Findings by HAJJ REPORTERS has shown that Chief Executive Officers of some States Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards sidelined their Heads of Media or Spokesperson by refusing to allow them travel and work at Saudi Arabia during the Hajj 2022 exercise.
Spokespersons play vital roles in pilgrims’ enlightenment and education as well as managing crises during Hajj operations.
It is important to understand that the role of a spokesperson is not only to communicate information to the public, but they should also be involved in the development of key messages and strategies to be conveyed to pilgrims during Hajj operations.
Despite the important roles they play in the conduct of successful Hajj operations, checks by HAJJ REPORTERS reveals that Chief Executive Officers of states such as Bauchi, Lagos, Borno, Kwara and Kogi failed to include their image makers in the states team of officials for this year’s Hajj exercise.
In Bauchi, the Information officer of the state Muslim Pilgrims Board, Muhammad Sani Yunusa was not part of the state contingent for 2022 Hajj.
Efforts to speak to the Executive Secretary of the board, Dr Abdulrahaman Ibrahim Idris to know why the PRO was not selected for this year Hajj were unsuccessful. He did not respond our text message seeking for comments.
Likewise, the Assistant Director Public Affairs of Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Board, Taofeek Lawal did not take part in this year’s Hajj. We gathered that even his assistant, Mr Ibrahim Akinlolu was also left behind.
This is the first time Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Board is traveling for Hajj exercise without a media team.
A reliable source at the board told Hajj Reporters in Makkah that the seat that is usually given to Lagos based Media houses was not implemented this year.
HAJJ REPORTERS made several efforts to reach the Secretary of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mr Hakeem Kosoko for his reaction. He also failed to respond to our inquiry.
In the same vein, the Public Relations Officer of Kwara state Pilgrims Welfare Board and her assistant celebrated Eid El Kabir Sallah celebrations in Nigeria because their name was not among those approved by Executive Secretary for 2022 Hajj assignment.
Kogi State Hajj Commission team for this year’s Hajj does not includes the Public Relations Officer of the commission. In fact, even the secretary of the commission was not part of the team. We gathered that the duo were removed from the list of Hajj 2022 team officials without cogent reasons except that that state government did not approved enough funds for the operation. The Chairman of the commission could not be reached for comments as he did not reply the message sent to his phone.
We equally gathered that the Public Relations Officer of Kaduna State Muslim pilgrims’ board, Alh Salisu Anchau did not also participate in this year’s Hajj.
However, our findings reveal that the Executive Secretary of the State Pilgrims Agency, Dr Yusuf Yakubu Arigassiyu approved his inclusion in the operational team but the challenges of non issuance of visa affected the boards image maker’s participation.
In Borno state, The Executive Secretary of the State Muslim Pilgrims Board, Alh Ali Mamman Bukar also failed to include the Director in charge of Media Unit of the board, Alhaji Lawal Abatcha to be part of this year’s Hajj.
The responsibility of selecting state hajj officials is exercised solely by the Executives Secretaries/Chairmen of states pilgrims’ boards or commission and sometimes with input of senior management staff. Interestingly, the Head of media units or spokespersons of states are usually saddled with piloting the pilgrims’ enlightments and educations during pre hajj exercise. Therefore, the decisions to ignore them during off shore operations should not be condoned henceforth.
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