The fundamental role of a spokesperson is to serve as publicist, providing professional and timely publicity. A Publicity officer, by virtue of the assignment, is always close to the principal; issuing statements on what he sees, feels or told by the principal.
Every top official and executive in public and private sector needs a spokesperson who is a communication expert and image maker, and of course, who is in better position to communicate the principal’s decision and idea to the public through either traditional or new media, especially social media.
Nigeria has many spokespersons in the public and private sectors who are influential in their media relations activities. In this report, the Spokesperson’s Digest identifies ten most influential Spokespersons in Nigeria whose outputs as publicists are widely acknowledged by the media.
Femi Adesina– is a prolific writer and media guru. He served as President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers before he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Special Adviser Media and Publicity. Mr. Adesina currently has over sixty thousand followers on his Twitter handle and over twenty five thousand on Facebook account.
Garba Shehu– a veteran journalist and writer, served as the Director, Media and Publicity of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council. He was the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors sixteen years ago. He is currently serving as Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity. He has over fifty seven thousand followers on his Twitter handle and over twenty five thousand on his Facebook account.
Wilson Uwujaren- is the spokesperson for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Uwujaren is not popular on either Twitter or Facebook but he is a vibrant spokesman whose organisation’s name appears in the media on daily basis.
Colonel Sani K. Usman- the Nigerian Army spokesman who has been keeping the public informed on activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in North-East. Before his present assignment at the Directorate of the Army Public Relations, Col. Usman was the Spokesman of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, Maiduguri where he was sighted as a hard-working and professional Spokesman who is effective and efficient in public sensitization and coordination of the campaign against insurgency through media.
Laolu Akande- was a former reporter, editor and writer with national and international dailies, notably; he served as North American Bureau Chief of The Guardian Newspaper. Akande who is currently serving as the spokesman of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is regarded as the longest serving African correspondent at the United Nations, and the only Nigerian journalist so far to have interviewed a sitting American president in the White House when he interviewed former President George W. Bush. He has over four thousand followers on his Twitter handle and eight hundred on his Facebook account.
Ohi Alegbe, a veteran image maker and public communications consultant. He was a disciplined journalist whose footprint in broadcasting, print media, public relations and advertising is as visible as Milky Way. Alegbe was appointed Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in 2014. Though Cyber crocks have cloned Alegbe’s twitter handle and Facebook account, he has tremendously improved public visibility of NNPC through print and broadcast media. The corporation’s website is always updated with public interest information.
CP Emmanuel Ojukwu- was appointed Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force in 2014. He stepped into a familiar terrain of spokespersons, having distinguished himself as the Force PRO from December 2008 to October 2010. Ojukwu has succeeded in keeping the public and the Force in healthy relationship through regular and timely information via print and broadcast media.
Imam Imam- was a Group Politics Editor at THISDAY Newspapers and former Media Adviser to the former Speaker, House of Representatives and now Governor Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal. Imam who is currently serving as Tambuwal’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, has over eight thousand followers on his Twitter handle and over three thousand on his Facebook account.
Samuel Aruwan -a former Bureau Chief of Blueprint Newspapers Limited. He is a hard-working and disciplined journalist and well-connected within the diverse and dynamic segment of Northern Nigeria. Aruwan who is currently serving as spokesman of Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has over one thousand followers on his Twitter handle and four hundred followers on Facebook.
Abdullahi Bego- is the spokesperson for Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State. Bego, a vibrant and fine image maker has tremendously improved national visibility of his principal whose administration has been challenged by the Boko Haram insurgency in the State. Bego succeeded in mobilizing the electronic and social media to inform the public about decisions and idea of his principal. He has over eight hundred followers on twitter handle.