Media practitioners in Abia State have described the immediate past Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, as the best commissioner for Information the state has ever had considering his versatility in the industry.
An opinion sampling conducted by The Witness Magazine showed that Okiyi Kalu performed better than any other Information Commissioner that served the state since the Third Republic began in 1999.
The poll was spread across the conventional and social media practitioners and executed through oral interviews where the interviewees were allowed to make unbiased comments on individuals who had occupied the office since 1999 without the Magazine suggesting any name.
John Okiyi Kalu was rated as the best in management, presentation of thorny issues in government without insolence or engendering controversy, articulate, friendly etc, even as he is equally named the Information Commissioner of the Year 2020.
Said Gordie Udeaja of the Guardian Newspapers: “This is man is something else, he monitors every medium like the monitoring spirit and responds tactfully and copiously without leaving anybody in doubt on government’s position. He’s just too good”.
The chairman of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Abia State Council, Chief Obinna Ibe, believed that the immediate past Abia Information Commissioner provided leadership to the media industry, adding that he was indeed a friend of journalists in the conventional media and writers in the social media platforms.
“This is a man that would respond to your enquiries with the facts you need. He has lately reactivated the elusive interactive get-together with the members of the Correspondents Chapel where the hustling and bustling of news gathering is kept cool for newshounds to wind down”, he observed.
The This Day Newspapers Correspondent in Abia State, Mr Emma Ugwu said John Okiyi Kalu is a grass root Information Commissioner, “he knows every journalist by his first name and tried to reach out in terms of need. No Information Commissioner went extra way, the way he did; he’s indeed a good image builder of government”.
In her comment, the The Statesman Reporter in the state, Miss Henrietta Ashikodi wished that the new Commissioner for Information , Barr Eze Chikamnayo would toe the line of John Okiyi Kalu in building a good working relationship with journalists in the state, particularly members of the Correspondents Chapel.
An online media proprietor, Mr Clinton Uba wrote, “it’s on record that he (John Okiyi Kalu} never insulted any opposition leader or indeed any government critic no matter the level of provocation. The swag, candour, panache and interpersonal relationship he exhibited are legendary”.
Meanwhile, a permanent Secretary in the state and immediate past Director of Information, Deacon Uzoma Isiakpu concluded, “JOK did his very best in building, packaging and projecting the image and achievements of his principal, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to the world.
“He however was man alone. He did not factor principal officers of the ministry, particularly information officers in the execution of his duties”.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.