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Omoniyi Akinsiju, the Chairman of Buhari Media Organisation has berated the flow of communication in Nigeria’s democracy. Mr. Akinsiju, the Publisher of the Fortune & Class, a brand and marketing publication made this disclosure recently at a media parley organised by Freelart Media, an online communication platform.

Speaking on Political Leadership: Importance of Effective Communication In a Democracy, the media guru said that the pattern of communication in Nigeria’s democracy has been bullet type. By this he explained that the line of communication took after what obtained under the military era preceding the recent democratic dispensation.

Responding to a question asked if it could be said that communication in the country’s democracy has been effective since its inception, the veteran journalist answered in the negative. He said, “Not exactly! Communication practice since the inception of our democracy is of the bullet type. Government spokespersons merely circulate information, believing that recipients will take and adapt. It is actually a tradition carried over from the military era.”

Earlier, the communication expert had defined communication as “an essential sphere of human existence (that) forms the basis of relationship either between two people or among people,” stressing further that “Democracy itself is about people and relationships forged from associations therefrom, and imply that communication is the oxygen that sustains democracy.”

In his words, “the purpose of democracy, politically speaking is processing the formation and enabling administration of government, which enhances the vitality of the government, governance and existence to the people by those that have been invested with the trust of the people to govern on their behalf.”

He therefore submitted that “Communication in a democracy is the generation of information of diverse nature and characters to the people (which may be targeted per time) with intent at creating awareness, education and or enlightenment.

Taking it beyond mere definition, the media expert explained that “Effective communication, in a democracy must first think on a robust feedback system such that information dispersed is retrieved down the spectrum as distilled responses from the recipients.”

Conscious of the impact of feedback in a communication chain Mr. Akinsiju remarked that the quality of feedback that completes the communication circle must be determined by the intents of the message.

“This intent is pivoted on the use of information dispersed to the people. In other words information dispersed must be given function to the recipients, for economic well being, social elevation, political advancement, or of knowledge that can be applied to advantage as the  case may be.

He explained, “The most effective communication is that one that starts from the people. It defines that before a government takes a position the people must be consulted and their opinions aggregated and dispersed back to them. Thus it reduces conflicts and provides clarity for recipients.”

The people centred communication strategy according to him functions as an attenuating factor for what I describe as the filter of fault lines through which some people on the receiver end of the spectrum filter information dispersed to them.

Concluding, he however lamented the way Nigerians filter the information dispersed to them saying, “In Nigeria this filter is made of our national fault lines of ethnicity, religious sentiments and primordial ties.

He thus recommended further training to handlers of information in Nigeria. “The primary responsibility of media message and management of government in Nigeria lies with information officers that are staff of the information ministry. I sincerely believe they need a lot of training,” he explained.

He also recommended consultation by government before policies are made public.

In his own remark the convener and the publisher of Freelanews Mr. Victor Ojelabi showing his appreciation for the precious time spent by the guest expressed the hope that participants were well informed about the trends of political communication in Nigeria.

The participants were drawn from different sections of the media both from mainstream and online writers, bloggers and reporters, and the webinar holds every Tuesday with guests sharing their views on topical issues as they affect career, professions and different sectors of the society.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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