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Covid-19 Hits Media Houses Hard



Covid-19 Hits Media Houses Hard

…As Punch Writes Staff, Hints On Possible Lay-Offs

…Shuts Down Sports Newspaper

…Nigeria Info Asks Workers To Embark On Leave Without Pay

…TVC, The Nation Slash Salaries Across Board

By Augustine Akhilomen

These are not the best of times for the media industry in Nigeria as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on businesses across the country.

The five-week lockdown, coupled with the skeletal opening on Monday, May 4 has largely affected revenue from copy sales and adverts, forcing many newspapers to reduce their pagination, while other media organisations compelled majority of their staff to work from home.

But some media organisations have began to give their workers subtle hint of taking drastic steps to stay afloat in light of their revenue shortfall.

PUNCH Newspapers Nigeria Limited on Monday wrote to its employees to brace up for some austerity measures as the ravaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the company.

The letter, signed by it’s Managing Director and Editor in Chief, Mr. Ademola Osinubi told workers that part of the measures will be a radical reduction in pagination and permission for staff to stay off work without salary, an euphemism for staff lay-offs.

According to Osinubi, the sports newspaper in its stable had already been shut down, perhaps owing to the fact that all sporting activities worldwide have been grounded since the last week of March.

The Editor In Chief in the two-page memo received by the employees, said the company would engage in a reengineering, which according to him had already begun even before the pandemic.

Part of the memo titled, “These Trying Times And The Days Ahead read: “I am not at liberty to disclose all of the measures that the management has taken so far,” he said.

“But the ones that could be made public include an immediate reduction in print pagination; staff furloughing to comply with government and expert advisories on social distancing; the temporary shutdown of the sports newspaper; and significant financial reengineering,” he added.

The memo, Thepledge learnt has thrown staff of the company into panic mode. Some of the staff were in April told to stay away from work while some others were asked to proceed on their annual leaves.

PUNCH, however paid such staff their full April salaries, while they await the management’s next move in the subsequent months ahead.

Like PUNCH, AIM Group, owners of Wazobia FM, Cool FM, Arewa And Nigeria Info also wrote to its staff asking workers who have been working from home since the lockdown to embark on leave, albeit without any salaries going forward.

A letter by the Head, Human Resources, Oyinkan Adeniyi read, “In line with the Federal Government’s announcement of the framework of gradually easing lockdown measures in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective Monday, May 4, 2020, which allows for companies to resume back to work, howbeit skeletally, the Management of AIM Group has had to weigh a lot of options that can be taken during this trying times to minimize the negative impact the pandemic has had on our operations, ensure the majority of our staff are retained while still meeting up with financial obligations to you our highly esteemed employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.

“Management has reached a very difficult position of placing all staff who are currently at home, not working since the commencement and who will not be working now that skeletal services will be commencing on a Furlough (unpaid leave) until things normalize.

“This means that while staff who are home now and not working remain our staff, they will not be paid salaries for the period not worked and until they are recalled back to the office,”

“Management understands everyone’s plight at this time but our hands are tied and we will not hesitate to review this position taken as soon as the economy of the company improves,”

Thepledge also learnt that about 25 persons have been disengaged from the employment of the organisation across the country during the period of the lockdown.

In a related development, the Chief Executive Officer of Television Continental (TVC) Andrew Hanlon has reportedly announced slash of salaries of staff of the organization to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus on the media sector.

In a broadcast message to the staff on Monday Hanlon stated as follows:

“Broadcasters across the world are battling with losses. In order to save jobs and not lay off any staff, I regret to inform you that we’ve been forced to reduce our pay.

“Staff earning N80,000 will get a 5% reduction, those earning between N80,000 and N200,000 will get a 10% cut.

“Senior staff earning between N200,000 and N400,000 will get 15 per cent while those earning N400 thousand to N1 million will get a 20 per cent reduction.

“The management team and director get 25% cut while the CEO also gets a reduction.

“ Pension, transport, accommodation allowances remain the same without any cut.”

Apparently taking the same path, Vintage Press Limited, publishers of the Nation Newspapers has already met with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) chapel official to discuss the financial situation of the company and the need for a pay cut to sustain its operations.

It was agreed that there will be a percentage reduction based on the salary scale of the staff with the junior staff parting with the least and management the highest.

The staff are eagerly awaiting their April salary to know exactly how much they will have to sacrifice until the financial situation of the company improves.

There are also fears among The Nation staff that management might also be considering laying off some staff to also cushion the effect of the lockdown.

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2023: I Will Restore Unity, Bring Sense Of Belonging To All Nigerians, Atiku Vows As He Emerges PDP Presidential Flagbearer



…Tinubu Congratulates Atiku, Welcomes Former VP To Presidential Contest

…Worthy Candidate, Says Shehu Sani

North Will Always Outsmart Southern Nigeria On Election’, Nigerians React

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has pledged to unify the country following his victory in the party’s primary poll. 

Atiku, a former vice president, polled 371 votes to beat his closest rival and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who scored 237 votes during the exercise held on Saturday in Abuja. Saraki polled 70 votes. Emmanuel (38), Mohammed (38), Anyim Pius Anyim (14), Mrs Tari Diana Oliver (1), and Sam Ohuabunwa (1) shared the remainder of the valid votes.

“I pledge to unify this country,” he said in his victory speech. “That’s why I refer to myself as a unifier.

“The reason I feel that unity is important is because APC has disunited Nigerians completely,” the PDP chieftain added. “I will work to restore unity and bring a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.”

The Adamawa-born politician accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of mismanaging the country but promised to fix the economy and tackle Nigeria’s security challenges.

“The PDP made Nigeria one of the most prosperous countries in Africa,” Atiku said. “We implemented economic reforms. The APC wiped out all those gains.”

Meanwhile, National Leader of All Progressives Congress and frontline presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has congratulated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for emerging as the flag bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, following the primary conducted at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Saturday.

Tinubu commended Atiku for his patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s progress.

Tinubu also congratulated the other contestants for the orderly and peaceful way they conducted themselves and for pledging to rally round the winner, in the true spirit of democratic sportsmanship.

He expected the former Vice-president , who was also the 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP, to be his worthy opponent, by the Grace of God and the support of APC delegates, in the coming 2023 President election.

The APC National Leader said Atiku’s victory didn’t come as a surprise to Nigerians because of his vast experience as a statesman and veteran of many presidential contests from 1993.

While welcoming the PDP candidate to the race, Tinubu added that the coming election should be about issues that will improve the quality of life of Nigerians; bring peace, progress, political stability and solve myriad of sociopolitical challenges and insecurity currently facing the country.

“I welcome the victory of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the just concluded primary. I look forward to squaring up with him as a worthy opponent in the coming election. I have known the former Vice President as a formidable politician and a patriot who believes in the unity and progress of our dear country.

“ As we move further into the election season, I charge the PDP presidential candidate and all political actors across Party lines that we should make this election season one that is devoid of bitterness, rancour and strife.

“We should make our campaigns peaceful and issue based. Election season should be a festival of ideas that will uplift our country and improve the living condition of all our people.

“Unfortunately for the PDP, its candidate will be burdened to explain why Nigerians should give it another opportunity, after squandering 16 years at the central government, without much to show”.

“Nigerians are yet to forget the national ruin and mismanagement of our country for 16 years by successive PDP administration and this bad memory will dog the campaign of the PDP Candidate”

“ Nevertheless, I once again congratulate our former Vice President for his victory in his party’s primary.”

In the same vein, former Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani has reacted to the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 presidential election.

Reacting to the development in a tweet on Sunday morning, Sani congratulated Abubakar for emerging as the winner of the contest.

The PDP chieftain and governorship aspirant was also at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, the venue of the PDP Presidential primary.

He wrote: “Congratulations to Atiku Abubakar.”

Also, Nigerians on social media have, however, reacted to Atiku’s victory as they expressed their different views.

One Yinkuzeh [@Yinkuzeh71] wrote: “PDP produced Atiku. Delegates can give him the ticket. But will his own kinsmen who are currently suffering under a fulani leadership elect another fulani man as president? He might end up a miscalculation on the part of Pdp.

On his part, PhilCollins_LFC [@PhilColins_O] said: “The North will almost always outsmart Southern Nigeria on election matters. Imagine Tambuwal waiting until the last minute to step aside for Atiku. Wike was busy attacking Peter Obi. APC is likely to go the same way except they learn from this. Meanwhile, #PeterObi to the rescue.”

A netizen, Amalinze the Cat [@DominicNonso96] accused Wike of hating on everybody. He said: [Wike hates everybody. And feels he can’t be touched. After 2023 handover, em go see something.

“Atiku would definitely pick a South Southern person Sha.”

Congratulating Atiku, one ZAKARI ALFA [@zakarialfa2024] said: “God Almighty Allah has done it for Nigeria and Nigerian as Atiku is officially declared the candidate of PDP for the next presidential election. Congratulations to all of us Nigerian.”


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Counting Of Votes Commences As PDP Elects 2023 Presidential Candidate



Voting has ended in the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the emergence of the 2023 presidential candidate of the party.

The delegates from Abuja were the last to cast their votes last at the Abuja National Stadium venue of the PDP special national convention.

Next up will be the sorting and counting of votes.

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I Warned Nigerians Against Voting For Buhari In 2014 – Fayose



The former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Saturday reiterated that he warned Nigerians against voting for President Muhammadu Buhari In 2014.

Fayose, who said this during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Convention in Abuja, said he had been vindicated by happenings in the country since Buhari assumed office in 2015.

The ex-governor is one of the 13 aspirants vying for the PDP presidential ticket at the convention.

He said: “Let me remind you that if I were to be a prophet, I will be making a lot of money. I told you if Buhari was elected and he was indeed elected, he has nothing to offer and the All Progressives Congress (APC) never meant well for the people.

“I want to remind you that I was a two-term governor of Ekiti State and defeated two incumbents at two different attempts, which means if given this opportunity, I will defeat anyone brought forward by President Buhari in a landslide victory.

“Let me remind you that I have a penchant for defeating incumbents.

“Today, I am calling on all of you to equally remember that the PDP should be in the bigger picture. The PDP should be the party, not what we want to tear into pieces. Whoever becomes the flag bearer, we should be ready to work with him. Power comes only from God.”

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