The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has chided the Godwin Obaseki-led government for renaming The Nigerian Observer Newspaper, The Echo, noting that the move was a destruction of one of the state’s legacies.
In a press statement on Thursday, the Assistant State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Ofure Osehobo, said the state government was not sincere when it closed down the paper in June, promising to reopen it in July.
The statement read in part, “The APC Edo State chapter believes that 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. Edo people thought the move was part of a reform process.
“The party can recall that in a statement, the secretary to his government, 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.’
“But contrary to these promises, the government demolished vital sections of the premises of the newspaper at 24, Airport Road, Benin City, installed a ‘N5-billion’ printing press, redeployed all the workers to the MDAs and created a newspaper called Echo to replace the Nigerian Observer,” he added.
“The Nigerian Observer was set up in 1968 by Late Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, as Administrator of then Mid-West region. It was one of the assets Edo inherited in 1991. The medium’s desecration by Obaseki is not a surprise.
“This is the situation the Edo State government has found itself with the governor demolishing the newspaper, the pride of Edo State, and turning it into an online newspaper.
“The Edo State government has employed a 14-man staff for the Echo and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some unknown media firm for the purpose of daily printing and circulation of the medium on a a Public-Private-Partnership basis.
As a party, we see the action of the governor in saying one thing and doing the opposite,” he added.