I have for the past eight or there-about months watch very keenly with intense attention how the information of the Governor of Cross River state, Professor Ben Ayade has been managed by the Chief Press Secretary and Special Assistant Media, Mr. Christian Ita.
Christian Ita’s method of managing the governor’s information machinery is what I will call blind and senseless gorilla media management that does more harm than good to his principal and himself.
How could one explain a situation where the CPS/SA to Ayade will always be reactive and not proactive and will respond to every Tom, Dick and Harry on facebook or pages of newspapers?
At each moment, Christian and those working with him would be responding to Obono Obla today, Paul Ifere tomorrow and Joseph Odok who they have clearly established as their Achilles’ heel in the most uncivilized and abusive words because they claim these persons have also used foul language.
I am forced at this time to air out my displeasure concerning the method and manner with which the Chief Press Secretary handles the management of the governor’s information, especially what happened on Saturday when the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun and other national officials of the party came to Cross River State to receive former PDP and Labour Part bigwigs who defected to APC.
First, the APC was in a most uncivilized manner denied the use of the U J Esuene stadium, built by late Brig. Esuene with tax payers money, citing directive from above as the cause of the denial, and then later lying that the Minister of Youths Development was coming to inspect sports facilities in the stadium.
After the APC resorted to using the Atu Primary School Field Grounds, Christian Ita and his men came again with the destructive propaganda of bomb scare in the venue, and after that gimmick did not work they began to send out false information through text messages to people’s phones that the venue of the rally has been changed from Atu Primary School to Saint Patrick College.
When none of the antics stated above worked for them, they resorted to posting pictures on Facebook trying to prove that the rally was a flop and that it was not well attended. Shamefully, they ended there as the actual situation was later posted on Facebook showing a mammoth crowd that attended the rally.
There are three positions one can deduce from the childish and vengeful method of management of Ayade’s information: First, it could be that the governor of Cross River State, a Professor of Environmental Science seems to know too much that he finds it convenient to direct how the media should be manage, insisting that it should be done his way or nothing else.
If this is true, then Christian Ita whom I have not met before is working with an extremely difficult man who knows it all and as such should not need media men to work for him.
The honourable thing for a CPS/SA with integrity to do is to call off the bluff, resign his appointment to protect his honour; after all, there is life and even a more beautiful, free and respectful life outside the walls of the Government House which often reduces you to a caricature of your original person.
The second position is that the Chief Press Secretary is deliberately working for the down fall of the governor by professionally mis-advising him and taking a course that would naturally plunge the governor into hot waters and mess, while smiling behind and calling him a fool.
If this is the case, then Christian Ita has no moral grounds to continue to occupy the office of the CPS/SA because he has betrayed the trust of his boss and worst still gone against the professional ethics of Journalism profession.
Thirdly, it could be that the CPS/SA is professionally certified but not competent enough to handle such a sensitive office in the 21st century information management that is increasingly becoming complex and diversified with the advent of the Social Media. Again, the right thing to do is to humbly resign.
Back to the issue of last week, it seems to me that Christian Ita and his cohorts or agents he used to send the bomb scare bulk SMS messages do not fully comprehend and appreciate the import of raising a false bomb alarm in an era full of insecurity from Boko Haram, Niger-Delta militants, robbers and other enemies of the society, what damage such a false alarm will cause in the people’s psychic.
To show the chicken brains of those involved in the last week show of shame, charade and high level of intolerance to freedom of expression and the right of association, they failed to realized that by denying the opposition party the right to use the stadium, proceeding further to manufacture artificial insecurity by alleging bomb scare and then crowned it with deliberate falsehood of poor attendance at the rally, they shamelessly sold themselves out.
Even the most stupid man who ordinarily would have believed that the government had a cogent reason or reasons for preventing the APC from using the stadium, has now seen clearly that the denial was out of sheer malice and political intolerance by the Ayade administration if he was in the know of all the rubbish, which off course he has no moral justification to deny.
Looking at the issue from the President of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari, how did Christian and his cohorts feel about the reaction of President Buhari to the fact that his party, APC has been disgraced in a state, though not an APC state, he first paid a visit and carried out a ground breaking ceremony of the super high way project?
How will Buhari react on finding out that a man he has loved and promised to give him all the federal backing to ensure the completion of his super high way treats his party so shabbily?
Did the Governor, Christian his CPS/SA and others working with them, take this thinking into consideration before embarking on such shameful acts that have completely portrayed Ayade as a man whose speeches runs counter to his actions?
If all that happened last week in particular had the approval of Governor Ayade, then he has also put his media men who write beautifully and pretty well of his achievements and saintly quality into disrepute.
I think the governor and his CPS/SA and his blind staff should be regretting now over their action whose consequence is unfathomable now and in the future.
Why did the Chief Press Secretary/Special Assistant to the Governor not issue a press release or stated as usual, “A press statement by the Chief Press Secretary Mr. Christian Ita, blablabla, if he and his incompetent media advisers and managers feel what they were doing was right or in accordance with the ethics of the profession? If indeed this is how a governor’s information/media should be managed then it leaves much to be desired.
There is therefore every need for the governor and his CPS/SA and other members of the governor’s media managers to change direction towards a more proactive, mature and highly tolerant method of relating with the public, critics and members of the opposition.
Wise media managers put more to the public, the achievements of their principal; react only to put facts in proper perspective but without abusing their opponents, regardless of the provocation from the opposition camp.
Indeed, it pay mores to be silent when it is not profitable to talk.
Lawan Okon writes in from Calabar.
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