The title of this project is “Impact of Urhobo Voice Newspaper on Development of
Ovwain Community in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State”. To achieve this
objective, the study made use of the survey method which involved personal interview and
administration of questionnaires on respondents in Ovwain Community and the aim of this
exercise was to obtain the data needed for the successful execution of the study. The study
made use of table to analyse the data collected from a random sampling of respondents. It
also used the simple percentage to analyse the data. The study reveals that Community
Newspaper (Urhobo Voice) have impact on Development. It has been able to establish that
the Urhobo Voice as a community Newspaper has helped in improving the standard living
of the Ovwain people in their community. The study urges both government and private
individual to emulate the publisher of the Urhobo Voice by establishing more community
newspaper in the rural areas to enable development take place. Finally, the study
recommends the granting of soft loans by the government to interested individual to
establish newspapers in the rural areas. This with a view to encourage private ownership of
the mass media.
1.1. Background Of The Study
A community newspaper is that paper established in the rural area with the basic
aim of bringing development closer to the grassroots. A community newspaper should b e
community in outlook reporting the activities of the community to the outside world. It is
also a veritable medium through which the people are informed about government policies
and programmes. To this end, it could be rightly said that a community newspaper has
significant impact on national development since effective development of any nation
commences from the grassroots.
Igwe (1991:175) agrees with the above postulation when he declares that “a rural or
community newspaper serves the information need of a particular locality. Such papers
should not be mistaken for provincial papers such as the Calabar-based pioneer. These
have a wider coverage and circulation range beyond state boundaries.
The origin of community newspapers in Nigeria could be traced to 1859 when
Reverend Henry Townsend established the first newspaper known as “Iwe Irohin in
Abeokuta. According to Akinfeleye (1985:28), which launching the maiden issue of Iwe
Irohin, Reverend Townsend said: “my object is to get the people to read… that is to beget
the habit of seeking information by reading newspapers”.
This statement could be interpreted to mean that the aim and objective behind the
establishment of the Irohin was for the Egba people to seek information from their
environment by reading newspaper.
Initially, Iwe Irohin was published fortnight in Yoruba Language and later in both
Yoruba and English Languages. It has eight pages with four pages in Yoruba languages
and another four supplementary pages in English Language translating the Yoruba version
Akinfeleye (1985:29) throws more light on Iwe Irohin when he says:
“In January 1866,Iwe Irohim for the first time started publishing two separate
editions-one in Yoruba language and the other entirely in English language. It continued
with two separate editions until these 1867 when it temporally ceased publication as a
result of civil disruption (IFOLE) between the Ibadan and Egba traders…. After a short
while, Iwe Irohim resumed publication through under a new management but some title
Akinfeleye also points out that in the beginning the news coverage of Iwe Irohim
was limited in scope. For instance, it carried only religious news items such as news
transfer of preachers from one parish or location to another, coronations of pastors or
preachers, weddings, baptisms, confirmations and the like. It later expanded its news
coverage and began to run non-religions news in addition to religious items. It began to
carry stories and news about trade and commerce, exhibitions, sports, health, hygienic,
educational and other news items of national significance.
fIwe Irohin was particularly informative in its presentation of up-to-date
information about schedules of arrivals and departures of slip, cargoes from and to
European countries. Crimes reports, nudity, immoral news abstract, alcoholic promotion
and the like were unacceptable to the paper.
Akinfeleye concludes by saying that one of the uniqueness of Iwe Irohin is that, it
is still the only native language newspaper in the continent of Africa that has lived for over
120 years without any major prolonged stoppage. Today in Nigeria, copies of Iwe Irohin
(though how under another management, but same title) can still be found on sale in
several Nigerian newsstands particularly in the southern state of Nigeria. Most of its
contemporaries have been closed or ceased publication.
Igwe (1991:176) says that “more than 20 years after establishment of Iwe Irohin,
three other community newspaper came up in Lagos. These were “the Lagos observer”,
“the Lagos Times” and “The Lagos standard”. These papers published the preindependence socio-political conditions in Nigeria. For this reason, they could have been
mistaken for national newspaper. But they were “Lagos community newspapers”.
After the demise of the above pre-independence community newspapers, others
sprang up in Nigeria. These could be rightly regarded as post-independence papers. Some
of them are already defunct. They are “The Oniwu sun” based in Ikorodu, “The village
news” based in Akinale village in the outskirt of Abeokuta, “The Obanta star” and “The
Obanta News” based in Ijebu-Ode and “Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo” based in Zaria.
Also worthy of mention are the Onitsha based “Nigerian mirror” which was
established in the mid 1960s, “The Lagos News” and the “City Tempo” based in Lagos;
the Makurdi based “voice” which circulates in Benue State and the Uyo based weekly,
The introduction/background would be inconclusive without mentioning “the
Urhobo Voice” … a community newspaper – belonging to the Urhobo ethic group in Delta
State – which happens to be focus of this study.
The plan to establish “the Urhobo voice was hatched in 1937 by the current Editor
in – Chief and publisher, Mr. Ogbemure Imene. However, it was not until October , 1997
that the first copies of the newspaper hit the newsstands. Its first editor was Mr. Godwin
The paper is printed by Uvoh – Amroma International ltd. at No. 1 Orofin Street
(Goodday Communication), Maza – Maza, Lagos.
The aims and objectives of the papers are:
1. The creation of awareness for the upliftment of the Urohobo nation,
2. To unite the Urhobo people into one universal spectrum;
3. To act as an organ of universal information to the Urhobo people and become
partners in progress with their neighbour for the betterment of all.
4. To capture the essence of the Urhobo world,
5. To champion excellence in grassroots journalism.
Although, the paper has not joined the Audit Bureau of Circulation (A.B.C.), its
distribution is undertaken by Mr. Dominic Onunu who is the marketing manager.
The paper has approximate circulation figure of seven thousand (7,000) copies.
At the inception of the paper in 1997, it was published monthly. In April 1999, it
became a fortnightly after. Again in September same year (1999) it became a tri-monthly
newspaper. With effect from January 2000 the management will make it a weekly
1.2. Statement of the Problem
It is not out of place to say that in most rural communities in Nigeria, there are no
community newspapers through which the rural folks could be informed about government
policies and programmes and above all mobilized towards improved condition of living.
This unfortunate situation has compelled many people to lastly conclude that the print
media have no relevance in community development in Nigeria.
It is also known that there are some other communities in Nigeria which are not
development, just like Urhobo community at this jet age when even the smaller countries
around us are boasting of continues supply of electricity.
The researcher does not want this phenomenon to continue to occur and that is why
she has carried out this research.
Also farmers do not have the means of knowing how to make use of the modern
farming implements and other things like fertilizer, so farm produce in that community do
not yield well. To add to the fact that the traders among them have no means to advertise
This research is therefore undertaken to find out whether community newspaper
has impact on development, with particular reference to the Urhobo voice. And this
research will also go a long way to but these problem to an end, if they carry out their role
in the community properly.
1.3. Objective of the Study
1. To find out whether the community newspaper can be used in the development of
2. To find out the strategy used by the community newspaper in impacting
development on Ovwain Community.
3. To find out the benefits of having developed community
4. To examine the factors that many militate against the community newspaper in
their effort to help develop our community (Ovwain Community).
.4. Research Question
1. Does the employment of Ovwain people by government of Delta State as a result of
2. Does the new developmental project in Ovwain community as a result of sensitize
of government by Urhobo voice, like-new school, good road, hospital and creating
of awareness etc as a result of how Urhobo voice sensitize the government by
3. Does the Urhobo voice have any consequences in mobilizing the people of Ovwain
community toward development?
4. Does the Urhobo voice encounter hindrance in their effort to develop Ovwain
community through Urhobo voice.
1.5. Scope Of The Study
This study is restricted to a particular community newspaper in Delta State known
as “the Urhobo Voice”.
The choice is based on it‟s proximity and patronage. Moreover, Urhobo is Ovwain
community is in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State.
1.6. Significance Of The Study
The rationale/significance for this study is high-lighted as follows:
1. To discover the role of community newspapers plays in development.
2. To discover the effectiveness of the Urhobo voice as a medium of information,
education, entertainment and for mobilization the Ovwain community towards
3. To ascertain whether there is alternative channel through which information could
be best disseminated to the community under focus.
4. To unravel the problems and prospects of the Urhobo Voice since it inception.
1.7. Limitations Of The Study
The inability of the researcher to visit the Ovwain community in Delta State to
solicit the people‟s response to the project topic, due to time constraint is a major
impediment. Nevertheless, it does not in any way affect the overall credibility of the work.
Finance is another limitation. The unfavourable economic climate in Nigeria
Limited the acquisition of books on community newspapers and development. Again, this
limitation does not affect the credibility of the project since the researcher was able to
improvise where necessary.
A lot of traveling was done in searching for search of materials. This involved
Finally, booking appointment with media practitioners, scholars and other
personalities whose contributions were crucial to the completion of this projection
involved a lot of time and energy.
1.8. Definition Of Terms
Impact in this context refers to the effect which community newspapers have on
community development. Impact is also the measure of effect or influence of certain event
Urhobo Voice Newspaper
Urhobo voice newspaper is a community newspaper belonging to the Urhobo
ethnic group in Delta State, which happens to be the focus of this study. Urhobo voice
newspaper is also a newspaper covering event in Urhobo land and offering diverse
perspectives on Urhobo history.
The process of economic and social transformation that is based on complex cultural and
environmental factors and their interactions
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