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24.10.2008 Feature Article

"Amaechi’s One Year Anniversary: Gains Of Information In Rivers State"

I was perplexed of how to start this article but was provoked to start by remembering Peter McWilliams quote, and he says; “One of the great joys of life is creativity. Information goes in, gets shuffled about, and comes out in new and interesting ways”. I quite agreed with the above expression. I was later made to be fame with the article when I went memory lane and remembered the quote of Carly Fiorina (Executive and president of Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1999. Chairwoman in 2000. She resigned from the company Feb. 9, 2005. b.1954), and she says, “The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight.” Without information, the people would perish. People would not know when they are running into restiveness, very close to them, or very far from them. Information helps man to keep abreast with events of things, past and present. And this could also be why Barbara Sher (American business owner, career counselor, author) quotes, “Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren't. But you can't tell the difference when you have no real information. Fear can create even more imaginary obstacles than ignorance can. That's why the smallest step away from speculation and into reality can be an amazing relief. The Reality Solution means: Do it before you're ready”.

Information reaches to the people in many ways. Apart from the modern-days technologies that man has invented to aiding of information, many ancient towns and villages imbibed the nomenclature of using gongs and towncriers to pass information across the width and breathe of certain habitats of man. This structure does not segregate. That is to tell how important information is to people. The people are well fed with events of things and the people concerned would be sad or happy when information is passed.

And any one who neglects information is not wise. Herbert Spencer (British social Philosopher, 1820-190) it was who quotes that, “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation”. And William Pollard quotes that Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit. And this is what High Chief Ogbonna Nwuke is doing in Rivers State, as its Commissioner for Information.

I think the Rivers people are the happiest people in Nigeria, because they are not misled – information wise, even that some goons have made people slept with one eye opened in the name of “Militancy” in the state, since Governor Chibuike Amaechi-led government came to power on 25th October 2007. October this year marks the One Year anniversary. And, the Rivers people, I believe, are happy because they now have a capable hand in their Information Ministry, who knows what it meant by becoming a pivot of information coming out from a state, like the Rivers State.

Since early this year High Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, otherwise could be called Mr. Humble, was appointed the Commissioner for Information Rivers State, the people have been walking when they are asked to walk, or stop when they are asked to stop. No one is hoodwinked with information anymore in the state, so that the government would be protected. No one bears the brunt so that 'job' could be protected. I think Nwuke has the people's welfare at the back of his heart than any protection of his job, and that is paramount considering information in a state like the once volatile Rivers State. Nwuke never allowed the people to drown in information and lack knowledge.

One thing that could fascinate any person that came in contact with Nwuke is his simplicity and humility. He did not allow the exalted office to run into his head, like many people who are in such significant position are wont to doing. He welcomes any person, irrespective of status, to his office, and make sure he attends to the person without any form of biasness.

I remember, under the past administration, people were hoodwinked with information, for political skirmishes. This affected the innocent Rivers people severely than the trouble-fomenters covered by the imbroglio called the Immunity Clause, the people who never had respect for us, because we did not vote them. They came to the saddle by a means best described as criminality, but we have been kind with them and called it 'rigging'. From Adamawa State to Anambra State, the story was the same.

It is never good, which Nwuke had seen, that a people, like the Rivers people, could be misled, to attain egocentric pursuits. That could be seen as the greatest part of inhumanity to man. There were politically motivated killings on daily basis, before Amaechi came. But no one was told what was happening, because the 'righteous' was not the ruler.

I don't think that we have anything to regret of the past. I had ones posited in an article on this subject. I quote: “And here we are today! Perhaps good things would not have been seen happening in Nigeria today if bad things did not happen in the Obasanjo government. As we know, most humans in their personal lives avoid planning for disasters, but many governments plan for that, which purpose is only to bewitch the populace they had already impoverished, especially the Nigerian government. But speaking categorically, why some people do not plan for disaster is because it's usually a thankless task, but some people in our country do not know this. Nigerians often don't take action until after a crisis has hit us. I must confess that Ogbonna Nwuke, the Director of Press to the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, so far, is not misleading the people with the information about the governor cropping up from his office”.

I have always argued that though, there could still be bickering and tinkering about the style of the government by some people, but Mr. Nwuke plans every day, responding quickly, fully, and truthfully to the people. And this is the only way a lot of Rivers youths, women, men and stakeholders have kept the faith of the public he serves. Inside and outside his office witnesses the fast-breaking and continuing stories all-encompassing like the Mississippi, with quick, consistent response to 'true' stories. Mr. Nwuke's various responses to the continuously unfolding news about the governor actions are foods of the mind. Nwuke's changing public stances in the face of public glare is aplomb. His office's advance preparation for several kinds of information is all thumbs-up. Why? Because he knows his job and enables news to travel farther, faster, in more ways. These days, people are learning the "truth" in Rivers State, about their governor, which was initially often conflicting versions, because someone like Nwuke is there.

Odimegwu Onwumere, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Oyigbo, Rivers State. 08032552855. [email protected]

Odimegwu Onwumere
Odimegwu Onwumere, © 2008

This author has authored 586 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: OdimegwuOnwumere

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