The place of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Information Management cannot be over-emphasised.
It was against this backdrop that perhaps compelled the Commissioner of Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari to work out a collaboration with the office of Special Assistant to the governor ICT to train information officers in the state ministry of Information.
Already the first and second batches of Information Officers have completed their computer training on ICT in Port Harcourt while the third batch has commenced the training. The training of other staff are lined up in the training agenda of the ministry and parastatal under her supervision. The move is in fulfillment of her promise to embark on training and retraining of practising journalists in government owned media.
One would recall that within the first three weeks of her assumption of office, Mrs Semenitari, convened a meeting of the entire staff of the Ministry and unfolded her blue print which focuses among other things on human resource development.
Aside, the training of journalists in the state, she promised complete computerisation of the Ministry’s newsroom to add value to the existing ones. To march words with action, some of the computers have been delivered to the Ministry and the officers in the newsroom are happy with the development.
By this singular gesture, the Commissioner has shown that she understands human resource management and indeed proven that she is capable and well qualified to tackle the challenges of an organisation that is saddled with information management in the state.
No doubt, today, The Tide has been rebranded to take its past enviable position. Besides, there exists an acceptable level of working relationship between Commissioners in other Ministeries and Information Officers posted to them. Mrs. Semenitari and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Godwin Mpi are working in close collaboration to move the Ministry forward to ensure higher productivity and eliminate waste among staff. In fact the mission of the commissioner is to enthrone professionalism, productivity and profitability as her common refrain for practicing journalists in all the state own media.
Another area worthy of mention, is the Commissioner’s wisdom to organise a two-day retreat for all directors of the ministry, general managers of government owned media as well as their directors of finance and accounts. The retreat was for the heads to brainstorm on ways to move the ministry and its parastatals forward particularly, at this time when the governor of rivers State, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is striving for total restructuring of the Government owned media. By reason of the restructuring, these media houses are expected to compete favourably with their counterparts in private sector.
It was indeed a successful retreat. Some of the participants like the General Manager of Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Medline Tador attested to that in her remark during the retreat. She described the retreat as the first of its kind and very rewarding in addition to exposing the participants to new ideas.
During the retreat, the name of the Ministry changed from Ministry of Information to that of Ministry of Information and Communications. The move is to bring it in tandem with the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications and to expand the scope of activities of the vision initiated under her dynamic leadership.
This glaring positive development is just a tip of the ice berg considering the fact that Mrs. Semenitari is coming from the private sector, a good combination of private sector initiative with public service drive. It will be an era of change and progress for Information sector in the State.
Okechukwu Maru is a staff of the Rivers State Ministry of Information, Port Harcourt.