Iworiso-Markson: When Loyalty Pays off

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The decision of the‎ Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson to elevate his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson to the state’s executive council is a rare reward for loyalty, writes Segun James

Under a scorching sun at the Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, Daniel Iworiso-Markson stood at alert and constantly pleading with and seeking understanding from media men and making them comfortable as he prepared to welcome his boss, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State along with Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka who was several hours late to the commissioning of the model school built by the state government in its bid to fasttarck the educational development in the deep rural and riverside areas of Bayelsa State.

Those who have been media managers to politicians will tell you that managing this category of people is the hardest jobs of their life. But Markson is the quintessential media man who is very protective of his boss. He never stops trying to explain or clarify every action his boss takes or and every word that comes forth from the governor’s mouth.

As a media manager, even in the face of so many odds, he has been able to project his principal in every positive way possible. It was in the face of this that he was recently promoted to the state executive council from Chief Press Secretary to the Governor to the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, the first of such promotion in the history of the state.

The promotion of Markson is coming nearly two years into the second term of Dickson. The move, according to watchers of the politics of the state is suggestive of the fact that the governor is preparing for a battle as the race towards the installation of his successor begins.

Dickson knows that the battle for his successor will be fierce, long-drawn, and it will be mostly done in the media, hence the positioning of Markson in the strategically important Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy.

It was also in realization of this that, in addition to his position, he was also made the chairman of the strategically important State Documentation and Records Committee, a move that suggest that all weapons will be deployed to achieve victory in the coming election.

Markson is not new to political communication management. It was a position he held under the late Funsho Williams, when he was to contest for the governorship of Lagos state years ago.

It was based on his experience that he was invited to manage the media for the Dickson’s governorship campaigns in 2011, when Dickson became the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Cool, calm, collected and strategic, even in the face of so many odds, Markson it was who managed the backlash that followed the recommendation of the PDP Reconciliation Committee‘s report headed by Dickson which almost consumed the reputation of the governor. He managed the fallout by constantly and successfully explaining the reasons for the recommendations and why his principal should not be crucified for being a faithful party man who meant well for the party.

When the news made the rounds that Dickson described the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s six years tenure as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a wasted period for the Ijaw people, he it was, who went around media houses showing the video and explaining to Nigerians that contrary to the report, Dickson never insulted the person of the former president claiming that the governor,s words were misconstrued.

So much for a media professional that has been elevated to the strategically important ministry of information, a move which has been lauded by media practitioners in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital as putting a round peg in a round hole.

So happy were the media men that they hosted him to a luncheon, the first time ever that the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists would host any political office holder on being appointed as information commissioner.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson was born 47 years ago to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sunday Iworiso of Opume Kingdom, Ogbia Loal Government Area of Bayelsa State.

He is a consummate public relations and media practitioner with an uncommon pedigree and whose industry experience spans over two decades. Before assuming the position of Chief Press Secretary and Commissioner of Information and Orientation, he had held several key positions in various media organizations and marketing communication firms, all based in Lagos.

He started out as a journalist with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria in Lagos and thereafter went on to work as the Corporate Affairs Manager of Express Group of Companies. He also worked as General Manager of Project Planning and Systems Development Limited, an information technology company located in Ikeja, where he led a team of I.T professionals to carry out extensive training for Lagos State Public Servants during the computerization drive of the state’s public service in 2001. He also held other senior management positions in leading advertising and public relations outfits in Lagos.

Before leaving to take up political appointment, Markson resigned as Principal Consultant of DMB Public Relations Limited, a specialized PR consultancy firm with a bias for Political Brand Management.

It was therefore not surprising that the PR agency which he founded was able to build a reputation for itself as the foremost PR firm in Nigeria to engage in strategic political communication and political brand management consultancy, working for top political clients like the late Funsho Williams,

even though his client (Funsho Williams) won the Alliance for Democracy governorship primaries, but he was denied the ticket which was given to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who then became the party’s anointed candidate at the time as reward for his role in the NADECO, the political organization that fought the government of General Sani Abacha to a standstill in the late 1990s.

Funsho Williams would later defect to PDP and went on to contest as the party’s flag bearer in the 2003 governorship race in Lagos. Throughout this period, Iworiso-Markson worked closely with him as his media consultant and aide.

Iworiso-Markson also carried out extensive political communication work for the Yar’Adua presidential campaign in 2007. He was also at various times Consultant to both DFID and World Bank sponsored projects in the country in partnership with the Federal Government.

A thoroughbred professional, highly driven and very result oriented, Iworiso-Markson joined the Dickson governorship campaign in 2011 and served as a critical member of the media team to ensure victory for both Dickson and his party, PDP in the elections of 2012 which saw the Dickson mounting the saddle of leadership in the oil rich state as the fourth democratically elected governor of Bayelsa State.

Upon assumption of office as governor, Dickson immediately appointed Daniel Iworiso-Markson as his spokesman, a position which he held for close to six years before his elevation as a Commissioner and member of the State Executive Council.

Iworiso-Markson who holds a Masters’ Degree in Public Relations from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) with several other professional qualifications, including a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing and Advertising from the same university, is member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and the African Public Relations Practitioners Association (APRA), the continental body for PR practitioners.
He is the author of four books including the recently launched: “How Governor Dickson Deployed People Power to Defeat Federal Might”, a chronicle of the intrigues and power play during the last governorship election in the state.

Widely travelled and married with children, Iworiso-Markson who plays the beautiful game of soccer is the founder and captain of the Creek Haven Football Club, a team of Bayelsa’s Government House staff based in the Government House, Yenagoa.

An avid and voracious reader, he also enjoys listening to gospel music and spending time with the family whenever his hectic schedule permits.

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But Markson is the quintessential media man who is very protective of his boss.

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Those who have been media managers to politicians will tell you that managing this category of people is the hardest jobs of their life.