Tinubu’s Cabinet: The Top 10 Round Pegs in Round Holes – MOHAMMED IDRIS MALAGI

MOHAMMED IDRIS MALAGI – (Minister of Information and National Orientation)

One of the best testimonials any new minister would wish to receive on assumption of office was the one issued to Mohammed Idris Malagi, Minister of Information and National Orientation.

Writing in The Whisperer, an online publication, on August 26, 2023, Farooq A. Perogi, one of Nigeria’s best opinion writers at the moment, said: “I have known Malagi since the late 1990s when I worked for the Weekly Trust. He is by far the best credentialed minister of information that Nigeria has had in recent memory.”

Perogi was reacting to what he described as Malagi’s “refreshing and applaudable departure from the primitive information management strategies of their predecessors.” Specifically, Perogi, the Nigerian-American professor, author, media scholar, newspaper columnist, blogger and activist, was touched by Malagi’s statement upon assumption of office, that ‘the era of relying on propaganda to propagate government programmes is now over.’ “This is music to the ears…,” Perogi said.

This is an eloquent testament to the fact that, in appointing and deploying Malagi as Minister of Information and National Orientation, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has planted a round peg in a round hole.

The core mandate of the ministry is the “management of the image, reputation and promotion of the culture of the people and government of Nigeria through a dynamic public information system that facilitates access by citizens and the global community to credible and timely information.”

Malagi’s antecedents have adequately prepared him for the challenges of the assignment. After teaching at a college of education for years, he went into public relations, advertising, marketing, and finally publishing. Apart from being the publisher of the Abuja-based Blueprint newspaper, he is also the proprietor of WE 106.5 FM Abuja, was general secretary of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and has been a major player in the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

Mohammed Idris Malagi was born on May 2, 1966 in Gbako local government area of Niger State. He had his primary education in Kontagora between 1971 and 1977. He then proceeded to GSS Rijau in 1977 and graduated in 1982. In 1983 he was admitted to study English Studies at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, where he graduated in 1987. He had his Master’s degree in the same discipline from the Bayero University Kano in 1995.

In May 2011, Malagi founded the Blueprint newspaper and has been the chairman and CEO since then. He is also the founder and chairman of Bifocal Group. He took over ownership of Kings Broadcasting Network, owners of WE 106.5 FM, Abuja, on November 27, 2019, and in December 2020, he was elected General Secretary of Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria.

He served as Communications Consultant on the Promotion of Nomadic Education in Northern Nigeria to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2007 to 2009.

Malagi led the committee that developed and implemented Training Guide for Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) across Nigeria from 2009 to 2011.

The media guru was appointed as Communications Consultant by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from 2017 to 2021.

The new minister facilitated the design and implementation of Strategic Communications Guidelines for the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development from 2019-2022.

Malagi, as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a governorship aspirant in Niger State for the 2023 Nigerian general election. He lost to House of Representatives member, Umar Bago. He was appointed the Director of Strategic Communications for the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

Malagi is the founder of Mohammed Idris Malagi Foundation and holder of the traditional title of Kakaaki Nupe, a title bestowed on him by Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe. The title was in recognition of his philanthropy and personal accomplishments in the media and public relations space. On December 8, 2022, he was awarded the Milestone Recognition Media Icons in Nigeria award by the Nigeria Union of Journalists.