The Federal Ministry of Information (FMI), the nation’s gateway to information appears to be out of touch with current realities as its social media pages in facebook and twitter handle lack visitors and they are not doing anything about it, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations have revealed.
Although with a functional conventional-official website, FMI social media- facebook and twitter handle, are yet to gather momentum associated with such participatory media points nine months after they were launched.
Ostensibly, social media have historically seized the moment, setting aside the conventional-official websites and have helped to define Nigeria’s contemporary issues. However, as at the time of this report, only 1, 964 people have join facebook page the Federal Ministry of Information opened on November 30, 2011.
The supposedly Nigeria’s information centre with a vision: “To create a proactive technology driven public information hub, with effective feedback mechanism as well as telecommunications transformation in line with global best practices,” it appears the information managers are left with nothing on how to win public trust and confidence for present government hence no posting on the page had more than 15 ‘comments’.
The page believed to be supervised by Labaran Maku, minister of Information, could be in a crossroad on how, “To provide the citizenry with credible and timely information on government activities, programmes and initiatives; while creating an enabling technological environment for socio-economic development of the nation,” as the Ministry’s mission states.
Apart from press statement attributed to Dr. Reuben Abati, special adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, which recorded seven ‘likes’ fifteen ‘comments’ and one ‘share’ other posting are there for ‘poster(s)’consumption.
For instance, on one occasion, a message attributed to President Goodluck Jonathan which read: “On the 11th of October 2011 when I launched the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) initiative, I promised that this administration would see the scheme through and ensure that youths are empowered with skills and the finances to create business that would employ other youths. At that time I said "unemployment among our youth is one of our biggest challenges. The time has come to create jobs (and) lay a new foundation for Nigeria's economic growth".
“I am glad to report to you that the Federal Government has lived up to that promise and 1200 youths drawn from all over Nigeria have emerged as winners after submitting business proposals that were adjudged by an independent non governmental panel as viable. This first round of winners will now receive the capital to start up new businesses or enlarge established enterprises.
“Now that the Federal Government has lived up to this promise, I encourage all winners and participants to take advantage of the skills received during the training exercise that preceded the announcement of winners. Nigerians are hardworking people. More than the money, the real prize arising from this scheme, is the determination of the Nigerian youth to excel!” GEJ. The quote managed to record four visitors-three likes and a comment as at March 28, 2012. Even Mr. President’s speech (Broadcast) to Nigerians on the Deregulation of the Downstream Sector and dated Januray 8, 2012 witnessed a total of eight visitors- three ‘likes’ and five ‘comments’.
Similarly, @FMINigeria on Twitter, the Twitter handle for the ministry has just 5,000 followers since inception which raises eyebrows on tactical approach the ministry has engaged in fulfilling it mandate anchored meant, “To proactively inform, enlighten, and educate the citizenry on the activities, actions, policies and programmes of government and to initiate and supervise telecommunications policies in Nigeria.
The corporate goals and objectives of the Federal Ministry of Information are derived from policy directives and guidelines on management of public information as may be defined or prescribed by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces from time to time.
As Mr. Uyi Omokaro, managing director, David’s Mighty Men (DM2), a Marketing Communications firm, once told the media, “...the internet population in Nigeria is about the largest population at the moment. There are about 44 million Nigerians on-line, even more than half of that is mobile.
“People are on twitter, yahoo, facebook, and browsing big websites…no matter the site, we get our news on-line. So if you want to run a massive campaign in Nigeria, 44 million people are a huge chunk of your audience”.
But this sees to have been neglect at the moment by the nation’s public information managers.