the leadership and that the group is illegal and unconstitutional. It is sad that ACNPN that ought to be the mouth piece of grassroots journalism is now deviating into political combat. Some desperate publishers of the noble association are only interested in pursuing their selfish interests, personal aggrandizement and creating vulnerable enemies among the comity of publishers and nothing else. The worst is that some of these highly trained publishers are not given opportunities to mount the leadership of the association than giving it to untrained hands that rather see the leadership as way to promote grassroots journalism but to create more internal and external enemies within the association.
2015 is at corner, ACNPC has abysmally failed to put its house in order. Not long ago when this association had two groups where some claimed to be the bonafide members of the association and others say the last leadership has been terminated. Grassroots journalism is gradually dying in Delta State where disunity has played a major setback to grassroots journalism in this intellectual association. Most of these so-called publishers are self-centred and unwilling to make other young grassroots’ writers to grow from the zero level than seeing themselves as local champions.
One thing about this association is that the leadership has failed to promote grassroots democracy which some have discovered that only change of baton of leadership can bring its glory back than using individual newspaper to lead the association. The fact remains that a new beginning of modern grassroots journalism and leadership should be introduced into the association. The dissolved executives should agree to work with the new caretaker committee to conduct a new election that would take the association to the Promised Land than creating unnecessary media attention. Leadership dissolved is leadership respected. Some of the highly read and well- circulated s community newspapers in Delta State whether dead or alive are Urohobo Times, Urohobo Voice, Itsekeri Times, Isoko Mirror, Isoko Times, Ndokwa Vanguard, Ndokwa News, Delta voice, Isoko Times Extra,, Delta Guide, Delta Times, Delta Periscope, Isoko News, Isoko Hope, Isoko Eye, Isokp Details, Isoko Today, Delta Independent, Sapele Times, Delta Mirror, and just mention but a few. The leadership of the association should consider these requirements of electing their executives as follows; to be a chairman of the association, such a person whether man or woman must a least be a publisher for 5years above and posses a degree or related qualifications. He or she must have written couples of articles published by his or her newspaper and other national newspapers. An association where unity is not embraced then progress is limited. It all boils down to everybody that wants to be a member of the association. The power of the pen- push grassroots journalism has been defeated by certain persons who want public attention at all cost. It is time for the association to put its leadership in order ahead of 2015 Delta State elections and others.

Godday Odidi a public analyst wrote from Lagos

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