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EXCLUSIVE: Covid-19: Punch Sacks Dozens Amid Dip In Revenue



EXCLUSIVE: Covid-19: Punch Sacks Dozens Amid Dip In Revenue

… As Newspaper Struggles To Keep Up With Over N100m Salary Budget

…Sun, Vanguard Ponder Same Option

… Stakeholders Must Overhaul Their Strategy- Ayorinde

By Augustine Akhilomen

Punch Nigeria Limited, publishers of the Punch daily and weekend titles at the weekend sacked more than 80 workers in its employ as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on the media industry in Nigeria.

The decision by the Punch, Thepledge learnt was a hard but necessary one to take in order to reduce its financial burden which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, Mr. Ademola Osinubi had hinted staff what was to come through a memo.

In the lengthy memo circulated to all staff and titled ‘THESE TRYING TIMES AND THE DAYS AHEAD” Osinubi said that the company will have no choice but to adjust all facets of its operations to reflect the realities of the times.

Till date, the Sports Newspaper published by the company has been rested till further notice.

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Thepledge gathered that the newspaper on a monthly basis, spends over N100million to pay salaries of about a thousand workers spread across the country, which it had comfortably done until now.

But the six-week lockdown has dealt a serious blow on its revenue inflow, as businesses and companies who advertise daily in the newspapers were shutdown, forcing the newspaper to reduce its pagination and print run.

Thepledge further gathered from a reliable source that majority of the staff affected were old hands, most of whom have spent between 15 to 20 years in the organisation.

Both junior and senior staff across all departments of the newspaper were affected by the decision, while the lay off is expected to continue in the days ahead.

The management offered the affected staff the opportunity to resign and offered one month salary in lieu of the notice.

This time, Thepledge gathered that some senior managers will be affected as the company battles to shed it’s salary load to about 60 percent.

Efforts to speak with the Managjng Director proved abortive.

Punch, is however, not the only media organisation to have taken these drastic steps to stay afloat.

Vintage Press Limited, publishers of Nation Newspaper had a fortnight ago asked about 50 of it’s editorial staff to embark on a three months leave.

To show empathy, the management said the affected staff will only receive 20 percent of their salaries, while those retained will receive 50 percent and other allowances.

Other newspapers including Guardian and Telegraph opted to slash staff salaries to meet up with April salaries, while they are currently in a fix on how to offset May salaries.

But Thepledge also learnt that in the coming days The Sun and Vanguard newspapers may take the same path as Punch as workers in both newspapers are apprehensive and expecting the worst.

Both newspapers are considering shedding load to be able to operate in this challenging times.

Generally, the media industry is going through what many had termed its toughest time yet.

Experts have suggested that the media, especially the print must begin to rethink it’s strategy to survive post-Covid-19.

Former Punch Editor and Commissioner for Information and Strategy under the Akinwunmi Ambode administration, Mr. Steve Ayorinde in a chat with City People Publisher, Seye Kehinde on Friday on Instagram which focused on the way forward for the media post-lockdown, said though the print media in Nigeria was at its lowest ebb at the moment, it was not yet down and out.

He expressed optimism that the period was a time for stakeholders in the industry including the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), National Union of Printing Publishing and Paper Product Workers (NUPPROW) to sit down and fashion out a workable business strategy going forward.

He said the strategy must not end at surviving after the pandemic, but must be a 10-year workable plan for the new decade that will drive the media business in Nigeria.

According to him, despite the continuous rise of the digital media across the world, the print media has continued to soar in Asia, Europe, adding that media managers must look at what they are doing right and adopt best practices.

But more importantly, the former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in Lagos State said newspapers must do more than report yesterday’s news and channel more energy on getting content that will attract readers to continue to buy newspapers.

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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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