By Vincent Okpalaeke
The easiest way to measure the fifteen month tenure of Chief Olisa Metuh as the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is to gauge the results of the creativity that generated not only activities, but enervated the external communication of the ruling party and brought its operations on the same page with modern professional nuances.
It would be recalled that Metuh was one of the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that resigned their positions two months ago in order to regularize their elections at the special national convention scheduled for August 31, 2013.
The saying that greatness is usually fired by an ambitious zeal to excel and that successful organizations are the makings of great mind is in every sense true with the tenure of Olisa Metuh as the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. He came with the brilliance of a philosopher.
And this philosophical leaning, combined with lofty ideas and youthful strength energized and elevated the publicity of the ruling party to what an analyst once described as “ moving away from a hitherto lethargy of a defensive ruling party to a proactive pounding of the vociferous opposition ACN on issues of facts and figures.”
His consummate administrative skill, encapsulated in openness and democratization of intellectualism gingered an outbreak of skills and ideas which drastically changed the battered image of the party. It was Metuh’s efficiency that revived the PDP as a “ people oriented , issue based and democratic political party.”
His strategy was to positively put the PDP in the subconscious as a political party whose pluses far outweigh the minuses often exploited by the opposition.
Through this, he succeeded in retrieving the numerous achievements of his party, hitherto unsung in a polity, gripped and intimidated by the vicious propaganda of the opposition.
He thus re-established the preeminent position of the PDP as a party mindful of the expectations of over one hundred and sixty million Nigerians entrusted to its care. He explored and enthroned the core values of the PDP once more in the public square.
He premised his advocacy regime on what looks like the following. First is that though the PDP has not achieved all, it has achieved a lot to constantly earn the trust of Nigerians. Similarly, that far from being an enclave of saints, PDP is a congregation of ordinary mortals who could err and seek correction. At the base verily, is that the PDP is the masses and the masses, the owner of PDP. The leadership must therefore at every time be on their side. A few of his public statements and their consequences are illustrative enough.
The result of his perfect understanding of the dynamics of public relations, whose finesse expresses better in doing than in saying, paid off in many respects.
In December 2012, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, he brought together the Zonal and State Publicity and Organising Secretaries of the PDP as well as relevant staff members of the national secretariat in a seminar-workshop, the type of which was last organized in 2001 under the Gemade leadership.
For some of these officers who came face to face for the first time with the national leadership of the party, the experience was edifying as was memorable; a first hand opportunity to interface with colleagues from other parts of the country as well as contribute to the running of their party at the centre.
Part of the communiqué of that exercise which harped essentially on the inevitability of e-membership for the party influenced its implementation in Anambra State chapter as a take off point. It is also to Metuh’s credit that ministerial briefing at the party’s national secretariat has provided a valuable window for the leadership and members to access the performance of the federal government.
His brief stay as Publicity Secretary would not have been successful without the re-organization of the publicity directorate out of which he created four special units of Research, Media Surveillance, Social Media and Nigerian Languages to ensure effective service delivery.
Having effectively put the PDP in the social media, he drew under four months, over eighteen thousand followers that provide feedback on the party’s policies as well as on the activities of its government at different levels.
Okpalaeke is a member of the National Executive committee of the PDP