Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Why Can’t We Merge The Ministry of Information with The Ministry of Communication?

By Lolu Akinwunmi

I first advocated this merger a few years ago when I delivered the main paper in abuja at the annual Nigerian Institute of Marketing of Nigeria annual conference and AGM. I reiterated this today at the Pan Atlantic University in the paper I presented at the Professional Programmes Graduation Ceremony of the School of Media and Communication.

Below is why I strongly believe government should seriously consider this. Excerpts from the lecture:


I am using this opportunity to advocate something different from the structure we have now, but which I strongly believe will enhance the process of effective public communication in Nigeria, and it may even become a regional model. Globally, the concept of a stand-alone Ministry of Information has largely become weak, and it is my opinion that Nigeria needs to upgrade as well. I am therefore advocating the merging of the current Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Communication to form a new Ministry of Public Communication.

If we want to be honest, the idea of a “Ministry of Information” and the way it functions is a misnomer. What it means is that basically we have maintained the structure we adopted from the early days when the Ministry commenced work as the PR arm of the government; the days when the late T.O.S Benson was the Minister of Information. The Ministry must move from simply “passing information” to Nigerians via its organs like the NTA, FRCN etc., and metamorphose into a Ministry that informs and COMMUNICATES. How? By developing and adopting a more effective feedback mechanism, processing this and converting same to effective communication. In modern communication, feedback is so critical to achieving this objective. In addition, the proposed new arrangement will increase the number of channels and outlets that are available to the government for communication management.

The proposed merger will solve many current challenges associated with effectively reaching our 200m people, and providing limitless opportunities in the area of public communication. The combined power and influence of the Information and the Communication Ministries will create a more effective information and communication vehicle. Let us consider some of the expected advantages:

• The Power of Technology-Driven Communication

The current Communication Ministry supervises the telecoms (MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9-Mobile). At the moment, their tools and technology drive a reasonably efficient global communication and information exchange for 200 million Nigerians and others. The proposed Ministry of Public Communication is therefore able to reach more people with speed and efficiency using the mobile phone, social media, email etc., relying on the infrastructure of the current Ministry of Communication under the operations of the telecoms. The proposed Ministry can develop and manage new platforms for sharing information and critical data, receiving feedback, managing opinions with speed and precision etc. It offers such amazing, exciting possibilities, and the good news is that we are not re-inventing the wheel; the infrastructure already exists, and under government management via the Ministry of Communications! Strong platforms like the DSTv that manages our Nollywood can also be incorporated.

• Financial Liquidity

At the moment, one of the challenges faced by the Ministry of Information and Culture is the inadequacy of funds; it wants to do a lot, but it never receives enough budgets, and I should know, having had to go lobby for money at the National Assembly a few times in the company of the Hon Ministers of Information that I worked with when I managed the Nigerian Rebranding Project, and as the then APCON Chairman. The proposed Ministry of Public Communication will have access to some of the revenue generated daily by the telcos via a special arrangement that also confers certain benefits and advantages to them, and so will be in a better liquidity position.

• Cross Advantages

Parastatals like the NTA, FRCN, NOA etc., will benefit from the technology offered by the telcos under the supervision of the new Ministry of Public Communication. Nigerians can be more effectively reached digitally on their phones, laptops etc. In addition, fresh technology will open opportunities for these parastatals to have a second and third look at the way the currently operate, and how the new relationship with the telcos can influence their operation and delivery; this can be converted into the management of consumer products and services to generate new and additional income for the parastatals. and they need it, if you compare their operations and whatever they offer to what a Channels TV offers for example.

• Efficiency Drive

We expect the emergence of the new proposed Ministry of Public Communication to also mean the review of some moribund parastatals that have little to do with public communication under the Ministry of Information and culture. Indeed in my opinion, of the 18 or so parastatals under the current MOIC, only about 5 or 6 of them have direct relevance to public communication! By the time the non-performing parastatals under the current Ministry of Information are streamlined, a tighter, more efficient operation will emerge.

• Commercialization & Self Sufficiency

The new Ministry will create commercial orientation within its rank in the areas of research, digital marketing, production, content development and management etc. Some of these will come with daily interactions with the telcos. These will increase the income stream of these parastatals and make them less dependent on government subventions,

• Enhanced Human Resources Capacity

As a result of improved liquidity, the new Ministry can upskill and also develop fresh capacity in its people, and invest in recruiting new ones, and can also set up training institutes and help improve the skills of other workers in other Ministries and even the private sector.

• Better-Focused Government Messaging

More critically, with more capital resourcing, better trained staff, the investment in up-to-date tools and technology, and the capacity to attract more capable professionals, and coupled with a more strategic approach to public communication, the overall benefit to government will be a better-managed machinery.

I feel persuaded that government should give this proposal very serious consideration.

Lolu Akinwunmi is the Group CEO, Prima Garnet Africa Nigeria.

What's your reaction?
0Love It!0Do Better!
Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment

This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives

Purchase Now