Okowa’s burden of uncoordinated media team

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EDITORIAL

When situations and circumstances develop they sometimes expose the underbelly of operations, causing suspicion and harm to the image and intentions of even the most altruistic of men and organizations.
In Delta state today, there is what is obviously an anomaly happening in the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa that observers see visibly in what in hush tone is described as the burden of uncoordinated media team being carried by the Governor. And the impact is humongous and burgeoning.
Of course, those involved pretend that this anomaly does not exist. Yet, in their heart of hearts, they are convinced that like Chinua Achebe’s adaptation in Things Fall Apart, “The falcon can no longer hear the falconer, the centre cannot hold, anarchy is loosed upon” His Excellency’s media team. They know that all is not well and that the governor’s media team is in want of proper and effective coordination.
Of a truth, the cause is not far-fetched. It is located in ego, pride, and seeming improper comprehension of the individual function as member of the Governor’s publicity team on the one hand, and on the other hand, in mischief and deliberate decision of a clique within the media team who see themselves as “very close associates” of the governor, and which qualifies them to lord it over other lesser mortals in the team. There is also the case of the meddlesome interloper role being played from the office of the Directorate of Orientation, which observers see as a gang up against the role that the Ministry of Information officials should play.
Also closely related to this is the issue of paucity of funds, which has been the Governor’s swan song, the disbursement of which has not quite gone down well with many media aides. There is thus, alienation among the media team.
We also recall the initial swashbuckling experience that journalists and staffers of the Ministry of Information had to go through at the start up of the administration, a very harrowing experience. This is also coupled with the discrimination extended to journalists by the office of the Governor’s spokesman, who chose to operate with a favoured and select group of journalists.
The result is continuing alienation, and the case where issues requiring effective publicity for the proper education of Deltans are shabbily done, thus leaving the populace in the dark about government’s intentions about some of its policies and programmes.
We at Banneronlinenews.com believe that Deltans are not being properly served by the quarrels, suspicions, alienations and the obvious bad blood relationships that currently exist in the Governor’s media team. It can be clearly seen watching from close range that there is no love lost between the office of the Commissioner for Information and the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor. We are appalled that there is no cooperation and coordination between the two offices. We shudder at the experience where there seems not to be clear delineation of functions between the office of the Commissioner for Information and that of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
Traditionally, it is without contention that while the office of the Commissioner for Information is the spokesman of the Government, the office of the Chief Press Secretary is the mouth-piece of the governor. While the former restricts himself to issues that have to do with the policies, programmes and decisions of the cabinet, the chief press secretary informs the people about the thoughts, and perceptions of the governor.
It is against this backdrop that we think that the handling of the uproar generated by news of the speculated sale of Delta Line was poorly handled. There was no coordination between the office of the Commissioner for Information and the office of the chief press secretary. The attitude of both offices was like they were not working for the same administration. While the Chief Press secretary was busy addressing a press conference with a handful of favoured journalists to try to counter the furore that the Delta Line news generated, the office of the Commissioner for information felt at ease.
We believe that this is an error. We think that the Sale of Delta Line or divestment of government share from that organization, the common patrimony of all Deltans is a serious policy issue that should be addressed by the cabinet for the proper education and information of compatriots. In this wise, we thought that the government should have been sensitive enough to hold Deltans in good regard by getting the commissioner for information and his counterpart in the Ministry of transport to address the media, and respond to questions that are necessary.
Banneronlinenews.com thinks that the chief press secretary not being a cabinet member has clear limitations in understanding the nitty-gritty of the Delta Line transactions and so is not a fit and proper officer to address a press conference on the matter. We believe it would have served the cause of government and Deltans properly if as the image maker of the governor, he liaised with the Commissioner for Information, the office of the Secretary to Government and the Commissioner for transport and advise them on the need for the cabinet to speak on an issue as serious as Delta Line, the heritage of Deltans.
We ask for instance, what is the condition for the divestment of government shares in Delta Line to the proprietor of God is Good Motors? What are the other things involved, like who takes possession of the assets of Delta Line, what happens to the staff who are Deltans? Again, the Jibowu asset of Delta Line alone is worth hundreds of millions, this is not to talk of other assets in Abuja and across the country.
It is against this background that we think that proper delineation of the functions of the offices of the media aides to the governor should be done. This imperative, we think is in the hands of the Governor to do himself. The Ministry of Information is well endowed with manpower and professionalism to perform effectively if given the necessary encouragement. The chief press secretary, a thorough bred journalist should be large hearted enough to carry all journalists along so they can have access to gather information on issues of government during media briefings.
The ball is in the court of Governor Okowa to ease himself and government of this burden of uncoordinated media activities. It will help Deltans to understand, appreciate and key into what his administration is doing.

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