By Lawrence Ekong
It was the former US President and charismatic leader, Barrack Obama, who once said, “Change will not happen if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the one we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek “.
It is truism that there is a whirlwind of change currently fluttering across all the directorates, departments and units in the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information and Strategy. Pleasantly, the much celebrated change is infectiously inspired by one man who knows no less how to organise and reorganisealmost anything, including making tough decisions that are capable of establishing as much stability and direction as possible, which to many, is the hallmark of reasonable leadership. Make no mistakes, beyond the Ministry of Information and Strategy, where Comrade Ini Ememobong is currently directing proceedings as the commissioner, his stewardship style has never lacked the infusion of positive disruptions, whether as president, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), or as the publicity secretary of his political party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. The advent of Ini Ememobong as the Akwa Ibom information boss in the last 24 months could perhaps be described as the moment the ministry has always been waiting for, for so long. Best captioned as, “The Dawn of a Golden Era”.
Since his appointment on August 3, 2020, by his benefactor and political father, Governor Udom Emmanuel, Comrade IniEmemobong, a seasoned public relations expert and a political strategist, has pursued transformative vision that is ambitiously anchored on building efficient workforce through training and retraining of personnel as well as the introduction of contemporary approaches that promotes excellence in deliverables, and conducive work environment.
Succinctly, Ememobong’s mission in the ministry has not only inspired staff confidence and incredible level of output, he has also instituted hybrid welfare packages for all categories of staff, thus sparking an ‘exaggerated’ sense of belonging and a wave of incurable job satisfaction that is so palpably expressed by staff.
For someone who is painstakingly building bridges and extending handshakes everywhere, on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, one would agree that Ini Ememobong has come under due spotlight because for the umpteenth time, he has proven that the brightest of minds in our society can make a lot of valuable difference in politics and governance if given the opportunity.
For instance, the ministry under his leadership in the last two years, has witnessed an unprecedented height of improvement. His disruptive impacts can best be described as fiercely poignant and endless. Without mincing words, the veracity of his achievements are seen and also felt in all the directorates. The mix of his innovations can only escape the notice and admiration of the blind. But what impresses the most is that it can be measured based on what is on the ground, and when one juxtaposes his achievements within the period under review, you will discover that Ini, whose name is literally translated as kairos, is permanently on icarus wings in term of performance.
Beyond the refurbishment of offices into an exquisite work environment, some of his big ideas include: staff branding, free medical screening for all staff, overseas training for management staff and information officers. The list is literally endless, and the paradox seems to be far from seeing its end. That is very typical of Ini Ememobong for you. Never easily predictable.How he pulls it through every time, I still can’t figure out. Maybe someday soon, just maybe.
Another aspect that deserves huge commendations is his ability to lead the party to the homes of his predecessors-in-line on their special occasions, especially on their birthdays. This particular gesture has been considered as some sort of reassurance to our past heroes that governance can wear a human face. In actual facts, it has endeared the Udom Emmanuel-led administration to these former commissioners, basically because it provides them an opportunity to offer useful contributions to the state government, regardless of their political party affiliations. The institutionalisation of this novel culture of celebrating past political heads of the ministry has also provided a corridor for the reunion of former bosses and their once upon a time subordinates. The nostalgia are often times inexplainable. These visits have long been adopted as consultation trip, where ideas are shared on how to make the state and the Ministry better, where explanations are offered for decisions taken, for instance, many years ago, sometimes a decade of even more. It is a learning session, and by extension, a platform to tap into their wealth of experience rather than reduce our past heroes to only venerable spectators.
One thing that will immediately strike you about Comrade IniEmemobong is that despite his super stellar performance, Iniseldom regale himself in his accomplishments. To him, it is an opportunity to initiate a paradigm shift through disruptive stewardship that seeks to continuously move the needle of good governance beyond rhetorics and vain exercise, and most importantly, to demonstrate the fact that the future belongs to the creative minds, and that ideas truly rules the world.
Also worthy of mentioning is the fact that there is an undeniable air of satisfaction among staff in the ministry. This is not unconnected with the current strake of over-the- top performance of the Comrade Commissioner. For instance, the just concluded Chinese language acquisition programme and sign language communication training for staff, which have been dubbed as five star innovations, has sparked excitement among the beneficiaries, strategically because it is expected to offer the beneficiaries the prospect of new career paths capable of transcending beyond their civil service engagements.
Ini is a quintessential gentleman, a fine communicator with an unassailable repertoire of lexicons for every demand, occasion and time. He is also a workaholic with a dogmatic theology who acknowledges the contributions of his lieutenants and makes both spirited and concerted efforts to recompense them in accordance with the roles they play in his success equation. His ability to inspire confidence and the can-do-spirit in a legion of staff is unmatched. Little wonder he has been emphatic about making the ministry 100 per cent self-reliant in terms of skills and kits. Just few weeks ago, the ministry mulled the idea of setting up a Jingles and documentary production unit, and even went a step further to train selected staff for different roles ranging from script writing, jingles, voice-over, still and motion photography for documentaries. The idea is aimed at generating a plethora of in-house professionals that can hold their ace in the production and management of broadcast contents for the ministry. One clear benefit of this particular move is that it would check capital flight which are usually in the form of consultancy fees. It would also equip the ministry to be fully in charge of patent rights on every broadcast materials produced. This development may seem ambitious at first, but most people would agree that it is the way to go, especially in this era of internet and new media where content is not just key, but a money spinner.
Twenty four solid months after he stepped his feet in the ministry as commissioner, Ini has completely revolutionalisedevery aspect of the information sector. There is a renewed sense of responsibility and commitment on the part of staff. His presence has unequivocally foisted a unilateral front from management level to the lowest rung. There is an industrial harmony that transcends the work place. The entire information sector in the state has witnessed less media brigandage [except for the compelling forces of politics of 2023 which is expected] because the goal is to publicise programmes and activities of government in the right perspectives, than become an attack deer.
Like a mother hen, Ini is at the forefront leading the ministry through its golden age with his imposing ideas. It is satisfying to say that at this rate, Ini has surpassed expectations, a prove that we are the change that we seek.
However, a bigger credit must be given to Governor Udom Emmanuel for giving Ini the opportunity to serve in his cabinet and very recently too, as his protem director, External Communications for the Udom Emmanuel Presidential Campaign Organisation, during the build up to the last Presidential Primaries. The difference was conspicuous, and everyone took note. Most importantly too, I must commend the governor for granting Ini the latitude to hatch his best ideas. History would not only vindicate the governor as a youth friendly governor, but as someone who puts his feet down to ensure that youths are given a suitable representation in his administration. Ini must also be commended for not disappointing his appointer whom he revers even in his closet, his admirers, and of course all those who look up to him as their role model and mentor.
As the governor’s tenure gradually grinds to its terminal date on May 29, 2023, it is hoped that the Ministry of Information and Strategy, under the leadership of Comrade Ini Ememobongwould continue to break new grounds as well as put in more efforts to sustain the current tempo of achievements with even a renewed vigour for greater excellence.
For a man who has undoubtedly engineered several layers of positive changes in the ministry, and whose sheer dint of hard work has catapulted the ministry to an all-time ubiquitous status of “Golden Age”, it is only safe to banter 24 gbosas as gun salutes to specially celebrate him today.
Cheers to the game changer !!!
Ekong writes from Uyo.
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