Tuesday, 23 February 2016

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION: LEADERSHIP AND THE PEOPLE

In the pursuance of good governance, effective communication of leadership with the people cannot be overemphasized and should normally be taken with utmost seriousness.



 Such communication as a tool of development is however under prioritized by most governments, giving rise to a situations where rumor takes the place of truth and of useful and factual information, where the people, some of whom do not have access to verifiable sources of information rely on “here say” and propaganda, as a source of information and a such become victims of misinformation and fall deeper into the pit of ignorance.

In a state like Benue state where many people are undereducated or illiterate or not interested in conventional channels of news. It is the duty this government of change, that was born out of the people contempt for bad leadership to devise ways by which it can reach out to its people, and provide firsthand information about its operations, policies, challenges and projects. With the availability of the internet and GSM phones, faster and cheaper ways of disseminating information can be assessed and utilized, but not without risk and proper vigilance, in the case of the internet, where people of dubious character have also devised means of speeding false news and propaganda, news that is sometimes very dangerous.

Timely, accurate, easy to assimilate information has a way of putting the mind at ease, while suspense and rumors create tension and doubt in the minds of the people, in a democracy transparency is sacrosanct, what needs to be known and said to the people must and should be known by and said to the people. The challenges of communication with the people do not only lie with the governments lukewarm attitude towards this issue, the people are typically more concerned with things that in a way “do not really matter”.

 For a very long time watching news or listening to the news on radio was an act practiced by only a few people in a vast population of people who need this information. While the rest of the population spent their time watching soaps movies, football, and listening to music, this trend holds true till now.

Most of our people do not indulge in the conventional outlets of information that are out there, namely TV, radio and newspapers, a situation that has made the northerner more politically aware that the southerner who would rather indulge in apolitical activities and consume apolitical information.

 However A very large proportion of our people are now connected to the internet and the GSM network, this provides a very big opportunity for governments, who to collaborate with network providers and deliver information to the very hands of every person with a phone, information they say is power, if at my leisure time I can receive a text with or without a link, telling me what, when, why, and how of the actions of my leadership i would be in a better situation to make decisions and become less likely to spread rumors and or assumptions.

Official websites like this http://benuestate.gov.ng/ which many people from Benue state do not even know exist are less likely to be cloned than twitter handles and Facebook pages, and should be more publicized as a first hand source for government information, it should also be able to interact with the people via chat, text, or mail. Passing information through one legitimate channel makes it easier to detect false information. A citizenry that is informed and constantly so, about the running of its government feels recognized and important; this makes him or her happier and thus more productive citizen. In using the internet to disseminate official government information, care must be taken and security measures put in place to prevent dubious characters from hijacking such apparatus to cause chaos by spreading dangerous information. The days of rumor mongering and assumptions are over, in the era of information ignorance should be a choice, and our governments must provide means of delivering useful information to its entire people.

Ahile Kashami Ahile - December 2015

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