Dear ACROJ, Indeed You Have Come Of Age By Agba Jalingo

Mr. Agba Jalingo, Publisher of CrossRiverwatch

As ACROJ prepare to host #Sowore, we are all very delighted.

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.

It is a fact that SaharaReporters does not accept ads from any government agency in Nigeria. The organization is funded by donor grants.

How did #Sowore build this model?

How is it working for SaharaReporters?

How was he able to convince the funders to buy into his idea?

What are his most strategic sustainability key points?

What is his succession plan?

These are some of the questions that we will be asking #Sowore when he visits the ACROJ office on Thursday.

Those who ask questions gain knowledge. We want to grow. We want to bring change. We want to also make money from the work we are doing, legitimately.

We are happy that ACROJ has come of age. ACROJ has achieved one of its cardinal objective, namely, to open up the media space in Cross River state for both the good, the bad and the ugly.

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 fame and infame, 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.

Like the rain that falls on the roof of the righteous and unrighteous in equal measure, like the Sun that lights the path of the righteous and the unrighteous in equal measure, so does our right to free speech.

I am happy ACROJ has become a talking point. If we weren't making impact, we won't be talked about. We have distinguished ourselves as a group of serious people who know what we are doing.

ACROJ that was registered with the CAC in July 2014 here, under the leadership of our new Chairman, Hope Obeten, has become so popular that it is giving some people And even organizations migraine and sleepless nights. But that is the hallmark of growth.

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.

ACROJ ACROJ ACROJ ACROJ. I wish I was ACROJ. Apart from the governor, and the APC congresses, that's the third most trending topic in Cross River state.

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 contours 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.

Agba Jalingo is the publisher of CrossRiverwatch
Politics 3198196926999788495

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