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David Iyofor: A Diplomatic Chief Press Secretary

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David Iyofor was once the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State on Media matters, and later the Head of Media and Publicity for Amaechi's re-election campaign, since the inception of his administration. But there was a swing in the positions on July 23, 2011, when news reports were that the Governor had approved the appointment of Iyofor as his new Chief Press Secretary (CPS). Iyofor took over from the apparently conscientious Mr. Blessing Wikina, instantaneously. The appointment of Iyofor was welcomed by many as a deep-seated appointment of a non-Rivers person into such a position in the state, even though Iyofor would say that he does not see himself as non-Rivers person. Nonetheless, Amaechi fulfilled the desire to integrate non-Rivers people into his government-dresser, shaving him of any perceived ethnic narrow-mindedness.

While many have expressed gladness over this beyond-compare slot of Iyofor, others still bear a feeling of umbrage towards him. In a particular quarter, they have requested Iyofor to go and read certain books pertaining to his new job – an indirect antipathy and mistreat that he should improve on his duties. To these people, they debased Iyofor and laundered an opposite image of him as somebody who was fighting a commissioner over who was competent enough on the job of information dissemination for the Rivers State Government. They have even tagged him with names other than David Iyofor and made the office of the CPS look as if it was responsible for fighting against crime in the state. This happened whenever Iyofor passed his press briefs across the media on how the state government has been unremittingly fighting the situation of crime in the state. But whether there was an incessant bank and other hush-hush business robbery in Rivers State, almost on weekly basis, how does this translate to be checked by Iyofor?

Iyofor's antecedents from his days in Ovation show that he is not known for noisemaking. And because he believes in positive actions than in lies as some of his colleagues in other states may do, some detractors have gone out to characterize him as hollow and with zero self-confidence in the handling of his office. But this is not true of Iyofor. It is significant to say that Governor Amaechi did not make a wrong choice in Iyofor as his Chief Press Secretary. There is also a clear indication that Iyofor is qualified to serve Rivers State, even above being a media officer to the governor, but also as a seasoned journalist of intercontinental eminence.

It must be stressed that Governor Amaechi didn't appoint Iyofor to cause a problem; it is rather some disgruntled persons that are causing verbal problems because Iyofor was appointed CPS. Conversely, well meaning Rivers residents are laughing at such persons. Most residents are of the opinion that no one who comes in contact with Iyofor in the discharging of his duties has been disappointed. He has direct diplomatic aura of a media personnel.

Upon all the assaults on his personality, one likeable aspect of Iyofor is that he has not bothered much about the denigrators of his person and office. When he does respond, he does so wisely, like a man who would prefer to run away from a mad person in the market who accosts him, instead of engaging the mad person in a confrontation. The duplicated offensiveness and frequent battering comments on Iyofor since his appointment can be interpreted as just a series of vicious threats, because he refused to flex muscle with some political-urchins. While anybody is entitled to his or her opinion, in earnest such opinions lack weight if they are being mischievously distributed. Iyofor's service abounds with memorable track records without any traits of idiocy and brigandage.

It is too funny that some people sleep with ethnic bias, wake with earth eyes and walk with ethnic legs, which Iyofor dislikes. The main question here should be for those who drink from the brood of ethnicity: What happens if Rivers State is divided? Iyofor is not a political jobber and could be far from thinking in any form, the plotting of the downfall of anybody in the government. In all fairness, those who have been attacking Iyofor need our sympathy, because their selfish interests have prevented them from seeing that he has been putting his best into making sure that the state flourishes under Governor Amaechi.

Rivers State cannot continue this way: Fighting Iyofor without any reason for doing so. Iyofor is a Chief Press Secretary, working earnestly with the Amaechi-led government for the development of Rivers State. He has been showing full representation and equal opportunity in the business of the Governor's press issues. It is expected that others should follow in the same way. There is no need for the brickbats and backbiting against David Iyofor, who has been using his head well in the service of the state.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Phone: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere