AS Nigeria’s managers of information led by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed converged on Asaba to brainstorm on the way forward for the country, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has challenged them to go beyond information dissemination, to embrace the more strategic function of communication.
According to Governor Okowa, “as information managers, your first responsibility is to ensure that information fed to the public is complete, accurate, relevant and understandable; you must become more scientific in your approach and go beyond the realm of information dissemination, to embrace the more strategic function of communication.
Declaring open the 46th meeting of the National Council on Information in Asaba, Governor Okowa reiterated, “communication involves speaking and listening; it prioritises research and action before speaking, and demands constant evaluation of our information management strategies.”
While acknowledging that information is the live wire of any organization, whether public or private, the governor said, “I believe the Ministries of Information should serve as sensors of stakeholder and public opinion on and about the policies, programmes and performance of the government through periodic perception audits.”
“The intelligence gathered is very useful in ascertaining the impact and acceptability of government policies and programmes, as well as helping to gauge the public mood, and their perception of the government or governor,” the governor said.
Senator Okowa called for the deployment of valuable assets to the management of information, disclosing, “when governments suffer from credibility crisis, the problem is often traceable to improper, inadequate and inefficient information management that creates a chasm and fuels distrust between the governed and the leaders.”
“In theory, the Ministry of Information is the officially designated organ of managing and disseminating government information; it is supposed to be the clearing house for all government information, but, we have seen situations where heads of other ministries and political appointees made public pronouncements that contradicted the official government policy leading to confusion in the minds of the public and loss of confidence in government’s information machinery,” Governor Okowa emphasised at the occasion which he also used to call for proper articulation of “vision for government information management that is clear, concise and measurable.”
Information of minister worried over wrong information dissemination
Minister of Information Has called on media organizations in the training and re-training of media managers to meet with the challenges of information management, especially in respect to the new media in the 21st century digital world. He said this while responding to Gov. Okowa’s address during the 46th Meeting of the National Council on Information (NCI), in Asaba.
“Cashing in on the still evolving new information and digital technology will undoubtedly facilitate our work. The multiplicity, immediacy and pervasiveness of the platforms of information dissemination mean that we can reach more people much faster. In other words, the democratization of the technology of information dissemination has posed new challenges to us.” he said, adding, “today, anyone can wake up this morning and decide to become an online newspaper publisher, an online television station owner, an online radio station operator, a purveyor of news, photographs and videos using the numerous Social Media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Twitter, Instagram and imo, just to mention a few. They spread whatever information that catches their fancy without engaging in the rigours of accuracy, fact-checking and fairness imposed by the traditional media. But there is another problem: They have their own public, and this public believes whatever information they put out!, the irony is that even your friends and family believe them more than you; we need to train and re-train our media personnel to be able to meet the huge challenges of media management.”
He continued, “media managers must wake up from game by keying into the new information and digital technology through training and re-training of our personnel, acquisition of state-of-the art technology as well as deploying uncommon commitment and passion to what we do. information managers have to be at the forefront of reshaping our country to the time-tested values of old.