Define Your Vision, Be Transparent, Accountable, Obaigbena Tells Govs

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•Fayemi may succeed Yari as NGF chairman

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Chairman of THISDAY and ARISE News Network, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, yesterday in Abuja, counselled returning and newly elected governors to define their goals from the outset and simultaneously cultivate the spirit of transparency and accountability.

Obaigbena, who is also the President of the Newspapers’ Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), gave this advice while speaking on strategic communications as a member of media panel at the ongoing three-day induction programme organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa. The session was anchored by former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba.

Obaigbena, who said the media had remained partners in progress in Nigeria’s 20 years of unbroken democracy, added that with common access to the media as a result of technological advancement, the media landscape had been altered.
According to him, governors must define their goals and have vision for each ministry under their administrations, adding that they must make transparency and accountability their watchword.

Obaigbena also advised the governors to learn how to communicate by regularly briefing the media on their activities, pointing out that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the press to hold public officers accountable.
He charged them to ensure that they maximally make use of the media during disasters and as well reject falsehood when reported by journalists, insisting that they must define their purpose in power, set agenda and think.

He said: “As we celebrate 20 years of democracy in Nigeria, the press remains a partner in progress. The world of media is changing because every citizen has access to media. Technology has changed media’s landscape.

“The purpose of this session is to discuss things you must do as governor. First, you must define your vision. What is your vision or mission for each ministry? Every ministry must have vision. Your primary responsibility is to provide security. Next is transparency and accountability, ensuring that resources of the state are well managed.

“Of course, you must communicate. Briefings every day, briefings every week are not out of place. If journalists report false reports, you must fight back. The Constitution gives the press the power to hold governors to account. When there is disaster, stay ahead of news. Define your purpose. Set agenda. Think.”

Echoing Obaigbena, former Managing Director of Daily Times, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, advised the governors to set agenda, uphold such agenda, keep advice and be accessible.
Ogunbiyi was, however, swift to add that as good as media involvement in their administrations might be, it cannot be alternated with good governance, reiterating that if they care to succeed, good governance must be their major priority.

He said: “Set your agenda. Keep agenda. Keep advice. Make yourself accessible as much as possible. Sometimes it is difficult to reach out to governors, commissioners. You need the media, cultivate them. No amount of media coverage is as good as good governance. The most effective weapon of succeeding is good governance.”
In his own submission, a Commissioner with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Sunday Dare, who spoke on the impact of the social media, explained that social media were the offshoot of digital media, advising the governors to pay diligent attention to social media.

He also advised them to clean up fake Facebook accounts opened in their names and likewise set goals and engage competent journalists when need be.
“Digital media gave birth to social media. Pay attention to social media. There are no gate keepers any longer. There are no editors on social media. Clean up multiple Facebook accounts. Let there be situational government, goal setting and communication competence. Sit down with competent journalists and bring them together going forward,” Dare said.

Fayemi May Succeed Yari as NGF Chairman
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is favoured to succeed Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, as the chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, THISDAY learnt last night.

A reliable source familiar with NGF’s politics said Fayemi appears acceptable to a cross section of returning governors among whom the next chairman would be chosen.
Yari’s tenure has ended as he moves to the Senate having completed his second term as governor of Zamfara, and elected a senator to represent his home state at the upper legislative chamber.

Going for Fayemi, said the source, is the respect his colleagues have for him, given his intellectual standing, approachable mien and wide ranging experience, having been a minister believed to enjoy the confidence of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The governors feel they need a unifying character that enjoys the confidence of the president, and would consequently be a bridge between the federal and the states,” the source said.

By the zoning convention of the forum, the South-west stands a good chance of having the post allotted to it as the South-south has taken the slot twice, through former governors Attah (Akwa Ibom) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).
The election of the chairman is expected to hold in June after the inauguration of returning and newly elected governors who were inducted on Monday.