From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A Port Harcourt-based tabloid, Port Harcourt Spectator yesterday, clocked 20 years of publication and regular appearance at the news stand.
Publisher of the newspaper, Pastor Parry Benson, who spoke while presenting an award to the Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Dr Peter Medee, part of activities for the anniversary, narrated that the newspaper stormed the newsstand first in 2000.
He stated that the award was born from the tireless efforts of the Commissioner in his contribution to the development of the state.
Benson said “This newspaper started in the year 2000. It was launched at the integrated cultural center along Abonnema wharf road in Port Harcourt and by the grace of God today we are marking twenty years of being on the need stand.
“So as we mark our twenty years anniversary we write to the honourable commissioner as one of those we would like to honour because as a media house we have been following the activities of the honourable commissioner right from the department of economics in University of Port Harcourt where he has been a lecturer, member of board of trustees of Ogoni trust fund for the UNEP report.
“Haven taken a look at all his activities over these years, we listed him as one of the persons that we would honour to encourage him to do more.
“Honourable commissioner, our interests as journalist is performance, because we know that if you are encouraged you will do more for Rivers State and when you do more, we as citizens of Rivers State will benefit from it.
“We are really impressed with your performance, we have been following media reports of this ministry and for those four cardinal points of you carrying out research in gas, petroleum, natural resources and conflict resolution”, he added.
Responding, Dr Peter Medee, who is also an Associate Professor of Monitoring Economics in UNIPORT, congratulated the management of Port Harcourt Spectator for keeping pace 20 years after.
He urged media houses in the state and those at the national to stop de-marketing Rivers State, but should through their tabloids expose achievements of the state government to the world.
He said “Let me assure you that as a ministry, we will support your publication. This 20 years that you have been on the stand in Rivers State is not a mean feat and I can assure you that if you continue then the sky is your limit.
“One thing I will assure you is that try and depoliticize your publication. Do not allow yourself to be arm twist and hijacked by political parties, stand firm with your professionalism, do the very best you can and report as apt as possible. Like you can see today, his Excellency is doing a lot in Rivers State.
“We need media houses that are pragmatic to report to the world all that is happening in the State. You can see his Excellency, beyond just first term performance he did, very rare will you see a government that at the second term that they are not looking for re-election that they are still preforming. It means that his Excellency was determined to add value to Rivers State and not to come and rule and that’s he has clearly shown.
“So we can assure you that as you continue to propagate and expose the good things that his Excellency is doing in Rivers State, this Ministry would continue to support you. We expect that you will not be part as a newspaper of those media houses that are publishing and de-marketing the state.
“Alot of people are de-marketing Rivers State. When you de-market the state, you are not only doing the Governor or government bad but doing yourself because as you open up Rivers State, more people will come in and as more people come in, your newspaper will sell because there will be increase in demand.
“So I can assure you that we will be there to support you in your publication going forward. This is 20 years, we are looking forward to 50years and we are looking forward to 100,” he added.