By YJ Itopa.
The saying in Egbira that the name a market will be called is known the very day the community establishes it came to play on Friday, February 2nd, 2024 when the Hon. Commissioner for Information and Communications, Evangelist Kinsley Fanwo resumed office a few days after he was appointed to superintend over the affairs of the Ministry as he effectively made in the previous administration.
Following his impressive performance in the management of the State Information and Communications firmament before, during, and after the governorship election that produced His Excellency Ahmed Usman Ododo as the fifth Executive Governor of the State, Fanwo was appointed anew in the new administration as Commissioner.
For the government, one turn deserves another; Fanwo’s unalloyed loyalty, which former Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello had described in most charitable words, must be rewarded with a new responsibility.
To therefore live up to his name as a Performing Commissioner,” he earnestly, and before any other Commissioner colleague of his, met the staff members of all the departments and parastatals under his Ministry to acquaint them with what he called “the new mandate from government to the Ministry.”
Charity, as they say, begins at home. The meeting began first with the immediate staff of the ministry. Protocols diligently observed, the Commissioner, looking radiant and fulfilled in a simple, light green, and long-sleeved shirt with fitting trousers, thanked every staff member of the Ministry for helping him in the course of his assignments during the past administration of Governor Yahaya Bello.
His words: “A tree cannot make a forest. You have made the work easy for me. You were with me in the onerous task of laundering the image of the state. I thank you all for making the job easy for me.”
We once attended a meeting outside the state. There, our website was voted the best in the country. I was rated the best information commissioner. And I was proud of the ministry. But despite being the best, I am still not fully satisfied. When one excels in life, you must try harder to excel more
This is the new message, the new mandate from Governor Ododo to us. We just have to hit the ground running.” The commissioner was charged.
Speaking further, Commissioner Fanwo informed his staff that he has had a meeting with Governor Ododo and his Chief of Staff, Ali Bello, on the government mandate for good governance—the name of the new market.
While profoundly thanking his new boss, Governor Ododo, for entrusting the affairs of the important Ministry to him, he told his staff the name of the new market being established by Ododo: “The Governor has expressed his readiness to support the Ministry. “I am not elected to talk. My goal is to keep working assiduously for the delivery of democracy dividends to the good people of the state, while yours as the Information Manager of the state is to let the world know what we are doing,” the governor made our mandate clear to us, not me alone. We must therefore brace ourselves up for the challenges ahead.” The commissioner gave the name of the new market to his staff in an unmistakable term.
As the former Governor Bello inevitably exited the stage of governance on January 27, 2024, he singled out some of his lieutenants for praise. The workaholic Evangelist Kinsley Fanwo made his praise list.
Talking about it, he said, “He poured his kind words on me; I was in tears, tears of joy. I was just doing my job out of passion. I never knew it was that much. I did not know the former governor was noticing it. But it is him I have to thank for our achievements as a ministry. He made the state image-making job easy for me.
Next to meet with the Commissioner to know the name given to the market was Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation, simply called Radio Kogi. The radio team was led by their Director General, Alhaji Ojo Oyila Ozovehe.
Like his former boss, Yahaya Bello, Fanwo characteristically enveloped the Radio staff with many encouraging words to assist him in achieving his mandate as Commissioner.
“I thank you for making me a superstar. The radio did very well. The best is yet to come. The governor has assured me that he will give priority attention to the radio and other parastatals under the ministry. We will soon give Okene Radio Station a befitting building. It is a matter of priority for us. The establishment of a television station for Kogi State is in the offing. A KVA generator will be procured for the station.
Ochaja will have its own to replace the stolen one. The government is not happy that the station’s 60 KVA generator was stolen while its cables and transmitters were vandalized. All hands must be on deck to protect the station, as the people in the East cannot bear such a total information blackout.
Okene and Egbe stations are doing very well. You will have a Station Transmission Link( STL) to enable you to broadcast with ease. With the STL, the trouble of climbing the high Mount Patti to cast your news will be a thing of the past.”
The renovation of the station headquarters in Lokoja will attract government attention. The radio has been digitized. I assure you that it will be equipped with necessary gadgets like smart recorders, laptops, and other tools.” He promised.
Asking the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry to coordinate the relevant departments and their heads to write memoranda to the government on all the mentioned areas of need, he charged the radio staff to put on their thinking cap to justify the attention that the Government was going to pay to the station.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. Money will come by the time you are transmitting for 20 hours per day. It is possible. We can do it. Just improve on your services to generate more revenue.” He encouraged.
Through the radio team, the graphic staff, led by the duo of Mr. Peter Otaro and James Oyewole as acting Managing Director/ CEO and Executive Editor respectively, were ushered in the presence of the Commissioner.
Many issues about the paper were discussed. Its adequate funding by the Government and the exact amount required which the Commissioner said was in the process, the Paper’s production capacity, the needed Subvention per month for it to maximally generate revenue and the disturbing leaking spots of the roof of the imposing media edifice were all discussed.
Assuring them of the government’s readiness to fulfil its promises as captured in the budget, Commissioner Fanwo said the government needed to invest more in the tabloid if it wanted it to make more revenues for the state.
Praising the staff for the sacrifices they made and are still making for the survival of the paper, Fanwo said, among other things, that:
“Your editorial stories and contents are spotless and superlative. Your e-paper is always a pleasant read. But the elderly in the state still prefer the hard copy of the paper. We will sustain it. The Graphic Online must be back on stream. Doing it is not costly. Do it and link it with the state website so that The Graphic can break news for the state.”
Continuing, the appreciative Chief Gatekeeper of the State information said of The Graphic:
“The paper is very crucial to the state in its information dissemination. In those days in Ilorin, Kwara State, we were literally punching ourselves over who would have the copies of the paper to buy. We were paying vendors to get the paper to buy. It is very important to Kogites living outside the state. It was like gold to us. It was the flagship news; it was our ambassador outside the state and the poster boy. It was such a delight to those outside who wanted to keep abreast of the happenings in their state.
And the Graphic gave them the opportunity to do so. The paper started with the birth of Kogi State. Governor Ododo will make sure it comes back in leaps and bounds, bigger than the past exploits.” He assured.
Ending the disclosure of the new mandate to the staff of The Graphic, the Commissioner called for cooperation, unity, and understanding among themselves like one good family.
All things said and done about his meeting with the official News Paper of the State, the Commissioner received the staff of Digital and Printing Press, another parastatal under the Ministry.
Like other parastatals before it, it came to hear the Commissioner give a name to the governance market of His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo, as the Executive Governor of the State.
Their new mandate, according to the Commissioner, was to be ready to break news for the state with more rapidity. And they were to do this on a daily basis. The Information Officers were charged to send either news or even features, pictures, and videos to daily feed the website.
Keen on the Graphic Online, Fanwo asked Digital and Printing Press to help the Paper establish its own Online in order to widen the information scope of the state
For the printing press, the commissioner has told them to be ready to handle most of the printing jobs of government ministries, departments, and parastatals so as to increase government revenue. A memorandum to enforce it would be sent to the Secretary of State. Most of the government’s printing jobs, if not all, are printed by external printers.
There are machines like the Computer to Plate and GTO that are most effective in the printing of A- 3 papers which if put to use can be a veritable source of money for the Government. To do this, the Ministry resolved to engage a private concern to handle the GTO to do business for the Government.
Beaming with smiles as the Commissioner earlier reeled out the achievements of Digital and Printing Press as the Parastatal that boosted the government website to be the best in the country, its Director, Ebenezer Adurodija, called for more training for the PROs in order to up their skills of website news writing. The Commissioner did not hesitate to agree with him.
The marathon meeting ended with one held with Public Relations Officers(PRO) from across the 21 LGAs of the state.
Like others before them, the PROs were hailed for their contributions to the success recorded in the information management of the state.
They were, however, charged to work extra hard not to lag behind in modern news writing. News must be standard and submitted for proofreading and editing to ensure its contents are fair and objective before they are sent to the platform for publishing, they were advised.
” It is expedient now that you must daily submit news to our certified editors and proofreaders. Editing does not mean only grammar you employ in writing the news but also their implications, ” The Director of Information Services (DIS), Mr. Adeniyi Abiodun counselled..
In his contributions, Mr Adurodija who reiterated his earlier advice that training and retraining of some staff of the Ministry was the way to go especially in the era of artificial intelligence however told the PROs to be more creative in sourcing for news.
He said: Just be creative. No dry ministry. Do not wait untill your Commissioners speak before you can get news. Think outside the box and also earn the trust of those whose activities you are covering to be able to report him unhindered.”
Chiming in, the Hon Commissioner asked the PROs to send news daily to the ministry by interviewing and writing of rejoinders as information dissemination is not only about news writing. He named areas of culture, festivals and tourism as good source of news.
” Tourism potential is here. We can market the Ovia Osese festival, Egbira masquerade for social and cultural implications, European cemetery which if written upon could bring the great-grandchildren of Europeans to Nigeria to know where their forefathers were buried in Africa.
As Journalists, there are many ways you can source your news. Always be the first to break the news. As for the training, plans are afoot to make it happen soon.
The challenges in your having unhindered access to the Commissioners, I will take it up at the appropriate quarters. There should be no quarrel among the PROs and Media aides. You should be partners in progress.
As Information officers, you are the closest to any leader. You are the ones to tell the commissioners what to do. But just be as productive as possible and you will catch their attention” He concluded.
The meeting was well attended by both the Ministry staff and those from the parastatals and their departments. They all expressed joy that the Commissioner is part of the new dispensation and pledged their support and loyalty to ensure a more resounding success for him in his new assignment.
The Radio Kogi DG, Ojo Oyila Ozovehe said on behalf of his team: “We give gratitude to God for your appointment. We promise to work harder to satisfy the State by diligently broadcasting the news of the State.”
Mr. James Oyewole. who spoke largely for The Graphic Newspaper as its Editor calling the Commissioner a role model, expressed happiness on behalf of the Graphic family for his appointment and prayed for higher heights for him.
The Director of Administration in the Ministry, Abdul Yakubu, Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Fatima Sanni, Director of News and Publication, Comrade Seidu Ademu, the Kogi State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and others some of whom were earlier mentioned made good contributions while the meeting lasted.
Appreciating the Commissioner on behalf of the entire staff of the Ministry, its parastatals, and departments, the Permanent Secretary, whom the Commissioner fondly called”001, my Super Permsec” because of the relationship between them and other members of the ministry, which the Commissioner described as cordial and harmonious, said, inter alia:
“The Hon. Commissioner Sir, on behalf of our staff members, I thank you immensely for holding this crucial meeting with us. We pray to God to guide you right.
I urged the staff to embrace the instructions provided by the Commissioner. It is important to remember that he has a zero-tolerance policy towards failure, which is why he is widely regarded as one of the best commissioners. Yet, we know this is just the beginning of better things to come. We will remain loyal and supportive of you. We fully understand the mandate. We will work assiduously to achieve it with you.” Thank you.