The world of technology is fast evolving, and is becoming the most sophisticated and yet vital means of communication. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. With the availability and spread of internet across the globe, and the development of Facebook in 2003, there are an ever increasing number of social media platforms. Millions of people around the world now interact with each other in respect to politics, business, education, entertainment, and other social networking forums. As the technology evolves, the public institutions across the globe are left with no choice other than adopting the new digital technology.
In this chat with Ibadankiniso, Babajide Fadoju, the Special Assistant to the Oyo State Governor on New Media talks about the ways in which the New Media is fast changing the face and phase of governance in Oyo State among other things. Enjoy!
Ibadankiniso: Kindly introduce yourself sir
Babajide Falodu: My name is Babajide Fadoju, I am the S. A to the Oyo State Governor on New Media. In other words, I am the head of Digital Communications in Oyo State. I manage all the information that comes out of the state online and any information that the state wants to give. I also take feedback from the online community to the governor or the appropriate quarters of government.
Ibadankiniso: Can you give us an insight into your background and education
Babajide Falodu: I am the eldest child of a family of four, schooled at Imperial International School and Command Day Secondary both in Lagos before proceeding to FUT Minna for my tertiary education. After which I went ahead to get a Diploma in Communications then I also acquired some professional communication and project management courses
Ibadankiniso: At what time did you return to Ibadan and why?
Babajide Falodu: The truth is, I did not grow up in Ibadan but I have always been coming around for one occasion or the other. But at a time, we felt that Ibadan is the next big thing after Lagos and we decided to come contribute our own quota to the development of the state
Ibadankiniso: Occupying the position of S. A to the governor on New Media speaks a lot especially on your experience with the New Media. What are your experiences before joining the government?
Babajide Falodu: I used to manage Specifications Lab and also was the admin lead at Hexavia Logistics. In Hexavia, I worked with the owner then we grew it from where it was to where it is. Besides, I do manage communications for top brands such as African Movies Academy Awards, RCCG, and The Experience Lagos etc. I have done stuff with lots of big brands in and outside the country. All these are the experiences I have gathered before joining the government of Oyo state.
Ibadankiniso: How do you see your place in the government as a public officer?
Babajide Falodu: For me, it is grace and favour of God. I do not see my position with the government as something out of my own merit and ability. However, I see it as an opportunity to serve the people and acquire another set of experiences that will shape my future. The experiences I had before joining the government were basically in the private sector but now am in the public sector which requires double the effort I would have ordinarily put in the private sector because of the scope of the government
Ibadankiniso: The New Media seem to be gaining much relevance in the communications sector lately and the power of the social media cannot be underplayed in all spheres of life. With this trend, do you think the New Media will replace the traditional and print media eventually?
Babajide Falodu: The issue is that both the New Media and Traditional Media actually walk hand in hand and I don’t see a future where the New Media will replace the traditional media totally. For example, the print media had been in existence long before the introduction of radio and television. And when Radio and Television became a major part of the media, there was this same rumour that it will displace the print media but it did not replace the print media but rather, it worked hand in hand with the print to enhance communication and information dissemination. This also goes for the New Media. I see a future where all these channels of communications are integrated into a large spectrum of communications and that future is now because most if not all the print and traditional media now have their own app. For instance, there is Punch Online where one can get daily news and information but for the full story and in-depth analysis one may need to get the paper which will provide these details. Besides, the papers are also important for references. So, I don’t think the New Media will displace the traditional media
Ibadankiniso: What are the innovations you are bringing on board as the S A. Media to the governor?
Babajide Falodu: Everything is in a phase and the government of his Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has brought so much dynamism to governance. At a point, the impression so many people had about Ibadan in particular and Oyo state in general is that it is a traditional state with no technology drive. But the government has changed a lot in this aspect, opening vistas of opportunities and platforms of social engagement with the people on the new media. So, the innovation comes in phases.
Ibadankiniso: In discharging your duties online, how do you reach other parts of the state where internet facilities are not too good?
Babajide Falodu: You must have noticed that a large percentage of Nigerians do not use the android phones or iPhone or smart phones. A lot of Nigerians, especially those in the rural communities use simple devices that come with a face book feature. As a result, these people are able to access face book. With 5mb or 10mb, these people are okay for the month because the pictures of the devices are not too large to consume data like android or smart phones. From my findings I have discovered that a good number of our people are not on Instagram or snapchat o twitter but they are all on face book and on this platform, they have groups and bodies. So, have been able to reach out to these groups on face book to connect with them, pass information to them and receive their feedback
Ibadankiniso: What are the challenges of your job as S A. Media to the governor?
Babajide Falodu: You know there is recession and by default there is a big challenge to governance which is making the government to prioritize in order to give the best to the people. There are a number of things I would have loved to organize in the state such as Social Media Week and a number of programs. But because of the present state of the country, state governments are hindered in a lot of ways. For me, this is the number one challenge. However, we not folding our arms entirely. For instance, we are working on Tedex Mokola. We are trying to get different people to own this Tedex and bring it up in their own communities. The idea is to multiply this project across the state
Ibadankiniso: In some quarters, critics have said the New Media does more harm than good to this generation. What is your take on this?
Babajide Falodu: The truth of the matter is that there is no phenomenon without its good and bad side. Even as humans, we all have our good and bad side. Philosophers will tell you that there is good and evil in every human depending on what we build our thoughts and minds on. I cannot deny the fact that the New Media has some disadvantages but the advantages outweighs the disadvantages. Through the New Media, relationships are builts. Through the New Media employment are secured. Through the new media social cause are advocated and through the new media governance is brought closer to the people. In fact, the new media has changed the face and phase of governance. So, we cannot because of the misuse of the new media by a portion of people disregard it completely.
Ibadankiniso: How best do you think youths of Oyo can benefit from the advantages of the New Media?
Babajide Falodu: I strongly believe in the saying that education does not end within the four walls of the classroom. I have not heard of a school where students are taught how to open facebook accounts and how to posts. These are things students learn outside the traditional classroom. The same way they learn these things is the same way they should also learn how good they can tap from these platforms. In other words, youths must continue to seek knowledge of the digital world and the changes that are occurring on daily basis
Ibadankiniso: Thank you very much for your time sir. It was nice having this conversation with you
Babajide Falodu: Thank you for coming around and I must confess you guys at Ibadankiniso are great. Keep up the good work. Thanks