Delta State entered an unprecedented information management crisis on Tuesday August 22nd 2023, when the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, sworn in Commissioners to form his cabinet without the Commissioner for Information.
He however, on the eve of his inauguration as governor on 29 May, announced his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Sir Festus Ahon, whose official duty is to speak for the governor and not the State government.
Since the government started, this has caused a deeply fragmented information dissemination network to the outside world.
The State is still struggling to have a spokesman to bridge the current information deficiency that has left many in speculations four months after.
What makes appointing an Information Commissioner so difficult, what is at stake and who will speak for the state in this vacuum?
The ongoing National Youth Games, Asaba NYG2023, which ends today Saturday September 30th 2023, is a typical example, where negative information about the event took the center stage in both national dailies, online platforms and the social media space.
The reason is not far fetched, there is no Commissioner for Information to coordinate journalists covering the event.
This left a lacuna, which allowed information to fly without a central information base, unlike previous games where the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, in his charismatic sagacity, took charge.
Another very strong instance, was the 100 days of the State governor, Oborevwori, where activities prior to the eventful day, were not seen on national television stations, showcasing the achievements of the governor in his 100 days in office.
Again, the State has no Commissioner for Information to tell the world the landmark projects completed and line up for commissioning.
Delta State’s fractured, cabinet, mean appointing a Commissioner for Information which often functions as a specialist ombudsman service for the State.
For the first time in the history of Delta State, a governor came onboard since 29th May 2023 and the government is running without the major Information manager.
The ministerial responsibilities, duties and roles of an Information Commissioner, are but not limited to publicity and mass media, public relations of government, registration of newspapers and magazines, supervision of the State Television and Radio stations, supervision of the State Printing Corporation, mobilization of the populace and interfacing with newsmen.
In the last four to five months, these have eluded the State as those appointed seems to be gallivanting in the euphoria and comfort of their air-conditioned offices, while the information space of the State is left in oblivion.
That throws into question how Oborevwori will deal with the worsening information crisis and image laundry of the State which has paralysed information management.
One thing that has saved the Oborevwori-led administration from media bombardment, is that his mouthpiece, Sir Festus Ahon, was drafted from among Delta journalists.
However, this seemingly quietness should not be taken for granted as a stitch in time saves nine, if you sort out a problem immediately, it may save a lot of extra work later.
In a vacuum such as this, Oborevwori, should rise up to the constitutional challenge and urgently appoint a Commissioner for Information.