Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has debunked report in the social media that N3.4 billion was budgeted for the national reorientation campaign “Change Begins With Me.”
The minister spoke on Friday in Asaba at the opening of the National Council on Information.
He said that the report was a ruse and a good example of challenges posed by democratisation of the technology of information dissemination.
He clarified that the imaginary N3.4 billion was more than the overall annual budget of the ministry, which he said was less than N2 billion.
“Anyone can wake up and decide to become an online newspaper publisher, an online television station owner, an online radio station operator, a purveyor of news, photographs and videos.
“They use the numerous social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Twitter and Instagram just to mention a few.
“They spread whatever information that catches their fancy without engaging in the rigours of accuracy, fact-checking and fairness imposed by the traditional media.
“But there is another problem: They have their own public, and this public believes whatever information they put out,” he said.
The minister said the matter is worsened by the traditional media and seasoned writers who regurgitate the falsehood without cross checking the facts.
The minister also faulted the falsehood being peddled in the social media on dropping and swapping of ministers by the President.
“Ministers are daily being dropped on the social media.
“Many of us now wake up to read that we will be dropped as ministers or have our portfolios changed.
“Even our families and friends believe what they read or hear in the social media than what we tell them,” he did.
The minister urged government media managers not to despair by the development, but up their game by keying into the same evolving new information and digital technology.
He urged them to train their personnel on new technology and acquire state-of-the art technology as well as deploying uncommon commitment and passion to what they do.
The minister noted that ministers or commissioners in charge of information, and all other stakeholders in the business of government information management, are the true agents of change.
He said that as agents of change they must understand and sustain the concept through the “Change Begins With Me” campaign, aimed at “bringing back those time-tested values that once defined us as a people.”.
The minister thanked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, members of his Executive Council and the people of the state for the hosting of the meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 46th meeting of the National Council on Information has the theme ‘`Leveraging on Information and Digital Technology to Sustain the Change Agenda of Government.’’
It is being attended by commissioners of information from the 36 states and the FCT and critical stakeholders in the government information circle, including heads of federal and state government media organisations.