The National President of Community Newspaper Publishers Association of Nigeria (CONPAN) and publisher of the Port-Harcourt based Surveillance Newspapers, Chief Monday Wehere has commended the Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for appointing a Special Assistant, on Community Media, describing it as a good omen in the practice of community journalism.
He gave this commendation while inaugurating the Edo State Chapter of CONPAN over the weekend, and lauded Governor Okowa for his recognition of community newspapering and grassroots publications in the State, with the appointment of Mr. Jonathan Onwuka, as his Special Media Assistant (Community Newspapers).
Chief Wehere appreciated Okowa for recognizing the need to create a separate portfolio in his media team for practitioners in the community journalism constituency in Delta State, adding that this act will go a long way in establishing cordial relationships between the Governor and the governed at various grassroots levels in the state.
The founder of CONPAN stated that Governor Okowa understands the importance of community publications and the role they play in grassroots development, hence, he had made this positive overture towards their affairs.
He asked CONPAN members in Delta State not to abuse this privilege, but to see themselves as partners in progress in the state, by joining hands with Mr. Jonathan Onwuka to take the comity of Community Newspapers to higher levels and justify the trust and confidence of the Governor in his visionary initiative to create a portfolio for them.
The National Executive Council, NEC of CONPAN then mandated the South-South Zonal Chairman, Chief Gabriel Awodegha and the Delta State Chairman, Comrade Patrick Ochei to key into this laudable gesture of the Delta State Governor and immediately set-up a committee to conduct election to fill vacant positions in the Delta State Executive Council.
The NEC presided over by Chief Wehere further approved the hosting right of the next NEC meeting for Delta State to be held in July, even as it noted that the meeting would afford the national body, as the umbrella body of all Community Newspapers publishers in the country, the opportunity to appreciate Governor Okowa for his support to community newspapers.
Chief Wehere equally used the opportunity to congratulate all those appointed so far into the Delta State Media team, describing them as seasoned and active practitioners who would bring their wealth of experience and understanding of the Delta terrain to bear on their new responsibilities, and charging them to extend their hand of professional fellowship to Mr. Onwuka in the collective effort to ensure that the media team delivers on its mandate to assist the administration of Governor Okowa achieve its goals of Prosperity to all Deltans, through the SMART agenda.
He then called on the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole to emulate the kind gesture of his Delta State counterpart and appoint an SA on community newspapers, even as he appealed to the Governors of the 36 states of the federation to accommodate the community newspapers, adding that this is the only way to assist those who disseminate government policies and programmes to the grassroots.
The high point of the event was the inauguration of a 10-man Executive Council for Edo State CONPAN, led by Evangelist Francis Akhigbe as Chairman, Felix Umoru as Vice Chairman, Edwin Odeh as Secretary and Stephen Umweni as Treasurer.
Others are Benedict Inuede as Financial Secretary, Rosemary Okoduwa as Internal Auditor Peter Iwelomen as Ex-officio, David Okhide as Ex-officio, Columbus Inuwanu as Ex-officio and Barr. Ifika Ukadike as Legal Adviser.
The National President charged them to be good ambassadors of CONPAN, adding that they should work hard to reconcile all members and strive to be consistent on newsstand.
The South-South Zonal Chairman of CONPAN, Chief Gabriel Awodegha and the Delta State Chairman, Comrade Patrick Ochei who were present at the inauguration also separately gave their goodwill messages. They advised the new Executive to be pro-active in their activities and endeavour to exercise some level of flexibility while dealing with members.