The final meeting at Bonanza Hotel Owerri on 5th October, 2007 where the final decision was taken to publish a not for profit news blog to be known as chidi opara reports was as a result of series of consultations between me and some Journalists based in Owerri.
I knew these Journalists through one of my cousins, Mr. Gerry Ogu, who was then the Imo State chief correspondent of Thisday newspapers.
My interactions with these Journalists made me more aware that most credible news information are not published for flimsy reasons. I remember one particular incident when a well written news release was rejected by all the Journalists because their organizations would not publish news releases by unregistered organizations. I read the news release and felt that it should be published, but I had no control of any news medium. Prior to that time however, I had had stints in journalism.
In 2007, there were just a very few news blogs with editorial focus on Nigeria. Most of them were and still are, based abroad. Anyway, we had and still have the opinion that more would be merrier.
In the meeting in question, it was agreed that the news blog would be named chidi opara reports, since I would be the only known face of the project and as most of the participants also reasoned, "also for the sake of credibility". The other operators, it was agreed, would be faceless volunteers and would be known as network members, principally because, most of them had regular jobs and also because of the need to shield them from pressures. It was also agreed that to save costs and to enjoy the various benefits and protections offered by Google, the news blog would be published on the blogspot sub-domain. The sub-domain is owned by Blogger, which is associated with Google.
We published our first post on the 9th of December, 2007 and have never stopped publishing since then. One of my best moments in the course of publishing chidi opara reports was when a group of Ogoni activists based in South Africa, through a spokesman of theirs, called me last year, pleading that a speech about late Ken Saro-Wiwa which was rejected by major Nigerian news organizations, be considered for publication. The speech was of course considered and published. That speech was subsequently republished with attribution to chidi opara reports by Huffington Post and AllAfrica, among others.
I see myself as less significant in the operations of chidi opara reports. The heroes are the faceless network members, whose membership have expanded tremendously. One day, their names would be published and they would not be faceless anymore. I sincerely salute them.
Chidi Anthony Opara
chidi opara reports