The activities surrounding the renewed attempt by the office of the presidency in showcasing the good administrative efforts of the Goodluck Jonathan administration via the Good Governance Tour under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Information may have opened a Pandora’s Box that may spell doom for the continued stay of the Information Minister at the Information Ministry.
Information available to 247ureports.com obtained through a top sensitive source within the Presidency reveals the uncloaked perception of Mr. President towards some of the Federal Executive Cabinet members – particularly the Federal Minister of Information, Malam Labaran Maku. The source who is a national player in party politics of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] quotes the President as saying that Labaran Maku as the “most corrupt Federal Minister” following a brief ‘behind-closed-door’ discussion between the source and Mr. President recently.
From discussions with the President, the source understood that the President was livid over the ill performance of the Good Governance Tour – in terms of the limited waves/impact made in the print and electronic media. It was learnt that Mr. President was elated over the idea of a Good Governance Tour when it was initially proposed at the Federal Executive Council meeting by the Information Minister – partly because the Tour would enable uplift a fast dwindling political currency. Mr. President was also pleased the Tour was suggested by a former Information Minister, Jerry Gana.
Pleased with the prospects of having a Tour to showcase the developmental strides of the federal government – of which may result to a good ‘Public Relations’ job for the president, Mr. President immediately bought into the idea – and tapped his men to help make available the necessary logistics to facilitate the Tour. The Information Minister was given the go ahead – along with the authority to approach the various Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies for financial support – and a list of their various projects. The information Minister also approached each state governor for the same.
But with roughly over one month into the tour exercise, the initial elation felt by the President evaporated as the media headlines appear to have not carried the efforts in the manner he [presidency] thought was fitting. “The president was disappointed at the exercise”. Specifically, according to another source within the presidency, the president thought that with the monies raised for the Tour – that the Honorable Minister should have been able to ‘force’ the findings of the Tour into the Headlines of many Newspapers or Magazines. Rather, the Honorable Minister opted to focus primarily on federal government owed media houses for the dissemination of the Tour findings and developments. Of which our source indicates the President was grossly unimpressed.
On the part of the reporters – who had tagged along the entourage of the Tour – as official selected reporters to report on the findings along the Tour – the matter appears uneasy.
The reporters, according to the Tour details, were selected from a wide variety of media houses and embedded with the Tour. They were to receive a daily allowance of N100,000 from the Ministry of Information. Also, to augment their daily allowance, the reporters expected to receive monetized goodwill messages from the various State Governors following the completion of each State tour. But the reporters have yet to receive the monetized messages – of which 247ureports.com gathered were regularly given to aides to the Information Minister for onward transmission to the Minister. But the Information Minister hoards the money without distributing the monies to the Reporters. As a result, the Reporters remain unhappy.
But the Director of Press at the Ministry of Information, Mr. Dama disagrees. In a text message to 247ureports.com, he termed the allegation against the Information Minister false and untrue.
In his words, “There is no truth in these allegations. Mr. Labaran is prudent with the good governance tour expenditure and no reporter has been short changed as alleged. All reporters are being paid their duty tour allowances as and when due as we went on the tour. You can call any one of them on tour team and they will confirm that to you. Again the allegation that the presidency is unimpressed is equally not true. This is because Labaran briefed the Federal Executive Council on the tour two weeks ago and it was adjudged to be good. If the presidency has found any fault with the good governance tour it would have said so and even be reflected on their resolutions for last week that he briefed council but nothing of such was reflected. Please ignore all the lies being spread about the good governance tour. We are ready to open up our books for you to see please”.
Meanwhile, preliminary investigation carried out by our correspondent indicates the Information Ministry to be administered under a less prudent administrator. Our investigation showed the Information Minister as a familiar player in the art of funds misappropriation. Specifically, the 2011 budget for the Information Ministry earmarked N65.68million for upkeep of Utilities at the Main Ministry, it earmarked N261.6million for Maintenance, N69.1million for Other Services, and N5.4million for Repairs – totaling to a grand total of N401.9million for building maintenance and upkeep. However a visual inspection of the building facility [both external and internal] shows a disparity – a structured disparity.
See below for enclosed photographs depicting the disparity in earmarked funds and the dilapidated utilities and associated structures.
The total 2011 budget for Information Ministry was N30.4billion. Click Summary_Information Comm to view the 2011 Budget for Information Ministry.
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