Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed sets history as he bows out as the country’s longest-serving Minister.
He described his 8-year tenure as challenging yet fruitful and memorable.
The Minister said this at the dinner send-off organised in his honour by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Friday in Abuja.
He said; “If I am correct, this is the longest period anyone has served as Minister of Information and Culture. I believe this is a testament to the confidence reposed in me by Mr President, for which I am most grateful.”
Alhaji Mohammed said “he served during a period marked by great challenges and great opportunities. While we jointly tackled the challenges headlong, we also made the best of the opportunities.”
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support and cooperation of the staff of the ministry as well as of its agencies, for which I am most appreciative.
“In the course of my tenure, there is no doubt that I had occasions to disagree with some of you for one reason or another. But this was all in a day’s work, and did nothing to affect the cordial relationship that I enjoyed with you,” the Minister stated.
Alhaji Mohammed also said his agencies and team lived up to the mandate, which is the management of the image, reputation and promotion of the culture of the people and government of Nigeria through a dynamic public information system that facilitates access by the citizens as well as the global community to credible and timely information.
While reeling out the major activities of the Ministry, Alhaji Mohammed said;
- “We enhanced citizens’ participation in governance by instituting the
Town Hall Meeting series
- We kept Nigerians informed of the developments in government through regular media interactions.
- We projected the achievements of the Administration by instituting the Scorecard Series that included presentations by Honourable Ministers, Testimonies by ordinary Nigerians, Documentaries and a Compendium of all the presentations.
- We ensured the documentation of all the achievements for posterity via an electronic portal. This means you can access all the achievements by visiting the portal, pmbscorecard.gov.ng. This has never been done before.
- Since they say seeing is believing, we regularly took the media on a tour of government projects across the country, so they can in turn report to Nigerians what they have seen.
- We regularly interacted with the international media to correct misconceptions, provide background briefings and ensure an unfettered information flow.
- We succeeded in reassuring the world that despite our security challenges, Nigeria is safe for business and leisure, and this paid off with our hosting of four international events in our time; the IPI Congress, UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Week, UNWTO CAF Meeting and the inaugural edition of the UNWTO Global Conference on Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industry.
- We blazed the trail in the retrieval of our timeless artefacts from those who looted them and our model is being followed by many countries around the world.”
Alhaji Mohammed said together with the five different Permanent Secretaries that he worked with, CEOs of the agencies under
the Ministry, Directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors andi ndeed all staffers, they did their best in the service of the nation, for the benefit of the people and to the glory of God.
He then urged the same team to extend to his successor the same warm cooperation that they gave him and his team.
The Minister said; “Please permit me to end by thanking Mr President for finding me worthy to hold this office for a record-breaking tenure. His unflinching support was indispensable for the successful execution of our mandate. I thank my family for standing by me and for enduring long periods of my absence. Above all, I want to thank God for charting our path, for giving us health and for keeping us all through the years.”
This gathering marks the end of an era, which started on Nov. 11th 2015 when the Minister assumed office after being sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.