Speaking during the commissioning of Media Trust’s new regional office and printing press, Yusuf said setting up a press in Kano would help ensure that in much of North-west and North-east of this country, the Daily Trust and its sister titles are delivered early morning, meaning that the same newspaper will be available to readers all over the country about the same time.
“For more than two years, we have experimented with printing the Daily Trust at two locations, Abuja and Lagos. With addition of the Kano press, we will become only the second newspaper in Nigeria to print in three locations every day.
“But we will not stop there. Before the end of this year Insha Allah, we will complete our press in Maiduguri, which will become the main regional centre to cover the North-east,” he said.
He said the company was taking these steps in order to serve its readers who have stood by it, all these years in spite of the inadequacies.
Given the size of Nigeria and its poor infrastructure, according to him, daily newspapers are read the day after in most of the country’s far flung state capitals, saying this may explain the poor circulation numbers in the country.
“But since most of these newspapers are based in Lagos, where also most of the advertising emanates, they have been content to remain within their comfort zone. But Daily Trust has no such luxury and we are determined to do our best to reach our readers wherever they are”, he said.
Yusuf said the relationship between a newspaper and its readers is like that of a politician and his voters, saying, however, that unlike the politician who is called to account every four years, the Daily Trust readers vote with their pocket every morning.
“I’ll like to assure all of you who have supported us morally and materially all these years that we are carrying out this expansion without any stress at all. Sometimes when I hear a politician say that power comes from God, I say to myself, I know what you mean, because success in any endeavour can be difficult to explain.
“We started as a 24-page weekly newspaper in Kaduna, just a little over ten years ago. It tasked our resources almost to breaking point to move to Abuja in 2001, and start a daily newspaper. But here we’re by the grace of God, not only surviving, but also expanding deeper into our market”, he said.
The chairman assured that the company would continue to carry the burden of trust with utmost responsibility. He said it was not easy to hold up to a mirror to any society, but to do so in this environment was especially challenging.
Yusuf called on elders, leaders and readers to prompt the company when it makes mistakes, advise it when it does wrong and guide it to do what is right. He said a newspaper that owns the platform to criticize others should also welcome and accommodate all criticisms.
“It is not for us to say which ones are fair or unfair, but we leave it to the good judgement of our readers to know the difference. As an old Arab proverb say: The dogs may bark, but the caravan must move on”, he said.
On the entourage of the Media Trust chairman were Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the newspaper company, Alhaji Ishaq Ajibola, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi, Editor-in-Chief Malam Mannir Dan Ali and General Manager Business and Strategy Alhaji Aliyu Akoshilie.