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Why I like Gov. Oyetola? He Doesn’t Create PR Mess For Me -Funke Egbemode

By Shola Oshunkeye

Before she berthed in the Government of Alhaji Adegboyga Oyetola of Osun State as Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode had etched her name in Nigeria’s journalism Hall of Fame as a pure-blooded journalist, spellbinding columnist, no-nonsense editor, and astute manager of men, money and material.

A crack reporter and prose stylist, she had been Editor, Sunday Sun, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The New Telegraph, a high flying newspaper in The Sun Group, and President Nigerian Guild of Editors. Very few female journalists have had their professional caps so crowded with so many flowery feathers.

Which was why her appointment as Commissioner was applauded by both friends and foes, who unanimously agreed that she was, indeed, a round peg in a round hole.

But then, the slow, dragging world of civil service is distinctively different from the crazy world of journalism where events unfurl with dizzying speed.

Recently, I chatted with Egbemode via Whatsapp, seeking to know how she was coping with her new beat and community. Her response is excerpted below:

Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola
Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola

Did you suffer any ‘culture’ flux or shock when you first took this job?

It’s definitely a new terrain but my job is still within the media. And the serene atmosphere in Osun makes work life easier.

How are you adjusting, moving from the newsroom and its crazy deadlines to government and the slow, ‘dragging’ culture of civil service?

I’m adjusting to the bureaucracy part. Public service is about proper documentation of everything and there are many competent hands here. Like I said, I am adjusting and I believe they are adjusting too because like journalism, civil service is also goals-oriented and everybody knows they have to give every assignment their best shot.

Are you saying it was a smooth transition for you? No difference?

There is a difference because this is more about service. Your action or inaction has spiral effect. It’s about the lives and well-being of the people. But it is also non-stop like the newsroom and there are deadlines here too, trust me.

How about dealing with civil servants who like doing things their own way, and at their own pace?

They are adjusting because our marching orders are clear. The Governor wants an active media.  My people in the Ministry are very professional and cooperative.

Totally from the bottom of my heart. He treats his media with respect. He responds to texts and WhatsApp messages; and returns calls. He doesn’t leave PR mess all over the place for his media to deal with.

What difference have you brought into reporting and packaging the government of the State of Osun under Governor Oyetola’s leadership?

The Governor Oyetola Administration has put in place a One-newsroom structure. The Information Officers from the Ministry of Information and Civic Orientation are posted to the MDAs where they serve as correspondents. They file their stories daily and we send the stories out to all media platforms. We also have our own portal, where all stories are posted as they come into the newsroom.

You were quoted somewhere as having said that Gov. Oyetola was very easy, in fact pleasurable, to package. Was that a nicety or you meant it from the bottom of your heart?

Totally from the bottom of my heart. He treats his media with respect. He responds to texts and WhatsApp messages; and returns calls. He doesn’t leave PR mess all over the place for his media to deal with.

 What are the attributes of Gov. Oyetola that make your job less complex?

He’s totally media savvy. He knows the power of the media and is very supportive. I have 24/7 access and that has helped in no small measure.  And he listens. Don’t forget that he is a professional himself.  He was in the private sector for more than three decades. It has been a pleasure working with him. He does not court controversy. He only wants to project his activities. No propaganda.

How open is the governor’s door to the ordinary people of Osun?

Very open. No airs about him.










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