By Angeline Mgbele, Senior Correspondent, Abuja
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has hailed the conferment of the Fellowship of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, (fnipr) on two management staff of the Commission, as meritorious and a testimony to the Commission’s promotion of professionalism and excellence in its scheme of management.
Prof. Danbatta’s assertion followed the recent investiture and induction of Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka and Head, Media Relations in the Public Affairs Department of the Commission, Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, as Fellows of the Chartered Institute during its AGM and Conference at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, north central, Nigeria.
Danbatta, in congratulating the duo, said the Commission was proud to have produced these two individuals who had been considered worthy of elevation to the fellowship cadre of the prestigious institution like the NIPR, and that their emergence resonated with two of the Commission’s core values; Excellence and Professionalism; which the Commission coincidentally shared with the NIPR.
The NCC boss, a Professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, with many Fellowships like: Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Renewable and Alternative Energy Society of Nigeria, expressed delight at the level of performance of the Commission’s staff in their different areas of professional calling.
He commended the NIPR as a body for its commitment in the regulation of the practice of public relations in Nigeria for which it has found an ally in NCC. “This can only rekindle the healthy collaboration and partnership existing between the NCC and NIPR, especially in the area of capacity-building and commitment to appropriate national social orientation”, Danbatta stated.
Mr. Muoka holds M.Sc. in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos with specialisation in Public Relations and Advertising, after a Postgraduate Diploma in the same field from the same University; and he had earlier obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts from the University of Ilorin. Besides being a fellow of NIPR, he is also an associate of the Registered Practitioners of Advertising, (arpa).
Muoka worked for many years as Communications Editor in Vanguard Newspapers during which he also chaired the League of Communications Correspondents, one of the platforms that championed the deregulation of the telecom industry in Nigeria. He also worked for MTS First Wireless, Nigeria’s first mobile network operator, where he rose to the position of Deputy General Manager. In 1999, Muoka received a fellowship involving a Pan-African training and tour, leading to the award of a Diploma in Journalism, at the instance of the Egyptian Ministry of Information, and the African Journalists Union (AJU), in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr. Ibietan earned a PhD in Communication from North-West University in South Africa. He had earlier obtained MA in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, a BA in Communication Arts from the University of Uyo, and a Journalism Diploma from the Moscow-based International Institute of Journalism, Abuja Campus. A noted advocate of freedom and democracy, he was Freedom House Nigeria Project’s Regional Media Researcher in the Niger Delta until his appointment in 2006 as Special Media Assistant to the Federal Minister of Information and Communication, during which he popularised the use of new media for public communication in Nigeria. He is a member of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) and the International Institute of Communications (IIC).
Ibietan joined the NCC in 2008 and was deployed to Legislative and Government Relations (LGR) Department where he was frontline liaison staff of the Commission with the National Assembly. Much later after the merging of the LGR Department with the Public Affairs Department in 2010, he served as Manager Media and Public Relations under Muoka’s supervision and became Senior Manager Media Management until January 2017 when he was redeployed to PAD’s emergent Online Media and Special Publication Unit, and subsequently designated as the head of the Unit. He also worked at the Consumer Information and Education Unit of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) until his redeployment to PAD. He became an Assistant Director in January 2021 and was appointed Head Media Relations in July 2022.