The Evangelist News Edition, May 24, 2023. By Tony Ukpong
“It is always believed that the darkest part of the night is few hours to dawn”.
There is currently uneasy calm at The Pioneer Newspaper, the only state government owned Newspaper, which is now lying in state for final Interment.
Our investigation has revealed that trouble started when the corporation’s general manager and chief executive officer, Mr Umoette Umoette demoted two senior staffers of company and promoted their immediate juniors to take over from them with immediate effect.
Those affected by the demotion include the company secretary and the marketing manager, (names delibrately withheld.
It was further gathered that the demoted company secretary, who was on salary grade level 17, is now the marketing manager, while his predecessor is on level 14.
In the same vain, the marketing manager, who is demoted to Special projects coordinator, was on level 14 before taking over from a level 09 officer.
Our correspondent reports that this development is causing very serious ripples across the management of the ailing corporation which is facing its worst of times under the present management, under Mr Umoette Umoette, allegedly imported from Lagos in the early days of the outgoing administration, under Mr Udom Emmanuel.
Findings further revealed that the affected staffers were not issued queries or reprimanded prior to their demotions, last week.
A few staff who volunteered to speak on the matter but on grounds of anonymity disclosed that the action of the general manager was a nullity and completely against the civil service norms as his decision was entirely unilateral and a personal vendetta.
“The Pioneer Newspaper Coporation has not been the same again since the arrival of the present general manager in 2015, before his arrival, we used to run three separate editions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but today, the paper only manage to publish only once a week and sometimes bye weekly”.
We are hereby appealing to the incoming administration to endeavour to appoint the next chief executive officer of the Newspaper from within and not from outside.
It is also our plea that the government under Pastor Umo Bassey Eno should plan to set up a Board for the Corporation to checkmate the activities of the management”, adding that, for the 8-years Gov Udom Emmanuel has been on the saddle, The Pioneer Newspapers has been operating without a Board, a development they described as very strange.
Efforts to reach the general manager proved abortive as his phone was permanently switched off.
The question on the lips of many people now is, “could this be a sabotage of a sort”, against the incoming dispensation?