The job of an Information Commissioner is to be an image maker of the state. The information commissioner also gives advice to members of the public on policies of government.
He gathers and deals with concerns raised by members of the public.
He builds and maintains excellent relationships with key stakeholders including the Governor being his superior, other commissioners, parliament, public interest groups, among others.
He should be responsible to aggressively propagating the policies as well as decisions of the state to the nooks and crannies irrespective of sentiments.
He should always support the government whether it affects his local government area, consistuency or not. This is his work, so far he accepted the job of an information commissioner.
He plays the card of the government and the governor.
Majority of the Akwa-Ibom people were elated when Barrister Ini Ememobong was sworn in as information commissioner of the state in August 2020 by Governor Udom Emmanuel.
They were glad that a young and vibrant person had taken the job of an information commissioner, the position which was previously held by Charles Udom, the present commissioner of Environment and Mineral Resources.
Since Governor Udom Emmanuel unveiled Pastor Umo Eno as the choice of the people and next governor of the state, Ememobong should have been the best person to rally support, put up narrative, convince the people aggressively on this.
But instead of doing that, the commissioner allowed the opposition and some members of his personal l media team circle to criticize the candidate of thegovernor.
He left the gap open for his team members in the ministry of information, opposition as well as other people to lampoon the person and the character of Umo Eno .
Instead of Ememobong to galvanize his unflinching support base towards the governor’s preferred candidate, he was silent over it.
Now, only for him to call a media rally or a supposed press briefing at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Secretariat in Uyo, and make a gross mockery of Umo Eno and the governor.
That is not how a Commissioner should act because his statement was an indirect ridicule to the person of the governor.
As the Information boss of the State, he should convince the people on the choice of the governor. Whatever the governor does, his duty is to ensure the people accept it.
If close attention is paid to that video, one would notice that Ini Ememobong’s body language does not seem to wholeheartedly agree with the governor, whereas he is the commissioner for information and should agree on whatever political decisions the governor takes.
A clear case in point is Aniekan John Umanah, a former information commissioner, now member representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika federal constituency.
Recall there was a Governorship aspirant, Ime Umanah from Abak where Aniekan Umanah also hailed from.
It is worthy to know that irrespective of the sentiments, Aniekan stood firm to project the interest of the successor and to ensure that Abak people rally massively for the support of the incoming governor. Rather than allowing sentiments to play out, he mobilized and galvanized support for Imeh Umanah.
But this is a different ball game entirely. Commissioner for Iformation, Ini Ememobong made the governor appear helpless by allowing his people, allies, media and even the NUJ chairman to criticize and condemn the governor for picking Umo Eno.
This is wrong because Ememobong should be the one to address the debate and lead the narrative on why the governor has settled down for Umo Eno and or why thenpeopllpp
But here, the commissioner is playing sentiments and by so doing, indirectly mocking the governor.
According to him, “If biologically, traditionally and even in churches people are interested in succession, then it is practically impossible that people should not be interested in succession in politics, especially the occupant of the office who understands the pains, challenges and nature of the office, and it is the governor who wears the shoe and understands the burden of the office in this case.
“The governor only acted as a medium and it takes a lot of humility for a person of power at the level of the governor to publicly admit that he submits to a higher power like God before making critical decisions such as who should succeed him at the end of his tenure”.
Sadly, that statement seems like he is mocking the channel through which Umo Eno’s political ambition came into existence.
“ Akwa Ibom is our only state, and if we heat the political space and things degenerate, we have nowhere else to go; therefore, I want to call on every one of us here to continue to support the governor and his succession plan for the state “.
He was as well telling the people that he has no hands as regards the comments from his people, whereas he should have been the one to drum support of the governor’s rebirth candidate to his people.
“My people have a choice to decide where to stand? “ Is that a good statement from a commissioner of information?
Ememobong is the one to mobilize and galvanize support for the governor, whether it is affecting his local government area, Ibiono or not. He must defend the government’s decisions both personal and state, because he is the chief spokesperson of the government and the polity should not be heated unnecessarily.
But ever since Governor Udom Emmanuel unveiled his successor, Pastor Umo Eno, the commissioner has not done sufficiently enough to defend the mandate as well as protect his office.
What he did was just a mere press conference that was even indirectly insulting the governor. It is as though, Ememobong is waiting for the Governor to beg for support and negotiation.
Ememobong spoke like a political rival and not a Commissioner of Information.
If nothing is done, it therefore means that the there could be a time, that the governor could appear helpless and defenceless.
Ini Ememobong should not appear helpless.