By CrossRiverWatch Admin
One of the greatest feeling we can attain on this plain is that of joining hands with God to pro-create.
Pro-creation not just in child birth or consequences of pollination but also in the birthing and grooming of an idea.
Ideas are fluid. No one really owns any. Once your antenna is able to grab one flying by and you are able to process it and bring it to fruition, take a break, give credit to those who deserve it and sip a drink.
CrossRiverWatch just completed 6 years old and we have entered our 7th year.
But that’s not the gist. The gist is that I have a testimony. Yes! A very big testimony.
CrossRiverWatch is not yet big. But it’s already doing big things. I have waited for this long to tell this testimony because statistics say 70% of small companies in Nigeria, die within 5 years of operation.
I waited so we can beat that mortality period and earn our bragging rights, going forward.
It can be very suffocating when you are a journalist and you cannot find news from where you come from.
Close our eyes and imagine it. You write news about other places, but have no idea what is happening where you come from.
That was my irony as a journalist. It perturbed me so much that we could barely get information from my home state unless there was carnival, Obudu mountain race or disaster.
I knew we had 18 LGAs but did not even know the names of some of the LGAs e.g. Biase, Akpabuyo, unless I consulted Google or other sources.
For yours sincerely, this is a major culprit for the lacklustre attitude of our people towards development.
It was clear to me that we needed to expand the media space in the state to embolden and increase the voice of the people and accountability from government.
What was immediately not clear was how exactly to go about it because of lack of resources and the peculiar nature of our state. But the work had to be done somehow.
With the training and background I was coming from, it was clear I will be an irritant. But that is a familiar terrain for me.
I have been an activist working in Lagos and was coming from SaharaReporters with years of experience and encouragement from my boss, Sowore.
I know substantially about how to break fresh grounds, how to organize, how to thread on new frontiers, how to chat new paths and if you like, how to find small trouble.
I am not lying. I know the things that I already know. There are others I am still learning and there are those I can only wish I knew.
Determined to try out the idea in our state, on the 27 of August 2012, I launched CrossRiverWatch.com
This was a product of prolonged plannning with a couple of friends and brothers.
Ironically, the life wire and chief consultant was an Ibo man. My good friend, Charles Kalu, then News Manager, Radio Continental, Lagos.
The hard copy was a burden he told me.
“Agba let’s abandon the hard copy or make it periodical. The cost of printing 5000 copies and moving them from Lagos to Calabar and not being able to even distribute half of that is bad economics.
“That cost if spent on the new media will reach millions of younger people and targeted state actors.” Charlie argued.
I no dey carry last, I will usually come in fierce defence.
“Internet penetration is just 13% in our state from available stats Charlie.
“Let’s not start what will fail. If it were Lagos were there is internet every where, that suggestion will make sense but Cross River state is still far o.”
“Agba! I am not asking you. I am telling you. Let’s try it and give it time. I no from your state but I know that you know how to do website, you have experience with online media, you are from Cross River state, you are a professional, you don’t have money now to start a terestial station but you have capacity and experience to begin an online medium that can become the leading media in the state as internet penetration increases. So everything is complete. Start!
I just answered, Ok sir!
Six years after that seed was planted, I look back during this anniversary and can count some of the things that this seed has engendered and give glowing tribute to the men and women, boys and girls, who have allowed me to stand on their shoulders.
In 6 years;
* We have opened up the media space in Cross River state and emboldened new thinking in the use of social media by citizens to strengthen accountability in our state. The space was closed before our arrival.
*We have transferred knowledge and built capacity for practioners, both directly and indirectly in Cross River state and beyond.
*We have established our media organization as a credible source of information and data source about Cross River state.
*We currently enjoy the largest following than any other Cross River based online medium.
*We pride ourselves in knowing that our reports and feature articles are influencing how stakeholders both in and out of government, are making decisions in our state.
*We have grown even bigger and are now also into automobile marketing after signing a direct dealership with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing.
*The company has now also expanded into real estate after acquiring 20 hectares of land for the, Paradise Estate, where we are building pre-fabricated houses for sale.
*The company is now also deeply involved in creating innovative solutions from our technology hub, TechShack, where young programmers are designing cutting edge apps and bots.
*We currently have 20 people working in our office, plus 2 youth corpers and three persons from Npower.
*Hundreds of documented actions have been taken by relevant agencies following leads from our reports.
*We have built ourselves into one of the most compact and effective media team in the state and have become the envy of so many and the toast of many more.
*We have made a lot of mistakes too along these years. But honestly, I can’t remember any that was deliberate or conspired. They were all part of the learning curve.
Nevertheless today, when important people in Cross River want to talk, they talk to CrossRiverWatch.
When news break, Cross Riverians home and abroad rush to CrossRiverWatch to confirm.
That’s because some men and women have been working really hard. While some joined us and later moved on.
As we write, young men and women brimming with ideas and hope and energy keep trudging on. That’s the spirit of #TeamCrossRiverWatch.
The best team I have worked with. The energy is positive. The combination is superb. This team makes my work a walk-over.
I don’t know where to begin from to mention all their names but just come to our office and see them on duty. Very deligent and hopeful.
Our office is so full of love. The ambience is suitable for learning. Just don’t be lazy and slotful.
I think every team member has an idea of where we are headed.
I paint that picture everyday for everyone in our meetings and try to make everyone locate himself or herself within the big picture.
For those who wish us dead, we understand your pain but unfortunately, you can’t do abortion after delivery. We have crossed the Rubicon.
We give all the glory to God as we look ahead. We also give all our appreciation to a very supportive public that has kept faith with us and trusted our effort.
I urge you to expect a lot more. Expect so much because those guys in the office say my dreams are not big enough.
Simply implying that the team is getting stronger, the vision is enlarging and the new steps will be bolder and greater.
Thank you and God’s blessings.
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