EDITORIAL: Delta Govt Media Management: The Case Of Harold Ojji, The Chef And Butler

Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA: 

Harold Ojji

Chef: The presiding cook in the kitchen of a large household. The head cook of a restaurant or other establishment.

Butler: A manservant having charge of wines and liquors. The chief male servant of a household who has charge of other employees, receives guests, directs the serving of meals, and performs various personal services.

Neither the chef nor butler is owner of the household. Their diligence or overzealousness are therefore determined by the kind of services rendered, either to achieve good or bad result.

It is therefore disheartning to note that shortly after Governor Ifeanyi Okowa earned the accolade of “favorite of the media” from Nigeria’s President Mohammadu Buhari, free press or press freedom has become largely subdued while media practitioners are often times denied access to reasonable information in Delta state.

The mole-eyed Public Relations Officer at the Delta state Government House, Mr. Harold Ojji, has in his own uncanny wisdom become a willing tool of his vague imagination, with an intent to deprive Governor Ifeanyi Okowa from earning more accolades and recognition.

Meanwhile, a number of Information Officers have expressed worry about Mr. Harold Ojji’s continued stay in Government House since the administration of erstwhile Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan till that of incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Their concerns have however raised issues of possible monetary dealings with his boss at the Ministry of Information to remain in Government House at the expense of other qualified officers.

Ojji’s rude and uncommon exceses were first noted when he was an information officer at the Ministry of Energy. Owing to his nefarious conduct, he was relieved of his duties and summarily redeployed to Government House through the directive of erstwhile Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, an action which many of his colleagues frowned at because of his corrupt antecedents.

Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity have labelled him a subterfuge to generally accepted norms in the civil service as a result of his near fettish inclination and faith.

“We do not understand why this same man whose records are smeared with ineptitude, incompetence and outright wickedness would not be made to face disciplinary measures. Instead he is given a new chapter of lease to do worst things. He has a peculiar nature of disrespect. He sometimes shouts at his bosses in the Ministry and boasting to deal with them to the chagrin of onlooking staff.”

Recently, without the directive of his bosses, he singularly removed media practitioners email addresses from the government house mailing list, an act seen by many observers as detrimental to the state government’s open door policy. Others see it as an act to jeopardize the policy initiatives of government and working for opposition teams to further thwart government’s efforts of yielding information feedbacks.

His staunch refusal to obey laid down rules has oftentimes earned him queries from his bosses at the Ministry of Information, even as he remains unrepentant of his deliberate unsavory actions.

A government house staff said: “Mr. Ojji has flouted basic civil service rules in the past and nothing is ever done to him. He brags that his “godfathers” would not let him down and as such nobody can redeploy him from government house. He boasts that not even the Commissioner for Information can order his redeplyment.”

It is however unclear whether the chef or the butler has assumed his boss’ position on clear cut decision making and achieving results that are detrimental to the overall interest of the boss and public interest.

Top officials of the Delta state government, Head of the civil service, heads of government miniseries, agencies and parastals should therefore make it a duty to safeguard the tenets of their responsibilities by appointing officials with good and responsible conducts into offices of public concern, in order not to create room for disenchantment and distrust.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) – 
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka

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Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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