By Richard Abu
The Managing Director of The AUTHORITY Newspapers Mr. Madu Onuorah, says that the medium is standing strong despite the hazardous operational environment because of its allegiance to Nigeria.
He also attributed the impact the company has made in less than three years of its existence to God’s help and a dedicated and loyal workforce.
Onuorah spoke on Thursday in his welcome address at this year’s AUTHORITY Newspapers Award for Excellence and Good Governance in Abuja.
At the well-attended event, Onourah said that the presence of the dignitaries was a proof of their support for the newspapers.
He highlighted the challenges of running a modern newspaper with all the transformation of high-quality journalism and in an environment filled with sharp reduction in print media readership ratio, dwindling purchasing power of the newspaper buying publics, and proliferation of social media platforms.
According to him, The AUTHORITY hit the newsstand on October 15, 2015, as a daily, online and hard copy, publishing The AUTHORITY (Daily), The AUTHORITY (Sunday) and The AUTHORITY (Saturday) and with strong online presence.
He said that awardees were being celebrated for impacting Nigeria and Nigerians in their various endeavours.
Onuorah added that, “we are celebrating God’s great hand upon us. With little budget and publicity, we sneaked into the market at inception. But God blessed our fledgling efforts and we were accepted in so short a time. It is so glaring that God just lifted us. And that is why we are still standing tall today, in circumstances that would have killed very well-funded newspapers. The grace of God upon us is such that we are still pleasantly surprised about how a newspaper being run on a string budget could still be standing tall and solid and in a depressed economic environment.
“The journey to establish The AUTHORITY Newspapers would not have been possible without the vision of our Chairman/Publisher, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah. He has been the motivating force that pushed everyone to bring out his or her best, making us to have the can-do, never-say-die spirit.
“Surprisingly, he gave us the free hand to employ all the staff members needed for the publication. And he has never interfered with the operations and editorial direction or production. We thank him. Even though he is today in Russia as part of the officials of FIFA, CAF and NFF delegations, he is here with us in spirit,” he said.
Onuorah said that The AUTHORITY’s focus has been how to give to “Nigeria a platform that will impact power to the powerless and to reassure Nigerians that Nigeria belongs to all the component parts of the federation and therefore are entitled to every right and responsibility that comes with that. For us at The AUTHORITY, this our dear native land Nigeria, must be where truth and justice reign; where no man is oppressed; where peace, security and unity is the norm; where even though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand.
“We have established that the newspapers, while being a platform for public service, need not be a political tool. We have run this newspapers strictly as a business, putting to action our fundamental position that you can’t be a successful newspaper unless you are successful as a business. So, we owe no allegiance to any one individual or political party.
“Our allegiance is to Nigeria, a Nigeria that openly and undeniably strives to provide its citizens with affordable education, healthcare and welfare; a Nigeria where citizens trust their governments and the confidence gap between the governments and the governed is narrowed such that citizens don’t fall into despair,” he said.
Onuorah told the audience that running the newspaper has not been a tea party, “as we have had to work, most times, in very excruciating situations. But we have learnt that our real challenge is not eliminating every uncomfortable circumstance from our lives, but to trust our sovereign, wise, good, and powerful God in the midst of every situation.
“As John MacAuthur noted, things that might trouble us … can actually be sources of strength, not weakness. Our story at The AUTHORITY is the story of never giving up, the story of undiluted focus to our goal “no matter what.” We resolved early to keep up, keep going and moving ahead. We either do this or we go down. As you can see, we are moving assuredly forward and upward.
“I salute the staff members of the newspaper, who without their strength in the face of pains, this newspaper brand would have gone under. Our greatest collateral in this business has been the men and women who have been part of this lean but lethal media organisation. Right from day one, there was no doubt that all were willing to pay the price and spend the long hours needed to make the newspaper work. This shows that from onset, we’ve been blessed with one of the most committed and loyal group of journalists ever assembled. And as we battle to survive and succeed both as a professional brand and as a business, we know that integrity is major platform, knowing that when money finishes, integrity continues to work for you,” he said.
He said that the medium had being very objective in its reportage, adding that, “we live by our name. We don’t report anything until you are sure of it. We don’t publish reports over which we have to apologise later. Through the years, we thank God that our name, The AUTHORITY, has remained unblemished. We have indeed justified it through every report we published.”