Nigeria to leverage on ICT for public communication

Solomon Chung, Asaba

The Nigerian Government says it will leverage on the power of Information and Communication Technology to constantly engage Nigerians on the policies and programmes of the present administration.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayo Adesugba stated this in Asaba, Delta State on Thursday at the ongoing 46th meeting of the National Council on Information.

The meeting has the theme ‘Leveraging on Information and Digital Technology to Sustain the Change Agenda of Government’.

She said it had become imperative for Information Managers to be dynamic in their choice of tools of communication with a broad spectrum of Nigerians with feedback mechanism in view of the paradigm shift in mass communication.

“As the internet and especially social media usage is becoming increasingly widespread, it is a matter of strategic necessity for us, as Information Managers, to fashion out practical strategies of exploiting, harnessing and taking advantage of various types of online platforms to publicise the policies and programmes of government.  This must be done at all tiers of government in a coordinated, effective and result-oriented manner.

“Conventional media, like radio and television will continue to play an essential role.  However, we have to be mindful of the need to constantly update the relevant technology associated with the industry, in order to keep pace with global trends,” she explained.

Analogue Transmission
Mrs. Adesugba said that it was gratifying to note that the 46th meeting of the NCI is taking place when Nigeria commenced the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, saying the rollout of the Digital Switch Over in Jos has revolutionized television broadcasting in Nigeria.

“For television stations, this is a new experience, as they will no longer be worried about signal transmission, but accorded more attention to the content,” the Permanent Secretary said.

Mrs Adesugba noted that licensed manufacturers of step-up boxes had been mandated to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria for local production of the boxes required for the Digital Switch Over.

This, she explained, would open new windows of opportunity for retailers and installers of the boxes thereby creating millions of direct and indirect jobs.

She hailed the Minister of Information and Culture,  Lai Mohammed for mustering the political will to drive the Digital Switch Over successfully, which Nigeria missed the deadline on two consecutive occasions.

“The Hon. Minister of Information and Culture,  Lai Mohammed is working assiduously to ensure that all available resources, both technical and operational requirements needed for a successful and smooth transition are being made available,” she remarked.

The Permanent Secretary called on delegates to make meaningful contributions to the meeting in order to articulate implementable decisions on how best to professionally package, manage and disseminate information on government activities and at the same time elicit the desired feedback from the public.

“We shall also review our strategies for information management to determine how effective or otherwise they have been, not only in communicating government policies and programmes to the people, but also to the extent to which they have served in mobilizing support and engendered better understanding and acceptance,” she added.

Confidence O