CHARLES EHIEDU ANIAGWU, DELTA INFORMATION COMMISSIONER: AN EPITOME OF CLASS AND TASTE – By Patrick Ochei

The Delta State Ministry of Information is in good and capable hand; so rightly affirmed by a majority opinion. The Ministry is manned by a thoroughbred journalist, a well experienced information manager, a resilient businessman, an amiable encyclopedia of knowledge and a dignified personality that was elevated from Chief Press Secretary to Commissioner of Information in the same administration; and that is Mr Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu.

Though he had overtime proven himself to be a meticulous team player and a progressive, he once again convinced me today, that people of his kind make systems to work.

Just at the VIP Departure Lounge of the Asaba International Airport today, something spectacular happened. We, myself and Comrade Prince Kpokpogri who was also travelling were about to take tea when we noticed the Commissioner already taking tea and making a call while waiting for our Abuja bound plane to arrive Asaba. We both stood and moved closer to his table to exchange pleasantries with the number one Information Manager in the State.

While greeting him, the Commissioner quickly noticed a defect on the wall inside the lounge and the next thing he put a call to the Project Director of the airport, who within a couple of minutes arrived at the VIP Lounge. And then the Commissioner pointed at the defect, appealing to the Director to quickly have it fixed to avoid people speaking ill of the beautiful airport.

Ordinarily, as a layman I couldn’t have noticed such insignificant defect. However, some prominent persons must have noticed it and looked away from it.

Meanwhile, this experience also unveiled the Asaba Airport Project Director, Mr Austin Ayemidejor as a good man. He quickly picked the observation and in a giffe summoned about four engineering professionals, including an architect working at the airport to immediately assess the defect and have it corrected.

Perhaps, that he drew the attention of the airport management to a mere interior defect is not the only focus of this piece, but also to state that Mr Aniagwu has consistently been known for class and taste is what I am trying to point out.

Initially as a CPS to the Governor, we used to feel he had a mindset no one else could counter so far his intentions were suitable to him and because of his oratorial strength, we usually succumbed. However, each time we fell short of expectations we still deferred to him, having seen reasons with his positions.

I as a person have been understudying him and have often come to the conclusion that, if only media practitioners in the State could imbibe his ideals, he to a large extent holds the key to their productive engagements and practicing reward thereafter. I mean in terms of working as a journalist and being proud about it in the end, because in the end, the struggle must have been smartly converted into prosperity and wealth. I am still making progress tapping from his reservoir of knowledge. He is not just an information manager but a unique one with vast knowledge in administration, enduring media relations and fantastic strategies to solving knotty publicity issues.

Less than six months as Honourable Commissioner of Information, Mr Aniagwu had repositioned the state owned media houses to play their role of projecting the government of Delta State and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in good light. He has since inception as Commissioner, procured several state of the art equipment for the State Television houses and made it possible for their managers to transparently access their monthly budgetary allocations for effective and proper information management.

The Pointer has taken a new look inside-out. The facelift of the production house of The Pointer has been largely admired and has continued to receive commendation from various quarters.

More of concern is the need to appreciate the fact that just within this short period in office, the Commissioner had done two major training workshops to further capacitate those media practitioners that are key to him achieving mileage in his assignment. He first organized a training workshop for the Government House Press Crew and then recently, a workshop for Information Officers and Public Relations Officers in the Ministry of Information. And it is hoped that gradually, the training will trickle down to every segment of the media constituency in the State.

Aniagwu who is a member of the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, aptly understands image making and reputation management. He believes that image is everything and must not be sacrificed at the altar of error, no matter how small. His packaging, branding of the Okowa Government; and of course the candour, the dexterity and the finesse with which he does his job of information and perception management underscores his knack for class and taste.

Patrick Ochei is the Vice Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Delta State Council.