With Governor Ben Ayade being a showman, one would have expected that the information angle of his Government would have received a huge revamping and boost for the task ahead of selling the Digital Governor and branding of his administration but rather the opposite was the case.
More focus was placed on the new media with the numerous appointees becoming Information Officers on Facebook and WhatsApp which were the official communication channels of the just concluded administration abandoning the State Radio/TV station and the Newspaper Corporation with the famous Emmanuel Ulayi taking center stage as the pseudo Commissioner for Information.
Most times I wonder if His Excellency cares less or see no reason why he should run an Information Ministry as long as there are other channels to disseminate his information or is it that he is unaware of the situation of things?
Well, knowing Governor Ayade too well to be a benevolent Governor who could lavish millions on gifts at any point in time and will make sure the downtrodden are always comfortable and one who is ready to run an industrialised and entrepreneurial administration, I don’t think he will willingly play down on the importance of the State media but is rather unaware of the dilapidated state of the State outfits.
If that is actually the case, permit me Sir to brief you a little of the state of things in the State owned outfits:
His Excellency Sir, the Cross River State Newspaper Corporation has been in a dilapidated state begging for renovation for over 4 years now.
CRBC is closer to death today than it was 3 years ago sir. In CRBC, the station in most cases spends only about 6 hours a day on air out of the 16 hours a day the station is supposed to be on air.
Reasons being that there is either no diesel or engine oil for the generator or the plant is faulty which leaves the station with no other option but to depend on PHED for power supply.
That means the station often comes on when there is power supply from PHED. 70% of the staff of CRBC are contract staff code named “artiste” which some have worked there for over 15 years earning a meager N9000 as monthly stipends which does not come regularly.
Despite the fact that about 10 to 20% of the staff (Civil Servants) retire annually living voids, yet no employments. This set of contract staff His Excellency were the first to be interviewed in 2015/2016 to be employed into the State Civil Service, till date no one knows the where about of the list nor do they know their fate.
Yet, within this three years water board has employed (though they are not functioning), SUBEB has employed, Ministry of Education and even the Primary Health care has also employed.
Your Excellency as you are being inaugurated, look round the stadium if you’ll see the CRBC OB van! It’s not there I guess. If it is, tune to CRBC TV if your inauguration is live on air.
Meanwhile, the radio channel CRBC 105.5 FM has been off air and it’s still off air while your being inaugurated which means no live broadcast for those at the stadium.
For the artiste in CRBC, their case is a pitiful one as not only that they are paid meager sums and no employment forthcoming but their welfare is 0. No vehicle in the corporation to convey them to go cover events neither is there provision for transportation which means it is either you pay your transport from your pocket or get ready to trek to cover events that’s why you can easily see them trekking with cameras on the road.
That is a very sorry case especially with the fact that they are being paid between N7000 to N10,000 as monthly stipends … Who does that? Please when next you see a CRBC staff ask for transport when he/she covers your event don’t hesitate to do the needful because you’re saving a life.
I can go on and on but let me pause here for now and beg you Sir that after inauguration, don’t hesitate to take and inspection tour to the aforementioned places, a tour I know you didn’t do in your first tenure.
Maybe that is the reason most of this issues maybe alien to you. Meanwhile as we proceed, I pray you appoint a young and energetic hand who knows his or her way around into the Ministry of Information as it needs serious energy to revamp it.
May your 2nd coming be better than the 1st.
God bless HE Gov. Ben Ayade
God bless Cross River State
Missang Akpet, writes from Calabar and is an artiste with CRBC TV.