The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and make the guilty innocent, and that is power because they control the mind of the masses. (Malcom X)
I can’t remember when last I penned down an article in my column on issues concerning my beloved Delta State or Nigeria. Even when I had the urge to do so and have been maligned, but due to various media engagements and consultancy, I have just been so reluctant to write. However, this write-up became necessary due to the current negative news bedeviling the Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa- led government in Delta State and the conspiracy to rope some of us in as culprits.
This ought to have been an open letter to the governor to tell him the mind of the media community and bloggers who form opinions that majority of Deltans agree with.
It is the promise I made to a honorable lawmaker of the Delta State House of Assembly not to do an open letter that stopped this from being the letter I planned it to be.
Since the governor came on board, with appointment of about six media aides, he has faced opposition from some popular media, which Deltans and Nigerians see as being credible in their news report. There is hardly a week that his name is not involved in one scandal, either financial or murder, which generates tension in the polity. If Sahara Reporters and TheWILL are not dealing with him, then Universal Reporters is on his neck.
If these three don’t have a report against him, be sure to know that 247 ureports have one bad report on him.
Now, I do not hide my displeasure on some of the media aides of the governor. Apart from the duo of Charles Ehiedu, who is the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) and Jonathan Onwuka, the Special Assistant on Community Media, the remaining five are what can be termed Delta Facebook Group media aides, whose activities do not extend past the Facebook groups in Delta State and their timeline that commands no following.
While they keep accusing me of being silent while my governor is maligned left, right and centre; the so called Social Media Special Assistant, who was not aware of his appointment until three weeks later after I had blown the news, keep going about telling people who care to listen that the Principal Secretary to the governor, who is known to be close to me is not calling me to order when I speak my mind about the government and the media aides’ inability to do their paid jobs.
But again, do you blame the SA who now has a Barney imaginary ‘office of the special assistant on social media’ for fumbling at such a big task? Certainly No! He was expecting to be given a Commissioner position which never came hence he denied my report of his being appointed and even demanded an apology from me for ‘defamation’ of his name.
As one who does not write by proxy, I’m calling on the governor to remove his current social media aide and give him another portfolio. The online community does not recognise him and won’t work with him; neither will the bloggers in Delta, Nigeria or Diaspora welcome him to the fold.
As a journalist and blogger, the appointment of a Dantes Odogwu of Deltans Diaspora, Okunbor Alex, Smart Ikem, Egwuyenga Ifeanyi Mike, Prince Wise and Okoh Williams would have been welcome, at least to a certain percentage. Of all the media aides by governors in the country, without any atom of pity, this is the most unfit among them, with none of them knowing what he stands for.
I make bold to say without fear or favour that Okowa will only have his hands burnt with the retention of his social media aide who is best fit as SA on library matters or SA on market and parks affairs. It is to the governor’s detriment that his appointees will organise some Facebook touts to keep hurling insults at those of us who want his success and dare to tell him the truth. To keep doing so is to tear the bridge of social communication that exists between the media and the government while they benefit from it.
With people like them, Okowa surely do not need an enemy as there are already some within. The governor who was made a political saint during the electioneering period cannot suddenly begin to be crucified just months into his administration and all will be made to look like it’s normal when information filtering from the Government House Communication Office shows that they want to find out why this negative publicity keeps coming.
Our conscience begins to die the day we begin to play eye service to the government of the day. Our political leadership begins to take us for a ride the day we begin to be sycophantic to their every move and action, even when it negates the moral principles we stand for. Those who seek government appointment do not tell them the truth for fear of losing such, but as always, the gap will be filled by those who can never lobby or seek appointments.
Despite the massive support given to President Muhammadu Buhari by uncle Dele Momodu, using his column; he criticises him when he is failing. But this appears not to be the case for the Delta State Government and his media aides who feel that everyone who supported them during the election must be a bootlicker after victory.
To them, we must never have a voice of our own, even if the governor derails and mortgages the lives of Deltans entrusted into his care.
To criticise the governor and his governance is to be seen as playing the opposition. Once it is done, they send attack dogs and avatars to descend on the critics. Lies are conjured from ancient caves and placed in their imagination to say that Fejiro Oliver was caught in Government House lobbying some irrelevant aides whose job is to go to Government House with Ipads to snap pictures (Ossai Ovie Success not included among them), as if we are still campaigning. In their warped brain, they could not take the picture of the Fejiro they saw in Government House, but instead they posted a picture of him during a press briefing, a man that will walk past them and they will never recognise.
The beasts in government do not even know that my last visit to the Government House was during the election, when former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan demanded to see Okowa and I went with the team there, and ever since, have avoided going there, despite being invited.
Okowa cannot continue to keep this burden of three media aides, (excluding Charles, Jonathan and Jackson) to keep managing his image when they forget their main job but take on persons who share in the governor’s prosperity agenda. Taxpayers’ money cannot be wasted on men who missed their priority and essence of being elevated. To redeploy especially the Social Media blabber is the only alternative to stop the onslaught.
These little things matter…
Oliver, is the Co-Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defender (CHORD)