Today marks the fifth anniversary of Sir Chuka Nnabuife’s resumption as the chief executive of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), KINGSLEY UGWU probes his impact on the newspaper house so far, he writes
NATIONAL Light Newspaper has had a good run up the ladders over the years but it was not until 2014 that its feathers like the proviabial eagle glowed in golden hue.
This became possible with the arrival of a man who at home was little known but his exploits in Nigerian media development has gathered tremendous weight and recognition across the country – the enigma with so much attributes rolled in his personality,
Chuka Nnabuife is the porter whose creative ingenuity is taking National Light to new frontiers. Today is an anniversary of the the arrival of this rare gem to the corporation five years ago.
Nnabuife, whose versatility and plethora of abilities had never been hidden to discerning minds made his official assumption of office as Managing Director, CEO, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC) and Editor-In-Chief in National Light newspapers on July 11, 2014, having received his letter of credence from His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano to that effect on July 1, 2014.
Without much ado, he hit the ground running. Immediately, innovations usher paradigm shift from the mundane lackadaisical work attitude of some lazy workers that inhibited productivity, to a more modern and corporate private sector-like initiative that spurs hardwork and rewards excellence.
Not many in the workforce embraced the new order at the time but he pushed his policies with affable prod and even the most unwilling of the oppositions saw reason(s) to fall in line; as the best for Ndi-Anambra remained the creed, if one must be in ANPC.
The physical manifestation of the transformation his tenure offers made its first clear signal with the emergence of National Light newspaper in a new masthead and redesign of the entire body, as well as layout of the paper.
The former dull green coloured masthead was changed to more attractive bright red over white. Securing approval for this change is usually not a mince meal but he ensured it came into fruition within four months of his assumption of office.
Beyond just changing the masthead, National Light has gained great flesh in content and direction that its readers and Ndi-Anambra can be proud of.
To appreciate this quintessential genius and his philosophy, a deep appraisal of the new and repackaged paper shows his intellectual steep, high sense of art and wide outreach within and across South East which have given National Light newspaper the third leg upon which it sits to comfortably compete with other leading newspapers across Nigerian newsstands is necessary.
Among key developments in ANPC within the last five years is the digtisation of operations in the newspaper house. Through this, computers surfaced in the newsrooms and offices; all the three titles of the National Light group of newspapers now have daily updated websites and social media publications.
All the papers have electronic publications (e-newspapers) and the workers have their own internal online channels of interactive communication. A building dedicated for online publishing and commercial enterprises named ANPC ICT and Enterprise Center was built in 2018.
Nnabuife’s innovativeness has also brought business diversification and vibrance to ANPC. He has transformed the tickets within the bush-swooned newspaper house into a horticultural splendor with parks, walkpaths and concert stages.
The courtyard, now known as ANPC Garden is now state of natural beauty where people rush to for photo Ops, sit-outs and their events.
One of the corporation’s hitherto abandoned rotary press halls have been transformed into a cosy event hall. The entire corporation now wears a new visage.
Today’s National Light newspaper has its root to the Daily Star of the old Anambra State. With the creation of new Anambra in August 1991, it metamorphosed into the National Light and was published alongside Spokesman and National Light on Sunday.
The Spokesman was modeled after the ideals of the doyen of African journalism and great son of Anambra, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s newspaper which circulated in 1958. The Spokesman and National Light on Sunday did not last long.
However, Nnabuife now props National Light to continue its growth from where the Azikiwe’s and old Anambra State’s publication stopped.
The National Light newspaper has faired well, having survived the storms of untimely ends which some other publications had experienced in the past. Credit should go to successive Anambra State Governments and managing directors that fought to keep the publication afloat till its new era.
Commendations should go to the first military administrator, Col Joseph Abulu, for effecting smooth transition back from Enugu; first civilian governor of the state, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Chinwoke Mbadinuju, for their immense contributions to keep the publication afloat.
Chris Ngige, despite his short spell in governance showed promising sparks towards keeping National Light’s flame aglow. His successor, Peter Obi did the much he could. Bigger thanks should however go to the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano for his outstanding commitment to placing National Light on a height that will be the envy of its contemporaries.
The art is unfolding and the light is already beaming in radiant glow. In the view of Nnabuife, his predecessors, former managing directors deserve encomium for their doggedness:
JoeBel Muolokwu, Comrade Bosa, Felix Odiari, Obi Nwude who all made significant contributions at their various management times that made the paper survive severe turbulence to win it “the longest thriving state owned newspaper in Nigeria’s” slogan.
By and large, the newspaper has struggled for space in giving Ndi Anambra dominant voice in the socio-political climes and therefore, needs more backings from prominent and afluent persons of Anambra extract. Ndi-Anambra should appreciate their product and show more commitment to upholding their treasured commodity.
The deficiencies and funding lacks that had characterised the corporation’s existence over the years exposes a weakness the Newspaper has to surmount. This has greatly robbed off on the newspaper for wider audience and lulled delivery on projected growth.
However, a major feat of the last five years of Nnabuife is that the cynicism that once trailed the newspaper is now turning into strong commendations due to amazing grassroots driven ideals floated by the current management.
He offers a fresh media product that Ndi-Anambra should as a matter of obligation, wittingly or unwittingly key into directions of current developments and making contributions in the people’s affairs.
The robust agenda setting platform that National Light and its subsidiaries provide is a window that brings into mainstream of societal affairs which they cannot afford to undermine.
Indeed, this is where National Light has shown tremendous strength that has launched it into the hearts of both its opponents and supporters alike.
Of course, the accolades that had greeted the successful birthing of the Igbo language arm of the news publication, Ka O Di Taa, the third new title Nnabuife introduced, which made its debut on August 10, 2017 and has begun raking awards even at such infantile stage attests to the wide acceptability of the marketable brand anywhere.
On the heels of Ka O Di Taa, was ‘Light Sport Xtra’, which serves balanced and incisive sports news to sports loving people in and across the state. These are presently at the stables of ANPC with eyes on more.
Perhaps, former House of Assembly member representing Nnewi South 1 Constituency, Kingsley Iruba had a clear foresight on what National Light Newspaper means to Ndi-Anambra when he said during a fact finding visit to the corporation in 2017, ” this is the voice and identity of Ndi-Anambra and we cannot afford to let it go extinct.
The issue of National Light has been discussed in the House and the governor has the full backing of the house to put the establishment at the best level possible.
We are aware of the challenges you are going through and we feel very proud that despite the obvious inadequacies, you have been able to grind out good result.
We will present the report of our findings to the ever listening Governor, Chief Willie Obiano whom I can assure you will do everything within his powers to ensure improved working condition here for better service delivery”
The governor deserves great commendation, first, for his foresight in picking Sir Nnabuife to steer the ship of National Light’s transformation. The legendary reggae crooner, late Bob Marley sang, “who the cap fits, let them wear it.”
National Light newspapers are now gradually growing into big brands in the print media market across Nigeria with honour coming from far beyond South East.
The unique selling point unarguably remains the rich content of grassroots development journalism delivered in simple communication process with appeals to all ages, sex and profession.
It is the obligation of Anambra to hold dear their prized product by showing more concerns and support as it continues to climb the ladder of fame.
It is therefore befitting to recognise the porter who shaped the helmet fit the head. Nnabuife has not only met the target but justified the trust embedded in his appointment. July 11, remains the historic date his ingenuity set to bear down on National Light’s anal and it cannot be wished any less for more of this august July to live with the corporation.