By Jennifer Okundia
Family, friends, Journalists from all walks of life and Lagos State Public Affairs Officers gathered on Thursday to celebrate 60 year old former Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Information of Strategy, Mrs Adetoro Oladapo, who has just retired.
In a lovely event that took place at the Multi Purpose hall of the Lagos state television in Ikeja, Lagos, the retirement ceremony in honor of Toro, as she is fondly called, comprised of a lecture by the keynote speaker, discussion by guest speakers and book presentation in honor of the celebrant.
Mr Fola Adeyemi, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, described the former director, as a trustworthy and reliable colleague in his keynote address, urging her colleagues to learn from the legacy she is leaving behind.
The Guest Lecturer, Lai Oso, a Professor of Mass Communication, who lectures in the School of Communication, Lagos State University (LASU), delivered a lecture titled: “Government Information Management In the 21st Century: Issues and Challenges’’. He urged Information managers to be the link between government and the governed.
He highlighted some responsibilities of the government and information managers: stating that the government need to be a step ahead in giving out the information that sets the agenda for public discourse, should be proactive in influencing public thinking and bracket out unnecessary information in the advent of fake news.
Government information managers should be deliberate, goal-oriented, able to generate contents that market the policies of government, and publicize actions and intents of government.
*Must manage public reactions and get feedback to facilitate understanding as information is a strategic resource.
*Information management is a way of generating meanings to contest other meanings in the society.
*Information and communication are fundamental sources of power.
*Information managers cannot engage in propaganda. They must be timely, comprehensive and provide information relevant to the society and improvement of governance.
*Information managers should create platforms that directly connect with the public, in order to GARNER THE information needed for the formulation of government policies to fast track better governance.
Oso also emphasized that some forces of Change that affect information gathering/management are; technology, political democratization and neo-liberal economy.
Using the celebrant as a case study, the lecture focused on the qualities and roles of government information managers in generating contents that market the ideologies and activities of government in a technology-driven age.
Veterans in the communication field stressed the importance of professionalism in information mining, processing and dissemination for robust communication and feedback.
A panel of discussion, moderated by Mr Steve Ayorinde, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy had professionals like Mr. Kunle Ajibade, Executive Editor, TheNEWS/PM News, Prof. Kayode Popoola and Mrs Adenike Shobajo.
Mr Kunle Ajibade during the panel stated that to be an information manager, it takes intuition, compassion and discipline to properly manage information. He emphasized that journalists should be truthful with their devices, keep learning on the job, be abreast of how things are being done elsewhere and there should be constant training while also answering a question from the audience about older journalists mentoring the younger ones.
Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, reviewed the 82-page book titled; “Toro Oladapo: Legacies of An Activist’’. while showering oladapo with praises. He said the former director is a straightforward person and a leader.
Bamigbetan also stated that the book chronicles the activities of a great activist of NUJ, NAWOJ and women in general urging the general public to get a copy so as to get to know more about this great woman.
Oladapo in her closing remark said her transfer from NAN after 21 years of service to the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy was the best decision she took in life.
She also thanked her family, friends, colleagues and everyone who has contributed to her life and achievements in one way or another, urging her colleagues to uphold the tenets of the organisation.
Mrs Adetoro Adebola Oladapo born on 12th July 1959 attended Holy Trinity Grammar School, Ibadan from 1972 to 1976 where she obtained her West African School Certificate (WASC). She bagged a first degree from Unilag in 1986 having earlier obtained Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE) from the Lagos State Advanced Teachers College(now Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin) in 1981.
Oladapo enrolled in same university where she has a Postgraduate Diploma in Mass Communication and an M.Sc in the same field in 1991. She joined NAN in 1992 as a Sub-Editor and later transferred her service from NAN to Lagos State Civil Service on March 9, 2010 as the press secretary to the then deputy governor, Mrs Sarah Adebisi Sosan.