Asks Aliyu Dangida
Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, a successful international businessman before he ventured into active politics, is a Babura born oil magnet cum transporter operating in Kano State with his factories employing thousands of people.
A very simple, courageous and philanthropist, he served in different capacities both at state and national body of Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and agriculture (KACCIMA) and National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
He contested for governorship elections in Jigawa for three consecutive terms and could not gain victory until in 2015, during the Muhammadu Buhari bandwagon and other forces that enabled him to clinch the number-one seat.
During his election campaigns, Badaru enjoyed the much-needed publicity from various media houses who did not consider what they were gaining from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The day Badaru`s primary election was going on in Gumel, PDP was simultaneously hosting its own, but most of the journalists were in Gumel to cover the APC-led Badaru`s election.
When he emerged as the governor of the state in the 2015 general elections, civil servants, media and other people had high hope on him thinking that things would be better than before, but their hopes were dashed. Most people think it was not the same Badaru they knew before he became the number-one citizen.
Business is no longer as usual for both working and visiting journalists, unlike previously, when a journalist would fly from Abuja or Lagos to Dutse, the state capital, to inspect projects executed by the state government, where the government would provide him with accommodation and food, and also settle his flight fare.
Even working journalists at times initiated local tours to make their stories, but all these have now been suspended because it incurred funds.
No visiting journalists can come to the state now for any official assignment unless if he can voluntarily come and go. Successive administrations, since from the time of Barr. Ali Sa`ad Birnin-Kudu and Alhaji Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, down to Alhaji Sule Lamido, have succeeded through carrying journalists along.
In addition to the working journalists in the state, anytime a national assignment would be held, successive administrations of Turaki and Lamido were inviting journalists or a team of editors to assist in publicizing their activities and that such programmes would be aired live in some TV stations, especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). But all these have been ignored by the present administration just because of the expenses attached to such initiatives.
Even the working journalists in the state, sometimes, complain that if they have proposal of tour or anything to promote the activities of the current administration, provided that the proposal involves funds, it is almost sure to be turned down.
However, in some areas, the governor tries to do his best, but along the line, as alleged, some of his aides could corner or divide the little he approves for the journalists.
The issue of placing adverts and sponsoring write-ups has gone for good in the state since the inception of the present administration in the state as the man at the top used to insist that it is a waste of resources. He prefers social media platforms.
It was alleged that even when he visits some states, he tries to shun interviews with journalists, especially if he discovers there is the need for welfare.
There are also some allegations making round that the governor doesn’t care to read newspapers, hard copy or online, unless it was an attack on his administration from the opposition, where his aides would quickly purchase a copy and deliver to him.
It was even speculated that he even barred the purchase of newspapers by government agencies, including Government House as done previously. So, even the vendors in the state are crying.
In fact, it is obvious to note that he appointed a media aide in his first tenure, but the relationship between the aide and journalists did not favour him. Sometimes, the governor had to intervene to solve some misunderstandings between the aide and the journalists.
This may have been his reason not to consider any media aide after his reelection in 2019, as he may not want trouble.
He was running his administration since he was reelected for a second term in office in 2019 without a competent and vibrant media aide, and this has attributed to the spate of attacks from both oppositions and those from his party as he had no aides to defend him.
He was left with social media personnel who most of the times make political blunders in the cause of defending him.
Just of recent, a reconciliation meeting was held under the leadership of former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yusuf Shittu Galambi with social media teams, aggrieved APC members, political and women groups to intimate them on why they kept mute while the opposition parties continued to criticize programmes and policies of the state government.
Even though the meeting ended in a deadlock, they nonetheless faulted the government for not taking good care of them. The opposition used this advantage, having discovered that the governor lacked experienced media team that could confront them, to go against him in various media, including social media platforms, thus diminishing his reputation.
There was a time the governor admitted that he lacked vibrant media team, saying out of the media managers serving in his government, he only has confidence in one, and the rest are incompetent.
To testify to that the governor has not attached much priority to media in his activities. This is especially when it involves monetary aspect. Even the state Ministry of Information, Youth, Sports and Culture is redundant.
Surprisingly, they would be allocated huge amount of money in every annual budget, but at the end, they would return the money back to the state treasury, as any memo sent to the governor would not see the light of the day. Instead, it would be under Keep In View (KIV) files.
In other states, the Ministry of Information is one ministry because of the huge burden on it, while youth and sports are separate entities, with their commissioners, but in Jigawa, the story is different. Even the multi-million-Naira state-owned printing press is overtaken by reptiles and weeds.
With the recent appointment of professional media team of Habibu Nuhu Kila as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ahmad Danyaro as Senior Special Assistant on Social Media and Print and Habibu Muhammad Ringim as Special Assistant on Media Content Development, Governor Badaru can now sleep with his two eyes closed and his critics may downtool, especially unconstructive ones.
Kila, being an experienced and veteran journalist, served as Director of Press to former Governor Ibrahim Saminu Turaki and until his appointment, he was the General Manager of Horizon FM in the state.
His appointment came barely one week after his election as Vice President (North) of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. Kila equally possesses all the qualities to handle media affairs of the governor, especially if he would be given free hand and necessary support required to take care of media activities.
Danyaro, a young and dynamic journalist, was, until his appointment an editor with the Concern Magazine in Abuja. He would use his vast experience to work for the governor in the area of social media and print. His advantage is he is a computer literate and professional who knows his onion.
Habibu Ringim, as media content development aides, has already been in the field, especially in the area of radio programmes, and has been enjoying the much-needed support from the government.
All eyes are now on Governor Badaru to see if he would give free hand and total support to the media appointees so that the narrative would change with the appointments of Kila and Danyaro.
Dangida wrote in from Dutse, Jigawa State.