The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Kwara chapter, has emphasised the importance of regular roundtable discussions on effective information management in the post-COVID-19 environment.
Dr Saudat Abdulbaqi, the NIPR Chairperson, made the observation on Wednesday at a roundtable discussion on: “Effective Information Management as Key to Promote Inclusive Governance”, organised by the institute in Ilorin.
The chairperson said that the programme was organised to reposition the institute for the good of all practitioners in the state.
Abdulbaqi stressed that there should be conscious and effective inclusiveness in government process, people participation, and loyalty.
Abdulbaqi, also the immediate past Head of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, said that the institute had laid down activities that would improve the pro-activeness and encourage diligence among practitioners.
She said that as long as people were not adequately informed of government’s policies, especially in areas that concern them; there would be continuous challenges in accepting such policies.
A former Commissioner for Information in Kwara, Alhaji AbdulRaheem Adedoyin, was the guest speaker and the lead presenter at the roundabout.
Adedoyin in his presentation described information was a powerful tool to drive the governance process when deployed positively for the common good.
According to him, information can also become an unconscionable weapon of mass destruction when placed in the wrong hands.
Adedoyin said that information might turn out to be a double-edged sword, which could be used for good or for ill.
He advised government to always woo the media and optimise people’s forum to create seamless communication with the media and those they serve.
“I do not gloss over the intrinsic value of an effective communication strategy in the unending quest by state actors to drive good governance.
“The import of this is that governance is inclusive when it effectively serves and engages all people; takes into account gender and other facets of personal identity.
“Also, when institutions, policies, processes and services are accessible, accountable and responsive to all members of the society,” he said.
Adedoyin added that entrenching inclusive governance was critical to promoting democratic values, peaceful pluralism and respect for diversity, human rights and the rule of law.
He said that deploying the right information and communication processes could help address both the supply and demand sides of governance through targeted and combined approaches.
“As communication specialists, we must recognise that good governance requires an inclusive public space based on informed dialogue and debate.
“The media readily fits into this public space and may well explain the popular perception of the media as the market place of ideas,” he said.
Adedoyin pointed out that as information managers, information management tools should be deployed to foster support for governance reform by influencing opinion, attitudes and behaviour change among leaders, policymakers and the citizenry.
“If we recognise the chain that binds citizens, civil society organisations, the media and government in achieving a framework for national dialogue, it should not be too difficult to see how effective information management can help shape public opinions for good or for ill,” he said.
Earlier in her opening speech, Mrs Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin, the Commissioner for Information and Communication in Kwara, said that accountability and responsiveness were critical to the success of every government.
She said that the state government would soon roll out platforms to deepen its communication with the general populace.