By Gifty Omashola
Rarely has any political office holder been so bedeviled by his own ‘constituency as Mr. Patrick Ukah has been. From outright sabotage by some of his staff, to calls for his removal by his ‘constituents’ on grounds of ineptitude and embezzlement as a result of their greed and selfishness or in some cases ignorance coupled with a propensity to not know the true state of things. Through it all the enigma, Patrick Ukah, has continued to plod on carrying on with his job to the best of his abilities, armed with the conviction that his legacy will testify to his pureness of heart and his cleanness of hand.
Prior to the ascension of Mr. Ukah as the Commissioner for Information in Delta State, the Ministry and its parastatals and been on a downward spiral. From comatose radio and television houses, to a printing press heavily reliant on outside bodies for printing of their materials, to dispirited staff who were afloat in the sea of professionalism. His was a job awash with a plethora of problems enough to make even the stoutest heart cringe in fear, yet he shouldered on, tackling each challenge as they reared their heads, stepping on toes, making enemies, sometimes making friends but always with his eye on his ultimate goal; 21st Century Ministry of Information.
To date the Ministry of Information under Mr. Patrick Ukah can boast of quite a few hitherto unimagined achievements some of which are;
• Re-branding of the state’s identity to clearly define the beliefs, values and interests of the state
• Sponsorship for the Induction of Information Officers into Professional Bodies and Continuous Professional Development Training
• Hosting of the National Council of Information
• Hosting of the National Guild of Editors
• Repairs of the Ministry’s hitherto abandoned 150kva and 350kva generators and connection of the Ministry’s Headquarters to BEDC 33KVA dedicated line
• Provision of tablets to field officers to aid in the information gathering and dissemination activities
• Renovation of the Conference Hall of the Ministry’s Headquarters
• Brokering the deal that made COMFAX, a communication outfit engaged by the previous administration to procure studio equipments, to handover the 3 Camera Digital Studio to the DBS Warri management
• Purchase of a total of 12 Full HD Digital Cameras, of various range, and accessories for the Ministry of Information Headquarters, Asaba and Warri stations of the Delta Broadcasting Service
• Replacement of parts of the digital radio equipment affected by lightening in Warri Station
• Resolution of the problems caused by the bad antenna at Asaba and installation of new earthling systems to replace the non-functional ones in Warri, Asaba and Ubulu-Uku where non-existed.
• Replacement of the bad UHF-TV antenna in Asaba,
• Replacement of a damaged surge protector in Asaba,
• Repair of the two Larcan Magnum Transmitters (5Kw) of the TV arm in Asaba
• Repair of the Industrial AVR of the television arm in Asaba,
• Installation of a new feeder line which was not in use at Ubulu-Uku to replace the bad one in Asaba,
• Repair and replaced some of the faulty digital studio lightening equipment
• Renovation/Tensioning of the dilapidated mast in Asaba.
• Provision of dedicated 33KVA lines at Asaba and Ubulu-Uku to reduce the challeges of power supply
• Repair of the Kord 64 Printing Machine for the Government Printing Press in 2017
• Repair of most of the essential machines and also purchase of (Computer to plate and folding machines) that would enable the Government Printing Press to print the Pointer Newspapers, all government documents and at the same time, operate as a commercial entity.
• **NB: It should be noted that the 2018 Edition of the Ministry’s magazine, Veracity, was printed by the Government Printing Press
• Initiated the process of reviewing the law establishing the Delta Printing and Publishing Company Limited (DPPCL), in collaboration with Ministry of Justice for an all-embracing edict that would enable the company to function optimally in a competitive environment.
You will recall that just recently the Commissioner got the State Government to approve the full upgrade of digital equipment for DBS, Asaba. This will set the stations to be fully ready to switch over to digital transmission as soon as the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation gives the go ahead.
With all these under his belt and especially in light of the national economic recession which heralded the Okowa administration, one needs not be over brilliant to come to the glaring conclusion that Patrick Ukah as the commissioner for information has done a mighty fine job to which all but the “bad belle” amongst us can only say kudos sir.