Anxiety Over Who Becomes Dapo Abiodun's Media Aide - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Anxiety Over Who Becomes Dapo Abiodun's Media Aide


Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
ABEOKUTA - The race for the position of the official spokesperson to Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, is gathering momentum as the media community in the state is suffused with anxiety about the likely candidate.

Governor Abiodun, who assumed office last week, is yet to appoint his Chief Press Secretary till now, but has a host of media handlers jostling for the position. 

Like his counterparts in Lagos and Oyo, many had expected that Governor Abiodun would make key appointments such as Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief of Staff (COS), Chief Press Secretary (CPS), amongst others, but the governor has remained silent eight days after his swearing-in.

THE ENCOUNTER NEWS exclusively gathered that about four persons have been penciled down for the top shot which are; Tunde Oladunjoye, Modele Sarafa-Yusuf, Hon. Remmy Hazzan and a renowned media cynosure with one of the major national dailies in Lagos. 

The appointment of the CPS become imperative and interested by media practitioners in the gateway state to know who manages the media circuit and image of the governor pending the appointment of Information Commissioner which is not likely to happen in three months now. 

Top on the list of the possible Media Managers of the governor is Mrs. Modele Sarafa-Yusuf. 

Sarafa-Yusuf is a professional in Marketing Communication, Broadcast Journalist, Pioneer Woman Sports Reporter and Host of Personality Interview Programmes.

The mother of three holds a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Ife and a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Lagos.

As the first woman sportscaster in Africa, she has been described as one of the best sportscasters -male or female- that Nigeria has ever produced.

In 16 years of journalism with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), she was not only a sports broadcaster, she was also a columnist for magazines, a guest writer for a newspaper, a script writer for television shows and a producer of documentaries and programmes for radio and television: in fields as diverse as business, culinary, current affairs, crime, and education.

In 2004, she was appointed as a Communications Manager at Globacom, where she drafted and produced a variety of internal and external communications including news releases, newsletters, brochures and magazines to name a few. The work she and her colleagues did in those early days helped to galvanize staff around a common cause and project the image of the company positively among its subscribers, regulators and the general public. With an aggressive media relations plan in place, the company also became one of the most reported companies in Nigeria.

Later, as Head of Sponsorships, she worked with a team of very talented people on projects such as the Glo CAF Awards. 

She also led other projects such as The Lagos International Half Marathon, The Glo Premier League in Nigeria and Ghana, and the first-in-Africa relationship with Manchester United FC.

She also had a stint as Director of Marketing at the prestigious American University of Nigeria.

However, what is of concern is about her not too good in relationship with the media in the state. Even during the electioneering campaign, she was too distanced and inaccessible by the journalists within and outside the state. Some journalists were of the belief that, her poor interactions with the journalists in the state may serve as a barrier to accessing information promptly from the government circle and her principal, who is the governor.

Another thing that may work against Sarafa-Yusuf is the belief in the media world  that a broadcast person can't make a good Chief Press Secretary. We have had such experiences in the past and the outcome weren't impressive. 

Tunde Oladunjoye is a veteran journalist cum politician. Many journalists in the State opined that appointing him as the Governor's mouthpiece may demean his pedigree. They believe that his rich dossier and political experience is bigger than occupying CPS/SSA office. 

Whereas, some media experts believe that Oladunjoye will not make a good Chief Press Secretary to the Governor because of his political inclination. 

Oladunjoye, who is currently Publicity Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee in the state and former Chairman of Ijebu North East Local government area, Ogbere was described as propagandist who might not project the image of the Governor in true light.

Oladunjoye, a graduate of London School of Journalism, London and Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, is the CEO Tunes Communications and Investments Ltd.

A media consultant to the World Bank was former Media Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, Adesina Akinwunmi between 2012 – 2014 and also one time Media Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Meanwhile, Oladunjoye is seen as somebody who is at home with the media community. He has close interactions with the executives, practitioners and the industry.

To a section in the media, Oladunjoye will be a square peg in the square hole. Previously, he had worked with Now magazine and Post Express newspaper. It will not be a bad option if Oladunjoye is made Chief Press Secretary to the governor, only if he accept the offer.

Another likely candidate who may emerge as the governor's spokesperson is Hon. Remmy Hazzan. 

Hazzan is a former Deputy Speaker in the state and the Spokesperson of Dapo Abiodun Campaign Organisation during the campaign period. 

Though, Hazzan is eloquent and brilliant, a lawyer and a robust lawmaker when he was in the hallowed chamber of the Ogun State House of Assembly, but many believe he is not fit for the job because of his lack of media background.

Hazzan, a real estate broker, and a lawyer may be good when it comes to public communication to defend the government, but nobody know his depth of logic and intellect regarding written expression. This is where the strength of any CPS is tested, without the person will not be able to defend his principal in the face of hostile write up in the print andbl online media. 

However, there is another person who is regarded as the fourth force who is being speculated as the likely candidate and whose identity is still shrouded in secrecy. 

However, sources close to the new government told THE ENCOUNTER NEWS that, the person is a practicing journalists of many years standing and a staff of one of the mainstream newspapers in Nigeria with his head office in Lagos. 

However, the race is still on even as intrigues keep unraveling in the race among the four to get the position, but who the cap fit, only time will tell in days or weeks ahead.

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