10 Best Spokespersons in Nigeria’s Public Sector
By Kabir Abdulsalam
The job of a spokesman is a tough one. A 24-hour, very tasking job that keeps them on their feet always.
The job of a spokesman is that physically demanding and mentally engaging one that mandates the professional to keep tab of events and ensure there is no present or potential threat to the reputation of his principal or organisation.
Meanwhile, the spokesman does not always have to appear reactive. He doesn’t have to always wait till things go wrong before responding. He has to be proactive… And make sure the principal or organisation or his department does not do or say things that can pose threat to their credibility or public perception.
He has to always present all the facts of events before the public in a way that honours the organisation and fulfills it’s mandate, to avoid unhelpful speculations.
A spokesman has to be an excellent writer, wonderful speaker, fantastic organiser or a brilliant strategist. He must have the gift of imagination, media relations skills, human relations competence or emotional intelligence.
A successful spokesman must have the combination of the above attributes… And there are a number of them who are doing very well and are deserving of some form of recognition.
In this piece, Spokesperson’s Digest identifies ten best Spokespersons in the public sector who are adding immense value to the field of Public Relations and are also using the quality of their delivery to bridge the gap between their principals/organisations and the public.
1. Femi Adesina
Femi Adesina is a prolific writer and media icon. 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 his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
He is a quintessential newsroom man who rose through the ranks to be the Editor and celebrated columnist at The Sun Newspapers before he became the MD.
His brilliant, well delivered, well written and timely press statements as spokesman to President Buhari have earned him a recognition in this space.
He is equally humble and approachable, as his media relations skills are commendable.
2 . Femi Babafemi
Femi Babafemi is a likeable and pleasant spokesman. A journalist with decades of experience in journalism and public relations, Babafemi, an ex-EFCC spokesman who joined The Sun in 2003 as a pioneer staff till he rose to the position of Editor. He was appointed the substantive Editor of Saturday Sun in January 2017.
Since his appointment by retired Brig. General Buba Marwa as the Director of Media and Advocacy of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), he has redefined the publicity profile of the agency. Alongside his hardworking boss, he has made the NDLEA the best performing government agency in recent years.
Babafemi has some things in common with Adesina. They both shared same first names. They both worked in Sun Newspapers. They both are excellent in media relations, very accessible by journalists covering their respective beats.
3. Wilson Uwujaren
Wilson Uwujaren is the spokesperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC). He is a very vibrant spokesman whose organisation’s name appears in the media on a daily basis.
Mr. Uwujaren is also thorough and meticulous as he delivers clean copies that make the job of the reporter and editor easy.
4. Peter Afunaya
Peter Afunaya a veteran image maker and public communicator. He is said to have been editing the DSS’s in-house magazine, Tripple S before his appointment as spokesman. A
PhD holder in Security and Strategic Studies from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi,
Afunanya was appointed at a time when the Service was dealing with bad press. And this appointment has paid off in so many ways as he has used his excellent media relations skills to bridge the publicity gap for the DSS.
5. Onyema Nwachukwu
Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu is the Director of Army Public Relations who has had a tough job keeping the public informed about security developments especially as it concerns the war against insurgency and banditry. An alumnus of the University of Ibadan, he is a combination of a very patriotic army officer and a brilliant communicator. His style of keeping it simple and going public only when it is necessary has helped to preserve the country’s unity and stability.
6. Ismail Omipidan
It looks like Sun Newspaper is the best breeding ground for PR professionals in this country as this is the third person on our list from the newspaper. Quiet, unassuming, humble but resourceful Ismail Omipidan rose through the ranks to attain the position of Deputy Editor in the Newspaper. He was once the spokesman to former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
He has since 2018 worked as Chief Press Secretary by Governor of Osun State, Adeboyega Oyetola.
Omipidan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, and a Master’s degree in International Affairs.
Just like Babafemi and Adesina, Omipidan is the best spokesman any reporter or editor would love to work with. He is accountable and diligent, accessible and humble.
7 Azuka Ogugua
Azuka Ogugua is the Head of Public Enlightenment Department and official spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). Due to her diligence and hardwork, the ICPC has become a regular feature of newspapers, both the traditional and online, as their crime-bursting exploits and successful litigations are brought to the public through her timely and well written press statements.
8. Taiwo Adisa
Taiwo Adisa is the spokesperson to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state. A square peg in square hole, Adisa has put decades into robust print media practice as he was the Abuja Bureau Chief of one of Nigeria’s oldest and most authoritative newspapers, the Nigerian Tribune, for many years.
He has been an asset to the state government as Governor Makinde is seen as one of the best performing governors in the country in terms of infrastructure and security, and that is due to the consistent engagement of the media championed by Adisa.
9 . Onogwu Muhammed (Galacticos)
Onogwu Muhammed is a veteran journalist, writer and ex-Editor-in-Chief of InsideStory, an online news medium. Onogwu is currently serving as Chief Press Secretary to Governor Yahaya Bello Kogi state.
That Governor Bello is the most visible state chief executive on the national scene today is due to the result-oriented media engagements of Onogwu.
Popularly called ‘Galacticos’ especially in Lokoja, the state capital, where he was a household name long before his appointment, Onogwu understands human relations and his media relations expertise help his boss to douse tension and bridge the gap between Lugard House and the state and national publics.
10. Hadiza Umar
Hadiza Umar is the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations Unit of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). A thorough-bred communication expert, Umar is respected and well-connected within the diverse and dynamic digital space and this enables her to get NITDA’s messages across efficiently.