Group Nudges Oyetola on Citizen Engagement

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Mr Gboyega Oyetola
Osun State Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola

A non-governmental organisation, Positive Agenda Nigeria (PAN) has urged Mr Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of Osun State to re-strategize in its public image visibility and connection with the citizens of the state to increase his popularity index.

PAN revealed this in a Press Release issued on the 30th of December 2019 on an over 30 pages report of a study conducted on the Governor’s media visibility and connection with the citizens with the use of available media platforms for the one year of the governor in office. The report which is titled “Changing Civic Engagement: Creating Better Processes for a Broad, Balanced and Connected Public Communication in Osun State”  shows that the governor and the Osun state government are not doing enough in terms of public image and communication with the people of the state.

As made known by Rasheed Adebiyi, one of PAN’s co-conveners, “The Positive Agenda Nigeria is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to focusing on good governance through government-citizen interaction. The organisation deploys evidence-based advocacy for a robust communication between elected representatives and citizens.”

The 33 pages data-driven report shows that radio and television were the dominant media platforms used by the state government in making media appearance and giving information to the citizens but few citizens get information about many political and citizens’ related issues in the state.

It is stated in the report that: “Radio (73.80%) and Television (43.70%) were the two dominant broadcast media used for the dissemination of the government and governor’s activities. We also discovered newspapers (online and offline- 12.69%) and government official website (7.89) and social media (Twitter and Facebook) as the media employed” by the government in 2019. “Our analysis reveals that the newspapers used 509 words in the headlines of the 63 published stories. This generated 3,841 and 2,612 cumulative engagement and impression score respectively.”

In spite of the result on the broadcast media platforms used by the government and the governor in the state, very few of the citizens get information that are related to expected issues from the government.

It is stated in the report that: “Over 3% (of the sampled citizens) indicated that they received information on security, health, infrastructure, industrial development, workers’ welfare and employment opportunities combined.”

These are issues the citizens expected the government to really engage them with by providing useful information but the governor’s and the Osun State media team are found to be lagging in having a consistent communication and related information dissemination to the citizens.

The report also shows that the communication pattern of the government will give room to mongering of rumours which can affect the credibility of governance in the state.

“It is obvious that closed culture of interaction existed throughout the one year. When there is such interaction, government and the officials give room for rumour. It also contributes to less social credibility. We investigated this further by examining the number of comments and replies the posts and tweets had. A total of 2,405 comments and 4,285 replies were found on Facebook and Twitter respectively. On monthly basis, we discovered low social proof for the government and the governor in November, 2018. The public started having interest in commenting and replying to the posts in December, 2018 and tweets in January, 2019. It is clear that the proofs maintained irregular trends from May, 2019 till October, 2019.”

The report was concluded with a point that the governor’s media team lagged behind in their activities and suggested to the team and the governor to re-strategise in order to make effective use of the available communication infrastructure to increase the governor’s popularity index.

“Although our findings revealed that some of the governor’s programmes and implementation were communicated to the people, the media team of the governor still lagged behind in content production, content dissemination and monitoring of the government and the governor’s public image in 2019. Our one-year monitoring of Governor Oyetola’s official Facebook page, Twitter handle and Osun website indicates that a lot of strategic moves are required of Mr Governor’s media team if the popularity index of Alhaji Oyetola is to rise.

From our analysis and insights that emerged, it is clear that the government’s communication engagement with the public has not been properly planned and coordinated by the media team in the last one year. In view of this, there is a need for redesigning of the team structure alongside training of the members on content production, content dissemination strategies and monitoring of the government and governor’s public image in the next year.”