Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe
By Muhammad Bello
The Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, Tuesday said the growing strength of the opposition political parties was the reason while he was given the job.
Okupe disclosed this while himself and the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, met with State House correspondents to clear the air on speculations that there was conflict of interests in their roles.
He admitted that with the growing power of the opposition in the country, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must prove its mettle to the people and convince them that its policies are devoted to serving them.
Concurring that the PDP is up against a strong and boisterous opposition, Okupe said the role of the new information management team of President Jonathan would be to engage the public and engage opposition “to deepen the understanding of the opposition on what government policies are.”
Okupe outlined the mission of the team as giving Nigerians a food for thought as to whether the President is what the opposition says he is, admonishing them to take another look at the president and see the good in him.
Contrary to speculations that there are confusion and friction between the aides of the president on media and publicity on the one hand and public affairs on the other, both cleared doubts about their professional and personal relationships.
Abati and Okupe concurred that they are team working to advance the transformation agenda of Jonathan, indicating that the schedule of their duties are at once complimentary and exclusive.
They reiterated that given their interaction spanning one and half a decades, they are poised to work with each other in the service of their principal, pointing out that this include effective management of the information that goes to the public domain and interfacing with the citizens regarding the feedback they give to the system.
According to Abati, who convened a meeting at the Villa with State House correspondents to introduce his colleague, Okupe, the two of them have no conflicting role in managing the information system in the Presidency.
“There is no conflict in our information management process,” Abati stressed, adding: “One thing we both have in common is that we both have a passion for the Jonathan’s transformation agenda and we believe in President Jonathan that he deserves the support of all Nigerians.”
Describing Okupe as a man “with a lot of experience, politically savvy, very amiable and very highly-respected within the society,” Abati said his appointment will enrich the information management system of the president.
“Our responsibility in terms of how this administration information process is managed is to make sure that we engage the public robustly and moving forward, our team remains very strong,” Abati explained.
“There is no conflict at all, we are working together as a team and you are not going to see any kind of friction. If anything, you are going to see us engaging the public with a lot of coherence,” Abati emphasised.
Okupe agreed with him outlining their respective schedules of duty. He said Abati would remain the official spokesperson of the president, while he would be concerned strictly with public affairs.