Forty years tomorrow, the first edition of The Nigerian Tide, today’s The Tide, flag ship of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation was formally launched by the First Military Governor of Old Rivers State, Lt Commander A.P Diete-Spiff in Lagos.
Copies of the first edition actually got to the News Stands on December 4, 1971. Subsequently, The Tide became a bi-weekly on May 24, 1974 and later, a daily with the inclusion of the Sunday Tide. Under The Tide stable were magazines like the Business Tide that later, became African The Tide.
The founding fathers of Rivers State were very clear on the need for a newspaper. Being a people from a minority area, the founding fathers wanted a voice for the state. They also wanted, to mobilize the people for economic advancement.
In order for The Tide to seek and protect the interest of the people and government of Rivers State, the corporation was supported with a well equipped commercial printing press that ensured that the corporation was not hindered by finance.
In 40 years, The Tide has gone through good and bad times, but its mandate has never been compromised. Being one of the first state owned newspapers in Nigeria, The Tide has stayed alive even when nearly all the other state owned newspapers went under.
It is therefore only expedient that the management and staff of the corporation would take this time to celebrate the sustenance of the newspaper and thank God for His grace through the years. The Corporation must also take this time to re-position the newspaper houses for the future.
As a way of consolidating on the gains of the newspaper, The Tide has rolled out a four-day plan to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. During the period, there would be exhibitions, landmark lectures and gala nite. The first Military Governor, now the Amayanabo of Twon-Brass, HRM Alfred P. Diete-Spiff is expected to speak.
No doubt, The Tide will hope to see her friends at this occasion. Although, quite a number of persons and organisations are partnering with The Tide in this anniversary, the paper would want to draw courage and inspiration from the solidarity of a grateful State.
There are truly a lot of reasons why the government and people of Rivers State should celebrate The Tide. It is a thing of honour that till date, The Tide is the most trusted and authoritative voice of the Rivers project. It is also listed as one of the major African newspapers on the internet. It is perhaps the first Nigerian newspaper to attain archival capability on the internet.
The Tide has in addition to keeping faith with its mandate, facilitated the training of high level manpower in the media industry. It is the first state newspaper to go daily on colour. The Tide has continued to excel in the impossible through the publication of a daily newspaper without Rotary machine.
Perhaps one area that The Tide cannot be appreciated enough is that of serving as the link between the government and the governed on the one hand and the people and the rest of the world. The Tide has in no small way contributed to good governance by advising and holding the government accountable.
It is also gratifying that quite a number of institutions and individuals patronise The Tide as the paper of first choice. The volunteering of information through press interviews and placement of advertisements actually kept the doors of the newspaper open.
At 40, The Tide is no longer a kid; its network, experience and even service have increased a thousand fold. Its plan for the future is even more challenging. This is one of the issues the anniversary will help to shape and colour in the interest of even the last Rivers man.
As solidarity messages and partnership offers pour in towards the anniversary, The Tide can only return praise to God and extend its loyalty and un-alloyed gratitude to the government and people Rivers State for actually keeping the publications afloat.
This is another opportunity for the media to celebrate itself. It is time all the staff of the corporation past and present and all the people who have ridden on the pages of The Tide to glory to come together and say thanks to God and to say yes to even a brighter future.