Experts canvass for Government-Media relations for development

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

Dignitaries at the event during unveiling of the book on the activities of the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in the last three years.

Stakeholders in the media industry have called for concerted efforts between Government and the media in order to achieve efficient and effective communication to the public.

At a Public lecture and Book launch organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ, participants agreed that appropriate synergy between the government and the Fourth Estate of the realm is the key to an engaging society.

While speaking on the theme of the program ‘Communicating Development in an Emerging Smart City’, the guest lecturer, Professor Akin Oyebode said that media plays a critical role in the development process and it also forms part of the government, as any attempt to ignore it may cause catastrophe to the government.

Oyebode explained that the traditional functions of the media to Educate, Inform and Entertain would be defeated if media was left out in governance.

“Development is not a one way street, its a dual-carriage way, running between government and the governed. There is need to be a thorough ground from the input and output model, so that the intentions of the policy makers are accurately relayed to the intended beneficiaries of the State in order to enhance prospects for the realisation of the benefits of actions, programs and policies of the thinking in the powers that be.

“Practitioners of the Mass Media can hardly be ignored. Any government that intends to do away with Media in its plans, policies and programmes will be failing in its duties if it does not apprehend the neccesities to solicit the support and collaboration of the Mass Media, especially in relation to a project as gigantic as socio-economic and political transformation from a Mega to Smart city” Oyebode said.

Mega to Smart city
Speaking on the Mega and Smart City status of Lagos State, Professor Oyebode said that the population of the State has given it the Mega brand but yet to attain the Smarty environment.

According to him “For any City willing to transit feom Mega to Smart city, such a city must meet the standard of living in the 21st century. Before a Mega city can be transformed into a Smart City, there must be abundant evidence of employment of Hi-tech especially Information, Communication, Technology and a population sold on digital existence and attitude as well as ability to navigate thier way in the bravery world of contemporary life.”

He said that Lagos government was setting the template for achieving the objective of the Smart City with its numerous ICT related programs.

He said “Transforming Lagos State from Mega to Smart is a work in progress”.

Smart dream
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan commended the initiative of the Union for the event, particularly on the theme of the program which is in tandem with the current strides of Akinwunmi Ambode’s government to provide a Smarter environment and make life more meaningful for the residents.

Bamigbetan said that the deployment of more CCTV cameras and provision of Wifi at various public parks was a move towards realising the Smart dream.

He enjoined the State Public Affairs Officers  to hone their skills and leverage the available technology provided by the government.

 Communicating Smart way
The Lagos State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Dr. Qassim Akinreti identified the need for journalists to understand the dynamics of events and particularly Lagos as an emerging Smart City and to ensure that adequate and effective communication was applied to drive the message to the public.

He emphasised a knowledge-based environment which would assist in disseminating government activities to the people.

Book launch
The highlight of the program was the unveiling of a book written by the Union on the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode. The book is  titled: ”Ambode, 3 years of Inclusive Governance” which was coordinated by the representative of the State Deputy Governor, Mrs Idiat Adebule.

 Platform for knowledge
Chairman of the NUJ Ministry of Information Chapel, Mr Wale Akodu said that the annual event has continued to provide platform for their members to gain from the pool of knowledge of the guest speakers and discussants on the topic of discourse.

Mr Akodu who was delighted to have special dignitaries in attendance expressed optimism that the event would create a path towards actualising the Smart city development of the State.

Panelists at the discussion segment extensively discussed issues of Security, investing in education, creation of Infrastructure, change in mindset, extension of development to the hinterland, provision of electricity for efficient Smart City among others.


Confidence Okwuchi