Remarks by PAO Dehab Ghebreab State Spokespersons’ Workshop Lagos (November 16, 2015)

Good morning.

I am delighted to join Lagos State Commissioner of Information, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, to open this very important workshop.  Thank you, Commissioner Ayorinde for joining us.  I also want to express deep appreciation to Mr. Eduardo Cue for, once again, accepting our invitation to come to Nigeria to facilitate this workshop and share his expertise gained from decades of experience as a media practitioner and an expert in government communications in the news media.  Mr. Cue facilitated two workshops, one in Abuja and one in Kaduna last week.

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria continues to assist members of the news media and spokespersons at government agencies to enhance their skills to better serve the Nigerian people.  These types of workshops and U.S. based training opportunities that we offer through the International Visitor Leadership Program and other programs demonstrate our commitment to the deep partnership that we have long enjoyed with Nigeria.

These trainings, funded by the people of the United States, come in response to President Buhari’s request for help training spokespersons, at both the federal and state level, in effective press office operations.  A particular emphasis will be placed on countering radical narratives and helping you to create a strong network of colleagues throughout the Government of Nigeria.

Effective government press operations are critical at the federal, state and local level to communicating clear and timely information to the public. Your ability to deliver President Buhari’s messages about counterterrorism, ending corruption, and furthering economic development are important to the future of Nigeria.  It is also important for you to convey the state governors’ priorities to the citizens of the state.

Monitoring media coverage, briefing and advising political officials; managing media relations; providing information directly to the public; sharing information across the administration at the federal and state levels; formulating communication strategies and campaigns; and researching and assessing public opinion is what we do as public affairs professionals and spokespersons.  With the ever changing technologies, we’ve to utilize new tools to enhance our messaging.  Therefore, training opportunities such as this workshop are valuable.

Your work carries a tremendous amount of responsibility. It will shape public knowledge and perceptions of the government.  Doing this job effectively, in a fast-paced, technology-driven world requires cutting edge skills.

Open and unfettered access to information is the essential ingredient that promotes democracy and accountability in governance.  In this four-day training, Mr. Cue will teach the critical components for an effective press office operation. He will also coach you on developing inter-governmental talking points.  You will also benefit from his techniques that will enhance your relationships with the media.  Please take full advantage of and enjoy this opportunity.

In closing, I would like to wish you a successful workshop.  The United States stands with Nigeria as your democracy grows.  We do so as your friend and partner.  We look forward to watching your implementation of the lessons you learn here.

Thank you.