It was Simon Sinek, a great scholar, who once said that "more information is always better. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it's bad news,
they can adjust and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions".
One man that is in ardent support of the Simon Sinek's school of thought on the importance of information is the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson. The information commissioner does not hold a Masters Degree in Public Relations just for the fun of it. He, indeed, knows his onion. He actually has the mastery for information management. I mean the type that yields positive results.
From the Opume autonomous community in Ogbia local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Iworiso-Markson was born and bred in Lagos, a cosmopolitan city that prides itself as centre of excellence. As a native of Lagos by birth, the commissioner has the fluid of excellence flowing in his veins. While in Lagos, he embarked on professional public relations consultancy for great politicians including governorship candidates and they never regretted employing his services. He is a public relations expert per excellence. This perhaps, is what endeared him to Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson in 2011 when he launched his Bayelsa state governorship campaign. With Daniel Iworiso-Markson as the media arrowhead, Dickson won the election.
Like Simon Sinek, he believes in the power and efficacy of information sharing. Daniel understands that any piece of information meant for public consumption should reach the public at the appropriate time. He knows, and accurately so, that any attempt to hoard information that is due the public portends great danger. He is not unaware that depriving the people their right to know only creates room for the rumour mill to thrive and breeds animosity between government and the people.
The aforementioned tips are some of the qualities of a good media manager that have made Iworiso-Markson stand out amongst his peers. He proficiently displayed all of that while he served as the Chief Press Secretary to the governor for five years.
Satisfied with his sterling performance, Dickson elevated and made him member of his cabinet as the commissioner for information and orientation.
In his new capacity, Daniel has shown ingenuity. Early this year, he compelled all his commissioner colleagues to present the scorecards of their respective ministries for the past six years. He tagged it: inter ministerial/agencies briefing. The event preceded the sixth anniversary of the governor Dickson led administration. The inter-ministerial briefings created an avenue for Bayelans to assess the achievements of the restoration government. Bayelsans were able to figure out the performing and none performing commissioners and heads of agencies and parastatals. At the end, the commissioner for information and orientation was applauded.
Furthermore, the commissioner's role in the ongoing public service reforms in the state may have as well written his name on the marble of history as a professional information manager. Professionally, he successfully made Bayelsans understand the reasons why the reforms became inevitable.
Iworiso-Markson and his media team traversed the length and breadth of Bayelsa state, holding town hall meetings. In the process, the media expert and his entourage, including journalists, cheated death twice. The first was on their waterway from Brass Island, headquarters of Brass local government area while the second was from Oporoma, headquarters of Southern Ijaw local government area. Two separate boat mishaps would have taken their but for divine intervention.
In all these, the information commissioner never deterred. To him, dying for the service of fatherland, dying for a noble cause, is very much worth it. The mission of the commissioner was clear. There was rot in the public service. But not many people were aware. Yet many thought governor Dickson was out for a witch-hunt. The people needed to know the true situation about the reforms. This was his mission.
With facts and figures, Iworiso-Markson gave revelations that shocked everybody. It was revealed that an individual civil servant would have over 300 ghost names to himself thereby pocketing millions of naira every month. In some ministries and patastratals, the public service was made hereditary. Employment chances were being transferred from dead persons to their children to the detriment of unemployed graduates.
Other revelations include: multiple employment, falsification of age to remain in service, illegal promotions, absent from work and many other forms of frauds.
From the information made available to the public by the government image maker, the state monthly wage bill has been reduced by fifty percent. As a result, the state government has lifted the embargo placed on employment by previous administrations due to the over bloated workforce. To this end, the state government created one thousand job opportunities for the unemployed to be engaged.
All the above mindboggling revelations have, no doubts, calmed frayed nerves that hitherto viewed the staff verification exercise in different perspective. It is really said that information is power and Iworiso-Markson knows that.