by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
JOS: The Plateau Publishing Company, the Nigeria Standard, has celebrated 50 years of its establishment, and many people, who passed through the PPC, came together for a re-union, with the ‘Keeping the Founding Vision’ alive.
Chairman of Planning Committee of the occasion, Matthew Kulu, said “Many people, who passed through PPC, have excelled in their various endeavours after leaving the place, adding that that, many of the people trace their successes in their endeavours in later years to the sacrifices and services they rendered, while in PPC.
“To many, PPC was a training ground, which prepared them for challenges they overcame in later years. PPC announced many people to the world of journalism.
Thank God, many of them are still alive, with some fully retired from public service because of age and, while we were serving or working here, we established good working and/or inter-personal relationship with one another.
“The idea just came to me that, perhaps, we could re-establish contacts with one another to re-live the Good Old Days; and then reach out to a few people and introduce the idea,” he stressed.
Mr. Kulu noted that, “It’s worth talking about the significance of the re-union programme to be organisation, because the rich historical roles The Nigeria Standard played to the people and governments of the Middle-Belt region of Nigeria could not have been possible without the people, who toiled day-and-night to see that the newspaper was on the newsstands every day of the year competing favourably with other great newspapers.
“In those days, it was often a source of pride and fulfillment to us listening to the reviews of editorials on Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria with The Nigeria Standard featuring prominently every day. The editorials added to the national discourse on issues of national and international importance,” he stated.
“We have, therefore, made effort to see that we bring those people, who made what The Nigeria Standard Newspapers was in those days, to the premises of the organization. Is this not great? Our coming together after decades should serve as a morale booster to those, who are currently working here.”
According to him, “The Nigeria Standard is a newspaper that played a great role to the socio-economic and political development of the Middle-Belt region, and we can never take that away from the newspaper.
“Fifty years down the line, the newspaper is still there and it is, however, not as vibrant as it used to be. May be, age is catching up with it, but we truly thank God for The Nigeria Standard.”
He hoped and prayed that, the State Government will accord it more attention, saying, “In every age are roles that an organization such as this can and should play. In spite of whatever challenges, we believe the newspaper still has a great role and service to render.
“We notice there are some challenges hindering or hampering the smooth running of services it should be rendering, such as operational vehicles and printing materials. Many newspapers are still selling like hot-cake on the newsstands,” he lamented.
The Planning Committee chairman noted that, “The Nigeria Standard used to be the darling newspaper across most especially the Middle-Belt region, the Northern Nigeria and, indeed, across the length and breadth of the country. This can still be re-enacted with more resources and attention paid to the organization.
“A total overhaul of the Plateau Publishing Corporation, PPC, publishers of the Nigerian Standard Group of Newspapers, to restore it to its past glory is underway,” he revealed.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, (represented by the State Commissioner for Information, Dan Manjang), stated that “Government would do all within its power to resuscitate the Corporation,” and called for its patronage to ensure its sustainability.
He said, “The welfare of staff – current and past – would be prioritized, and a committee would soon be set up to look into issues of outstanding gratuities of retirees.”
Also speaking, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, commended PPC staff for keeping the newspaper alive.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry for Information and Tourism, Barrister Yusuf Musa, the governor described THE NIGERIA STANDARD as a “training ground, especially in journalism profession.”
The governor was presented with an award “For State Government’s Engagement Of Former PPC Staffs.” Earlier, General Manager of the Newspaper, Boniface Gwotbit, appreciated the present administration for installing the new “Cityline” Machine.
His Royal Highness, Odyong Nyankpa, Barrister Joel Aninge, urged the government to also look into the welfare of current and retired staffs, in order to put the legacy standard building into active use to prevent it from collapsing.
Highlights of the event were the presentation of a posthumous award to late J.D. Gomwalk, former Governor of Plateau State, some past and serving governors, and deserving past and present staffs of the Corporation. General Manager of NBS, Flash Aloko, Permanent Secretary Head of Service, Abigail Waya, Alfred Akwe, APC Secretary Aliyu Bello, Dogo Shamma, Allanana Attah, Patricia Akawu, and Veronica Ogbole anda host of others were amongst those that attended the “reunion” from Nasarawa State.