The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), at a two-day retreat for its media officers which held on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5, 2019 at the Commission’s Academy in Karu, Abuja pledged to give the Public Affairs Directorate new strategic focus in public communication and engagement.
The Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu in his keynote
address, described the training as necessary, noting that it was an avenue to learn new and better ways of thinking and communication. He further identified capacity building as one of the key agenda of his leadership.
“Despite the fact that international organisations have rated us as the leading anti-graft agency in the country and on the continent, we should not relent but continually bring forth new thinking and ideas that will benefit the society,” he said.
Speaking on ”Effective Communication Strategy for Anti-corruption Campaign,” Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher, Premium Times Newspaper identified monitoring and evaluation as tools which help in understanding if the intended outcome of communication was achieved and how well or not resources deployed for communication were utilized.
Mr Olorunyomi established a link between a good anti-corruption communication strategy and democratic values of good governance, accountability, transparency, orderliness and public good.
According to him, a communication strategy that combines raising awareness against corruption, informing citizens of their rights, empowering the public and encouraging demand for good governance would contribute immensely in the fight against corruption.
He tasked anti-corruption communication experts on the need to ask and answer questions concerning their audiences; their behaviours; the kind of message they want to send to the audience, and to be prepared to evaluate and see whether success has been achieved.
To further achieve the desired goal, anti-corruption messages he said, could be supported by a research-based definition of the issue of corruption.
A good communication strategy according to Olorunyomi, gives the public reasonable hope that change can come and would generate interest and support that strengthen anti-corruption coalitions.
Director, National Council for Arts and Culture, Bauchi and President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Denja Abddullahi, while speaking on “Untapped Potentials of Theatre and Music as Communication Strategy in Corruption Fight,” highlighted the potentials of theatre as communication and advocacy tool. He noted that the impact of theatre and music in communication is immediate and as such, has strong potentials to be used in societal re-orientation and advocacy.
Mr Abddullahi equally touched on the concept of “Theatre for Development,TFD”, which he characterized as time-tested democratic method of participatory theatre communication that can be applied in the fight against corruption. Theatre for Development, he said, “encourages critical thinking in the mass of the people and allows the people to themselves suggest ways of overcoming identified problems.”
He recommended that the TFD approach should be adopted by the EFCC in unleashing the potentials of the theatre to communicate preventive anti-corruption messages to the public. He suggested adopting or adapting the “travelling theatre” format of TFD to take anti-corruption plays to the communities, sponsoring production of anti-corruption plays with targeted messages to be staged before live audiences of the ruling elites; commissioning television and radio play series on anti-corruption and syndicating their airing across media stations.
In addressing “The Role of CSOs, Citizens Engagement in the Fight against Corruption,” Comrade Olanrewaju Suraju, chair, HEDA Resource Centre noted the power, derivable from the mandate of the EFCC to engage stakeholders. He advised the Commission’s mapping of civil society organisations for engagement and the need for constructive engagement of the citizens in defining corruption and the existential dangers it poses.
Peter Oyeneye, Chief Executive, Advanced Management Academy, Abuja, who spoke on ”The Role of Public Relations in the Fight against Graft,” identified the pillars of public relation policy, practice and attitude and how public relations can be deployed in fighting corruption.
Speaking on ”Managing Public Confidence: is the Media a Friend or Foe?” Azubuike Ishekwene, Managing Director and Editor-in-chief, The Interview, observed that the EFCC enjoys huge public confidence. “It is one of the public institutions in Nigeria whose public confidence is intact,” he said. Public confidence, Ishekwene said, is trust, which is earned.
Director News, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Mr Sani M. Suleiman, examined “The Role of Radio as a Communication Tool in the Fight Against Corruption.” The radio he said is a great instrument for mobilisation because of its reach, adding that its impact on the audience is immediate and direct.
He, however, noted that for effective communication, freedom from censorship, reach and the target audience should inform the choice of a given radio station in a communication strategy.
“Radio communication can influence societal value in all ramifications because communication on radio provides direct citizenship engagement,” he added.
For a improved awareness of the Commission’s anti-corruption fight in the rural areas, Suleiman challenged the EFCC to develop and broadcast content in indigenous languages.