Memo For The Reestablishment Of The Ministry Of Information In Kaduna State
By JAMES SWAM
I am writing to underscore the crucial need to reinstate the Ministry of Information in Kaduna State, restoring it to its original structure with a commissioner. Currently, Kaduna seems the sole state in the country without a Ministry of Information, which ceased to exist in 2015.
Given Kaduna’s historical significance in the north and the nation, it is imperative to have a fully functioning ministry. Since its inception in 1967, courtesy of the Gowon regime, first as North-Central State, and later as Kaduna State in 1976 by the Murtala administration, the ministry has played a pivotal role in accurately and timely documenting information on successive administrations, thus serving as a research destination for local and international scholars, media practitioners, tourist enthusiasts, etc.
The ministry’s objectives include fostering positive relationships with the public, managing the state government’s image, and enhancing communication and awareness of government policies and programmes. To achieve these objectives, the ministry breaks down information into various layers or stages, using different languages for improved understanding among the populace.
Moreover, the ministry actively engages in campaigns across multiple media to instill positive values and patriotism, driving attitudinal and behavioral change aligned with societal expectations and government standards.
With a mission to effectively deploy oral, audio, visual, print, outdoor, and new media, the ministry disseminates government development agenda to diverse segments of the population who comprise a fundamental political, social, and economic group in the state. These include women, youth/students, workers, traders, professionals, and other demographic groupings.
The interpretation of state government policies and actions, along with mobilising public support and acceptance, is a multifaceted task best executed by a ministry, not a directorate. This involves thorough planning and research, utilizing statistical data, infographics, charts, diagrams, and other forms of communication to convey information effectively.
Furthermore, the ministry serves as a vital interface with the people, media, strategic stakeholders, and development partners on behalf of the state government, providing valuable feedback for informed planning and implementation of development projects. It coordinates and supervises the state-owned communication channels (radio, TV, printing press, new media platform, etc.) ensuring they educate and inform the people adequately about the government and vice versa.
This is in addition to coordinating the public relations officers (PROs) assigned to ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to enhance the execution of communication strategy and tactics for the accomplishment of an administration’s agenda, such as your seven points SUSTAIN manifesto.
It’s crucial to emphasise at this point the distinctive roles of the ministry and the office of the spokesman for the governor. While the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) – depending on the nomenclature – speaks for His Excellency, the Commissioner for Information speaks for the state government. As the government spokesman and chief image manager, the commissioner is responsible for ensuring the “free flow of adequate, timely, and reliable information” and generating “feedback between government and its various publics” to facilitate effective policy formulation and implementation.
Additionally, the Commissioner represents the state at the National Council of Information meetings, the highest national policy organ on Information and Communication matters in the country, chaired by the Minister of Information and National Orientation.
In conclusion, Your Excellency, I trust you will consider this memo earnestly, recognising the significant impact the reinstatement of the Ministry of Information will have on fostering effective communication and understanding of your policies among the people of Kaduna State.
Long live Kaduna State.
Swam, a former press secretary to the deputy governor of Kaduna State, is the author of the book, ‘How to be an Effective Spokesperson.’