By Michael Nnebife
An elder statesman and public policy analyst, Mr Polycarp Onwubiko, has advised the Anambra State House of Assembly to wade into the order of the state Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, for the shutting down of the state’s newspaper, the National Light, for the overall interest of Mass Communication students and the local information need of Anambra people.
Mr Onwubiko, who gave the advice in a chat with the press in Awka, argued that the newspaper, as a creation of the state assembly, should not be killed by the simple communication channel of letter writing by a civil servant without first approaching the assembly with the reason to that effect.
The policy analyst said, ‘For Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra State, to take steps to close the 30-year-old state owned newspaper to use the expansive premises for his so-called Recreational Facilities, amounts to killing upcoming writers, columnists and authors from Anambra.
‘Students of Mass Communication at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam; Federal Polytechnic, Ok, among others, troop to the National Light Newspapers for three to one year industrial attachment and practical experience in the production of newspaper.
‘Sadly, this has not impressed Professor Soludo, but he rather wants the National Light Newspaper premises for his fancied Recreational Facilities Centre and other gibberish he has thought about as rationale for closing an educational institution like a newspaper.
‘It is astonishing that instead of repositioning the National Light Newspaper with somebody who knows the essence of state government owned newspaper, Governor Soludo singlehandedly, without even the support of one Hon commissioner in the EXCO, cleverly sidelined the Anambra State House of Assembly who made the Edict on Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, ANPC and used the malleable and Civil Service Communication channel – Secretary to the State Government and Head of Service, to write a letter to the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, ANPC, to wind down the operation of the newspaper because it is not economically viable and moribund.
‘Anambra State House of Assembly should rise to the occasion and stop Governor Soludo from strangulating the state government owned newspaper, National Light, which the Honourable House had in 1993 made the Edict that established ANPC.
‘It is trite to advise the House to request Governor Soludo to forward a letter to the Hon House, giving his reason to kill the educational institution like the National Light Newspaper,’ he said.
The public policy analyst said the National Light Newspaper must not be killed, but should be reorganized with sufficient annual budget provisions and headed by somebody who knew what state government owned newspaper was all about.
He said some of the managing directors and chief executive officers deviated from the essence of state government owned newspaper, hence, what he described as the rubbish that had been produced which made people not to patronize the newspaper.
‘The essence of the state government owned newspaper is to capture the socio-economic activities of all the communities, ministries, agencies, and parastatals in the state, which nationwide circulated newspapers cannot do,’Onwubiko added.