-ACROJ Has Come of Age, says Agba Jalingo-
Agba Jalingo, publisher of CrossRiverWatch and Chairman, Board of Trustees of Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ), has stated that the Association has come of age to the extent that it has opened up the media space in Cross River state for “the good, the bad and the ugly”.
He stated this in a message addressed to members of the Association, as they prepare for a Media Chat with Omoyele Sowore, founder and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Nigeria’s trailblazer in online journalism.
Sowore aspires to contest for Nigeria’s Presidency in the 2019 elections.
While citing Sowore’s strides in Sahara Reporters as an exemplary model of success in online journalism, Agba Jalingo urged members of ACROJ to draw inspiration from there, for similar strides in their respective media platforms.
He said that although ACROJ has achieved its cardinal objective of opening up the media space in Cross River State, the Association is still hungry for growth and positive change.
He said: “As online journalists, there can be no better example of how to make a success of our work than the example #Sowore has set with SaharaReporters.”
“As an Association, we consider it a huge honor to have him be with us on the 24th of this month.
His experience, his modus and most importantly, his business model are crucial components of this work that we look forward to sharing.”
“Cross River is already far ahead of other states in online journalism yet, I am very confident that #Sowore will share some ideas with us that will further strengthen the way we do the practice in our state.”
“Our breakfast meeting with him is particularly targeted at giving us a peep into his business/enterprise model as well as how he has managed to handle political pressure from powerful interests.”
Mr. Jalingo explained that Sahara Reporters does not receive advertisement from government agencies in Nigeria, but stays afloat through funding from donor grants. He encouraged members of the Association to use the opportunity of the forthcoming Media Chat with Sowore to find out how he achieves that feat and similar ones for Sahara Reporters.
Similarly, he enjoined members of ACROJ to remain good custodians of the right to free speech.
He said: “We started with the firm conviction that free speech is not only a right of those who say nice things. Free speech is not only a right for our friends or those who like us. Free speech is not only a right of our ethnic stock. Free speech is not only a right of those who went to school or did not.”
“Rather, free speech includes the right to say nonsense. Free speech is a fundamental human right for both the famous and infamous, male and female, schooled and unschooled, rich and poor, old and young, etc.
Free speech means your enemy has a right to say ‘I don’t like you.’ Free speech includes the right of others to speak ill of you….”
In that vein, he said ACROJ has become “so popular that it is giving some people and even organizations migraine and sleepless nights.”
He described this trend as “the hallmark of growth”, adding that the integrity of members of ACROJ attests to the Association’s credibility.
Thus, the Chairman of ACROJ’s Board of Trustees enjoined members of the Association to maintain that integrity, while reminding them that the Association is a social enterprise that seeks to effect positive change.
According to him, “We actually thought it would take a decade or more for our acronym, ACROJ to stick with Cross Riverians, but in just over three years, ACROJ is everywhere….”
Therefore, he conveyed this message to the public:
“In case you don’t know, add it to your menu when you visit Cross River. Ask of ACROJ. You will hear a story of resilience. A story of co-ordination. A story of determination to alter the c ontours of our narrative. A story of a fervent desire to give our state a voice. A story of hard work.”
“A tale of young men and women, breaking new frontiers and building a structure that will survive many decades in protecting free speech. That is the story of ACROJ.”
“Don’t get it twisted, ACROJ like the name connotes is not a business, so it’s not in competition with any competitor. ACROJ is a social enterprise. We are looking for opportunities to effect change. And those who seek change are never liked by the charlatans.”
“Just dare to make progress in life, like ACROJ is making, those who cannot build anything, will definitely dog after your heels. It’s only where there is stagnation that there won’t be envy. But those who envy others only win diadems of regrets. Those who dig other people’s graves should show us one wealthy grave digger in their village.”
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah