Thursday, 27 February 2014
BAYELSAN JOURNALISTS REMEMBER PAST GOVERNMENTS
At the creation of Bayelsa State out of Rivers State, October 1st 1996 the bifurcation revealed that the Ijaws in Old Rivers benefited nothing as there was no infrastructure on ground, the only structures on ground were the NRC and SDP party secretariats that served, one as Government House and the other as Command Headquarters of the Police in the state.
It was like building from scratch, where key government officials like Permanent Secretaries, Directors and other key officers including judges, doctors,etc had no place even to sleep And was the time the State media also began, with great challenges ahead to inform, educate and enlighten the populace in line with their Constitutional role.
Kudos to the first elected governor of Bayelsa State, Chief D.S.P. Alamieseigha, who took the bull by the horn when he had a dialogue with the Press to partner government for progress, with emphasis that no nation develops effectively without the role of the Press.
Chief Alamieyeseigha was press friendly and his Media managers were proactive,took media practitioners along in governance to the extent that media practitioners: Publishers and Correspondent of accredited Newspapers were given Government House Identity cards to enable them attend Government House functions. In fact that time the State Government had a dream to encourage the indigenous press to attain national status, a dream that administration was pursuing, which Dr. Goodluck Jonathan continued, he released money for the establishment of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association [BIPA] Printing Press, to state Publishers from going to Port Harcourt to print their Newspapers
Chief Sylva came on board and also tried his best to relate with the Press by reasons of Press briefings which gave opportunity for Journalists to express themselves and to know the direction of government on any issue that bordered on the development of the state.This relationship between the State government and the Press opened up the State by way of exposure due engagements in state activities including tours.
During Chief Alamieyeseigha's tenure Press briefings was not exclusive to the governor but it was the policy of government for every ministry to also brief the press on monthly basis, and the government was liberal, having the knowledge that publicity was cost intensive.
During Alamieyeseigha and Goodluck Jonathan administrations sponsored Publishers and Correspondents to cover events outside the state in Abuja and outside the Country. The Commissioning of Izon Wari was a typical example. Sylva also sponsored the state media to cover major events within and outside Nigeria.
The irony of it is that since Dickson came, there has been no Press briefing, what is on, is Monthly Transparency briefing, where the governor announces the income and expenditure of state's funds, which is like the parliament of the state where the functions of the journalists is hijacked, consequently Bayelsa based journalists no longer ask questions.
One very sad development that is questionable, is that during such transparency briefings, the state government import journalists from outside to usurp the rights of those in the state, those they accommodate, feed, empowers and transport with state funds, while leaving those in the state to roast. And on the other hand the Dickson administration had sponsored no journalist to attend any national or international event. National Conventions, South/South Conventions and Conferences and now the Centenary Celebration in Abuja, no Bayelsan Journalist is sponsored or accredited to cover the historic event.
This shows that the media managers of the administration have not briefed the governor enough of the importance of the benefit of carrying the state media along. The Information Commissioner, Deacon Markson Fefegha and the Chief Press Secretary should rise up and reposition the Bayelsa Press.