By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday told his critics and the opposition that the present ongoing implementation of the transformation agenda he was embarking on was not about him, but about the survival of Nigeria as a country.
President Jonathan however warned that “as actors, no Nigerian should attempt to destroy the stage or he would be left with nowhere else to perform.”
Speaking at a one-day workshop on “Effective Information Management and Public Communication” organized by the office of the Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe in Abuja on Tuesday, Okupe told the participants that when he asked the president over breakfast what message he would like he (Okupe) to pass to Nigerians during his recent media outreach, “the President dropped his spoon and for three to four minutes, he did not say anything. I was wondering whether I have goofed. Those three or four minutes felt like four years.
“Then he said, ‘it is not about me, it is about Nigeria. I may here tomorrow, I may not be here but at the end of the day, Nigeria will remain,’” he quoted Jonathan as saying.
Meanwhile, chairman, Board of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Mr. Ben Murray Bruce has urged media practitioners who work with politicians to be brave enough and tell them the truth, adding that they must also protect their bosses in the course of carrying out their jobs.
The former Director- General, Nigeria Television Authority, NTA who noted that the nature of the media has changed over the years, however called on government image managers to as a matter of importance keep themselves abreast of government activities and continuously update their knowledge to be successful in their assignments.
Speaking further, Okupe who noted that the workshop was organized for media managers in government, said that it was necessary “in order for us not to become accomplices to our destruction,” adding, ” as government functionaries saddled with the responsibility of communicating with the public, they must understand the role they are supposed to play.
In his remarks at the workshop, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim noted that in spite of deliberate efforts by the opposition to misinform the public, President Jonathan would not be distracted from fulfilling his obligation to the people.
Represented by his Special Assistant, Ferdinand Agu, Anyim said, “President Jonathan’s commitment to transform this country remains unshaken despite the growing tendency of the opposition to misinform the public,” he noted, advising the workshop participants to “stem this unwholesome trend.”
While urging the participants to “make deliberate efforts to debunk the misinformation and campaigns of calumny against government,” he stressed that the present administration remained committed to its duties and pledges to the Nigerian people as well as its international obligations.
“It is for this reason that the present administration under President Goodluck Jonathan has taken a number of steps aimed at ensuring that as much as possible, the conduct of government business is made transparent and members of the public wishing to know what government is doing on their behalf are furnished with necessary information.”
According to him, the signing of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act into law by the president was borne out of this need to remove the veil of secrecy that had for several years in the country shrouded governance, adding, “and which had unfortunately encouraged the thinking that government was a cult which the people were excluded.”
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