By Okpeke Akor Godwin
As part of his efforts towards making the people to understand and participate in the implementation of his administration’s policies and programmes, Governor Samuel Ortom, on assuming office, decided to reinvigorate Radio Benue, The Voice Newspaper, Benue Television and other media outfits in Benue state.
To this end, the governor ensured that the Frequency Modulated, FM, station of Radio Benue was strengthened with a 10 kilowatt transmitter and 200 KVA generator.
The governor also ordered immediate renovation of the administrative block of Radio Benue and approved the supply and installation of Live Streaming Equipment for the same radio station.
He further ordered the repair and resuscitation of the Antenna Mast and the station’s Amplitude Modulated, A M, studio and approved money for the purchase and delivery of a 5 kilowatt transmitter for the F M station at Idekpa.
After Radio Benue’s transmission problem had been sufficiently tackled, Governor Samuel Ortom launched the audience participation programme to enable the citizens have good knowledge of his administration’s efforts in changing their lives for the better.
The programme which is aired at intervals, gives the people opportunity to contribute to the running of a transparent and accountable administration.
Governor Ortom has not only shown commitment towards making Radio Benue to perform optimally, he also awarded contract for the renovation of of structures at The Voice Newspaper and approved the appointment of a veteran journalist to structure the organization.
In a similar vein, the Government Printing Department is being renovated and restructured to enable it carry out its functions effectively.
When renovated and structured, Voice Newspaper and the Printing Department, would be digitalized to make them compete favourably with such organizations elsewhere.
With regard to Benue Television which was abandoned for a number of years, Governor Samuel Ortom has directed that all hands should be on deck to make the station viable.
In line with his directive, the 150 KVA generator at the station’s headquarters has been repaired.
With the efforts being made by officials of the Ministry of Infrmation and Orientation and Benue Television, it is hoped that the station would hit air waves next year.
All the broken down vehicles at the headquarters of the Ministry of Information and Orientation have been repaired to enable the staff collect information from the ministries, departments and agencies for the publication of Benue-In-News bulletin and timely release of press statements on government activities.
There are plans for the citizens to participate more in the government’s feedback mechanism through a radio programme that would provide opportunities for them to ask questions that could be answered by the governor’s special adviser on media and ICT.
In addition to the Information and Communication Technology, ICT, unit at the Ministry of Information, the governor has given approval for the formation and implementation of an ICT policy for Beneu state.
Already, stakeholders have started putting together arrangements for the take-off of the ICT policy.
The ICT policy aims at putting Benue, its human and material resources as well results of research findings in agriculture, education, business and so on into the internet for the people to utilize and send their reactions back into government websites for further planning and programming.
In order that communication gap does not exist between the government and media practitioners, Governor Samuel Ortom interacts periodically with correspondents of national dailies, local publishers and social media activists.
As a media practitioner, Governor Samuel Ortom gives opportunity to journalists to seek clarification on issues concerning his administration’s cardinal principles of accountability, transparency, justice and equity.
The governor has used regular media interactions for the successful implementation of the amnesty programme which has helped to reduce crime to the barest minimum.
The internationally acclaimed amnesty programme is being used as a model by many states in the federation.
Recently, Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria gave Governor Ortom an award for enhancing law and order through the amnesty programme and upholding transparency and accountability in governance.
The change agenda introduced through regular interaction with stakeholders and the media became deeply rooted during the town-hall meetings held in the eight intermediate areas of the state earlier in the year
All these have given a new orientation to the people who are beginning to embrace agriculture, entrepreneurship and creativity and are gradually beginning to eschew corruption.
The people are also beginning to have confidence in themselves, they are beginning to see the present economic recession as a challenge to embark on self-help projects.
We call on the entire citizenry to become more God-fearing and see information as a tool for development.
We urge the people to be security conscious and release timely information to law enforcement agencies on the activities of criminals as the New Year approaches.
The stick approach of Governor Ortom’s amnesty programme spares no criminal, so, the citizens are advised not to hoard information on the whereabouts of criminals.
Information is power, so, we should use it wisely.
*Akor is a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media