By Eric Kuju
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has called on the management team of the Eggonnews Communications, the publisher of Eggonnews Newspaper based in Lafia, Nasarawa State to continue what he described as the good work of reaching out to the people and projecting the image of the State through its publication.
Governor Sule made the call when he played host to the management team of Eggonnews newspaper, led by its publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Matthew Kuju at the Government House in Lafia.
He said, if there was anybody in the State that needs to be recognized in terms of community service, keeping in touch with the people at the grassroots through dissemination of information, should be the publisher whose track record in that direction in the past 20 years of the existence of Eggonnews newspaper has justified that.
“You mentioned about the little contribution we made as a life-wire and I strongly believe that you need more than life-wire, than the effort and impact you have made to the people in our State.
“So, if anybody is getting an award for making an impact in the community, you deserve to get the award.
“So I congratulate you and call on you to continue to do the good work to the people and to the State”.
He expressed his apologies for not making it to the occasion marking Eggonnews at 20, saying “I wanted to show to the people the importance of community newspaper, and so, I wanted to attend the event personally.
“But I want to sincerely from the bottom of my heart congratulate for what you have achieved.
“When you started 20 years ago, incidentally, it was about the same time I was also getting ready to return to Nigeria, after staying in the US for a while.
“When I remember, clearly at the time the Deputy Governor then, Prof Onje-Gye Wado who happened to be seemingly close to me was the first person to mention to me about the Eggonnews and some of the efforts that you are putting forward to promote the State and the culture.
“At the time I came in, I was in Lagos and I was coming to the State once in a while, and then I got to see how you started and gradually to the point where you are today.”
Governor Sule said, for as long as he remains the Governor, he would not stop in the support to Eggonnews to enable it grow and succeed in its operations and services to the people of the State.
Responding the award given to him by the management of Eggonnews, the Governor said, for an organization such as the Eggonnews to give him award speaks volume of what the people are saying about his government, even as he congratulated the publisher for not relenting in the commitment to sustain the paper.
“I want to thank you for persistence and consistencies and doggedness and your frankness in being able to sustain the paper.
“You should continue with the effort and one I will promise you is that, with this government, as long as I remain here I will continue to not only support the Eggonnews, but to support all news media to ensure that information goes to the people when they need because it is very important for the people to receive the correct information and nobody can do it except the media.
“I congratulate you and will continue to support you. I thank you for the award you have given to me. I received two important awards today. The people I work with come to say they are giving me an award, all the councillors who are my representatives of the people at the grassroots. Sometimes they complained they didn’t have their salaries on time, but were able to put resources together and get me an award. That kind of award, to me is more than any money you can give me.
“And today you have given me the second award which means a lot to me. I want to thank you sincerely for that and God bless you”
Earlier, explaining why they were in his office, five days after the organization celebrated its 20th anniversary, the publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Matthew Kuju said, it was wise for them to return thanks and gratitude to the Governor for the warm support and gestures, which he said largely pulled the entire State to the event.
Kuju who conveyed the apology of the chairman, Eggonnews Editorial board, cum chairman, planning committee of Eggonnews 20th anniversary, Professor Victor Dugga disclosed that they were in his office to “express our gratitude for the premium you have placed on the media generally, and I want to be particular on Eggonnews.
“Barely six months of your administration’, the publisher told the Governor, ‘what you have done to the Eggonnews, without undermining what your predecessors have done to Eggonnews, is something that has humbles the management and staff of Eggonnews.
“Barely three months into office, you made an approval for the release of funds to us, which we have given our correspondence, acknowledging the gift of the fund and appreciating you for that kind gesture.
“Truly, that came as the life-wire to us, in the sense that we were barely surviving when the money came, but it has sustained us up to this point in time. So, we truly want to appreciate you for the gesture”.
The Eggonnews publisher who was overwhelmed with the level of support in all ramifications said, “…I cannot express how much gratified we were seeing the Deputy Governor. Seeing him was like the entire State was there and it added colour and gave us so much prominence that up to today, people are still talking, I keep receiving calls from the people and appreciating of how much we could do, we were able to get the calibre and number of people that attended the occasion.
“Not only did the Deputy Governor present your message so wonderfully well, your Excellency, your message of the approval of the assistance to Eggonnews is again the one that really humbled us. We were filled with so much gratitude that you could approve such assistance to us and that is why we felt we shouldn’t take long and appreciate you.
“So, we came here to appreciate you and to tell you that, as a community newspaper, I know that is not that popular in this part of the world, we know that community media is so prominent in the advance countries. Thank God you stayed in the US, you know how community media are operating there, the radio, television and newspapers are striving very well there. But in this part of the world, we don’t appear to place much importance of community media.
“But Your Excellency, what you have done shows that you value community media. So, with people like you at the helm of affairs in the State, I think the good days have come to Eggonnews.
“We want to assure you that, we will give you all the prominence that you desire, the government that is for the people is what we will always tell about you, because we were grateful for all that you have done for Eggonnews and we want to believe that, this is the beginning of the good relationship that we shall enjoy mutually for as long as you remain the governor of Nasarawa state.
“Secondly, when we were prepared for the anniversary, we agreed within the management and the planning committee to appreciate some personalities. In the course of the 20th anniversary, we decided to award 20 people with the award of honour, but there was a category that we also had, that category we said is Special Eggonnews award to just four (4) people outside the 20. Your Excellency, you happen to be one of those people.”
He added that it was the hope of the Eggonnews management that the award would rather spur the governor to do more for the people of the State, stressing that, “though you have received awards by some media houses, I want to tell you, Your Excellency, we know you best.
“Therefore, certainly media houses outside Nasarawa State can only come to us to tell them about you. So, if anything at all, charity should begin from home.
“So, we feel, as our Governor, what you have done in this State, just within six months, the people are feeling the impact of your government.
“So, we felt, having done these much within this short period, this will only serve as a motivation, inspiration and an encouragement that you should do more for the people of Nasarawa State, hence let’s give you this award.
“That is why Your Excellency, we have come here with the plaque, we didn’t give the deputy governor not because we didn’t want to give him, certainly not, since he represented you, ordinarily we should have given him that award, but we wanted this occasion where we would come and hand it over personally to you, to tell you how much we appreciate you, how much we feel that you can do for the State, hence we brought the plaque to personally handover to you and to wish you well, even as you continue with the governance of Nasarawa State. These are the two main reasons we are here you Excellency.”