Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that his adoption of the non-confrontational approach to politics has enabled him to record more mileage in governance, in terms of visible achievements during his first four years in office as the state’s chief executive officer.
Okowa, who made the remarks while declaring open a three-day strategic political communication post-election and first terminal review workshop on Wednesday in Asaba, stressed that confrontational politics leads to distraction from set goals, adding that by ignoring mischievous elements often seeking to draw him into confrontation much has been achieved by remaining focused and committed to the policies and programmes of government.
The workshop, organised by the office of the Executive Assistant to Delta State Governor on Communications, Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, in collaboration with the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) primarily targets political appointees especially those concerned with strategic information dissemination at the state level and across the 25 local government areas of the state.
The strategic communication training is also meant to sharpen skills for the state’s communication and media practitioners in readiness for the ”Stronger Delta Agenda” of Governor Okowa, the development mantra for his second term in office.
Governor Okowa, who was represented at the opening ceremony by the Secretary to the State Government, Hon Festus Ovie Agas, urged the participants to follow in his footsteps by ensuring that remained focused on their duty by transmitting to the people of the state the policies, programmes and activities of government in order to elicit the cooperation of the people in its developmental strides.
He said, ”Our strategy as a government is non-confrontational, because we don’t want to be distracted from our focus on delivering well-intentioned programmes to uplift the wellbeing and living standards of all Deltans. A good manager does not listen to side talks; he focuses on doing his job and doing it well.”
While noting that his administration has done a lot in the a lot in the provision of infrastructure, which earned Okowa the nickname ”Road Master”, Agas observed that ”all this wonderful performance will come to nought in the absence of effective communication machinery”, saying those who desire to communicate effectively and professionally must never tire in the acquisition of knowledge.
Communications Manager to Governor Okowa, Mr Jackson Ekwugum, charged the participants to challenge themselves to mental rigour, which their job demands, saying they could not afford to dwell on or be guided by ”frivolities and unprofitable personality cashes.”
While urging them to strive towards effective communication, which ultimately is effected by the appropriate or desired response, Ekwugum warned them to be wary of the so-called New Media (or social media), which has made many mentally lazy in sifting the grain from the chaff; such that they do no have the patience to fully digest the content of news item or piece of information before jumping to conclusion and hasty response.
Also addressing the participants, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mr Charles Aniagwu advised the different government officials and media communicators to avoid all forms of docility but to be on top of their game by getting to understand the principal or immediate boss very well as well as being abreast of government programmes and activities at all times.
Delta State Head of Service, Sir Reginald Bayoko, who assured that Okowa’s term would be even ”better than the first”, and the state commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Mary Iyasere were among government functionaries who delivered goodwill messages at the event.
Prof Godwin Ehiarekhian Oboh, Head of Mass Communications Department, Delta State University, Abraka is Chief Trainer and Tasks Coordinator of the programme, while the head of political science in the same university, Dr Moses Adagbabiri, will due on issues of constitutional democracy via a position paper, ”Politics, Power and Authority – The Nigerian Experience from 2015 to 2019”, he said.
Aside the facilitators drawn from the academia, several media professionals and seasoned political scientists are also participating in the workshop as resource persons.
Oghenesivbe, a Barrister-at-Law and member of the International Communication Association (ICA) said that ”the main objective of the workshop is to further sharpen the creative writing skills of participants for enhanced productivity, pointing out that the Stronger Delta Agenda of Gov Okowa’s second term shall be the prime focus, in terms of strategies to effectively project government policies and programmes, public opinion issues, managing possible media crises, hate speech and propaganda”, adding, ”Multifaceted modules have been crafted to upgrade the mental and intellectual capacity of participants.”