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Nigerians hold the key to better global image of Nigeria —Envoy

By News Express on 02/05/2013

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The Head of the African Union Diaspora Forum, Ambassador (Dr.) Erieka Bennett, has asserted that the negative image of Nigeria can only be changed by Nigerians who should speak well about the nation and project its rich historical and cultural values at every given opportunity.

Bennett made these remarks in a paper titled “Effective Public Communication: A Global Perspective” delivered at a workshop organised in Abuja by the Director of Media in the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs for Special Assistants (Media) and Directors of Information in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The African-American described Nigeria as a great nation with the potential to play major roles in global economic and political developments. He advocated a change in the current information management system to encourage proactive engagement between government officials and media stakeholders with a view to telling the Nigerian story in positive form.

Bennett noted that going by the dynamic nature of the media and communication landscape, there is the need for constant training and retraining of Information officers in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in order to equip them with essential tools of productive public engagement.

She advocated a creative use of the Nigerian film industry by government’s media managers as “the Nollywood phenomenon offers exciting new opportunities for Nigeria to reframe and retell its history, promote dynamic new self image sets and pride among the Nigerian people.”

Speaking on the topic “Security and information management in an emerging democracy”, the Assistant Director Public Affairs in the Department of State Security, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, urged government spokesmen to promote public order and people’s confidence in government by providing regular and detailed information on government programmes and projects in order to combat rumor mongering among the populace.

Ogar reiterated the need for political and career information managers to work in harmony in the interest of their principals and cautioned against utterances that could create tension and breed disharmony   in the polity stating that if most Nigerians regard the sustenance of socio-political stability as their responsibilities, there will be little or no insecurity to contend with.

Speaking earlier on the topic “The imperative of Organisational Synergy in Effective Information and Public Communication”, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, whose office organised the forum, explained that the only way by which walls of cynism, doubt and mischief can be broken down is by government spokespersons offering true, cohesive and prompt explanations on government policies and programmes before they generate controversies.

Okupe said media managers must be conscious of the environment in which they operate and devise means of cultivating media and public partnership for government programmes in order to guarantee sustainability of the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda which is President Goodluck Jonathan’s social contract with the Nigerian people.

Other speakers at the one-day workshop declared open by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, include the Regional Manager of Seismonaut Africa, Mr. Collins Nwanya; Special Assistant to the President on Public Relations, Dr. Olusanya Awosan; and his counterpart in charge of Media, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi.

While Mr. Nwanya addressed issues relating to appropriate use of the new Media in Public Communication, Dr. Awosan and Mr. Adebiyi spoke on the need for information managers to understand the importance of public opinion in formulating government programmes as well as the need for better strategies and funding for government information organs. 

•Photo shows Dr. Erieka Bennett.

Source News Express

Posted 02/05/2013 3:23:34 PM


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