By April this year (2019), Eggonnews Community Newspaper clocked 20 years in existence. The first edition of the newspaper hit the newsstand in April 1999.
The management has therefore decided commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the newspaper.
Accordingly, plans and preparations have reached advanced stages to mark the 20th anniversary.
To ensure good planning and execution of same, a 23-man Central Planning Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Prof Victor S. Dugga of the Federal University of Lafia and with Mr Eric M Kuju as Secretary,
According to a statement issued by the Committee, the celebration could not hold in April because of the general election which preoccupies the minds of Nigerians, adding that the celebration will now take place on Thursday November 21 2019.
Some of the activities lined up for that day will be an anniversary lecture to be delivered by a renowned and highly reputable veteran journalist, columnist and author, Mr Dan Agbese, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, who had worked for the New Nigerian newspaper rising to become the paper’s editor. He was also editor of The Nigerian Standard newspaper.
The guest speaker will speak on Democracy and Development; Community Newspapers in the Age of Fake News.
There will also be award of recognition and appreciation to a few individuals and organisations who have variously contributed to community development.
One of the major activities will be an essay writing competition among students of Secondary schools in the three Senatorial Districts of Nasarawa State at the end of which prizes will be given to the best three.
In order to expand and upgrade the services rendered by the newspaper, there will be a fund-raising during the occasion. The target is One Hundred Million Naira (N100, 000,000.00). the plans of the management of the newspaper is to improve on the regularity of the newspaper on the newsstands as well as expanding the reach in terms of coverage and circulation, including the upgrading the online edition of the newspaper, which is enjoying robust patronage in terms of the number of people who visit the site.
Explaining the rationale for the celebration, the Chairman of the Central Planning Committee, Prof Victor S. Dugga said there is every reason to celebrate the 20 years of the newspaper considering the services it has been rendering, in spite of the challenges, including the founder and editor of the newspaper who has been resilient in the face of difficulties in sustaining the vision of the media outlet in this clime.
He added that the newspaper has made its mark in the history of the State and the North Central geopolitical zone, and having established a foothold as the flagship of community journalism in this part of the country, there was the urgent need to put it on a higher pedestal for greater services in the years ahead.
Commenting on some of the activities, the Chairman said the award of recognition was considered in order to appreciate a few individuals who have rendered much services to the community and society, adding that the Committee is painstakingly considering the names to a management number.
He added that the award, apart from boosting the morale of the awardees to do more for the society, it would also encourage other people to emulate the awardees.
It also reported that invitations have gone wide to a large number of personalities across the country many of who have expressed their wish to grace the occasion.
Speaking, the Founder, Editor and Publisher of the first and oldest Community newspaper in Nasarawa State, Mr Matthew Kuju, appreciated God for the grace in sustaining the publication for the past 20 years.
He added that he had to weather much storm over the years, quickly adding that the experience has been quite challenging but also rewarding in the sense that the community has gained a lot from the newspaper in terms of information and education.
He said his main source of inspiration and sustaining power, “apart from God Almighty, are the readers who often appreciate what I see as the modest effort made by the newspaper.
“It is for this reason that we wish to hold the anniversary in thanking God and appreciating the community for taking the project as theirs.”
Talking about some of the challenges the newspaper has encountered, the Editor lamented the poor reading culture, dwindling economic power of the average Nigerian and advertisement patronage in this part of the world, as well as the high cost of printing, not forgetting the social media activities that have become a huge challenge to the traditional media outlets.
He however expressed hope that immediately after the anniversary, resources permitting, there will be a major turning point or break through in the history of the newspaper as there are plans to go weekly and eventually go daily.
He then called on all members of the public to join in the celebration come Thursday November 21, 2019.