Pre-Recorded Video Remarks by Ambassador James F. Entwistle Opening of the State Government Spokespersons’ Workshop, Kaduna (November 12, 2015)

Asaa Pyramid Hotel, Kaduna | November 12, 2015

(as prepared for delivery)

Hello, I’m James Entwistle, Ambassador of the United States of America to your marvelous country, Nigeria.  I am delighted to join my good friend, His Excellency Governor Nasir El’Rufai, to greet you through this video, on the opening of this two-day workshop for spokespersons to governors in the north.  A similar training was held in Abuja earlier this week for government spokespersons at the federal level, while training for your counterparts in the south will occur in Lagos November 16-20.

These trainings, funded by the U.S. Department of State, come in response to the Office of the Presidency’s request of my government to help spokespersons at both the federal and state level to refine and learn new techniques on effective press office operations.  A particular emphasis will be placed on countering radical narratives and helping to create a strong network of spokespersons throughout the Government of Nigeria.

An effective government press operation is critical in communicating clear and timely information to the public about government policies and actions, especially related to President Buhari’s priorities of counterterrorism, anti-corruption, and economic development.

Your work carries a tremendous amount of responsibility and will help shape public knowledge and perceptions of government through the media.  Your ability to do this job effectively in a fast-paced, technology-driven world requires frequently updating your skills.  And to help impart this knowledge, we’ve brought Eduardo Cue, a Paris-based, American senior media consultant and journalist who also has experience as a government (UN) spokesperson.  Mr. Cue will share his expertise with you during the next two days of intensive, practical training.

Mr. Cue is one of the very best instructors in this field, and this is his second training trip to Nigeria.  He helped train several of the elections reporters in Abuja and Lagos who covered the 2015 elections, which turned out to be Nigeria’s most-credible and peaceful exercise at in the history of its democracy.  Once again, the U.S. Embassy is proud to partner with the Nigeria Union of Journalists in this similar endeavor.

Open and unfettered access to information is the essential ingredient that promotes democracy and accountability in governance.  In this two-day training, Mr. Cue will teach the critical components for an effective press office operation, and coach participants on the development of inter-governmental talking points.  Participants will also benefit from techniques that can enhance their relationships with the media.  So enjoy this opportunity.

In closing, let me reiterate that the United States stands with Nigeria as your democracy grows.  We do so as your friend and partner.  You have many friends who want Nigeria to succeed, and the United States stands at the front of that line.  I look forward to this event’s success.

Thank you.