8 November 2012

Liberia: 'The Performance Scale' - Ambrose Nmah Under the Spotlight


Not many people in this country appreciate the gravity, honor and dignity associated with public service. Hmm! Doesn't Ambrose Nmah know? The 'Ghanaian-ness' of any association might not be deep-centered though but there is a history to trace after all. We were not the best acquaintances in Ghana. Anyway, one Liberian to another is interesting.

There was one loud-mouthed on the airwaves while the other spent time mainstreaming gender and women's issues. Nmah read political science while we spent time researching, theorizing, analyzing and learning the fundamentals of professional newsgathering folks.

But Ambrose made his break like Wilmot Stubberfield, Martin Brown and Davidetta Brown who learned by the ropes at the famous Radio Maryland. Radio Universe in Ghana is a pilot project that is operated by the University of Ghana and it was where our compatriot started it all.

He made his debut quite fantastically and rose to fame. With his Liberian cum Ghanaian-borrowed accent, he proved exciting. His performance at Radio Universe helped to significant to catapult his way to Radio Gold. Smartly though, he made name for himself at Radio Gold. Nmah escaped the deportation trail for unkempt comments he was alleged to have made against the Kufour administration. Thank God for a strong vibrant civil society intervention.

Amid the settling of the dust on Liberian soil coupled with elections and seating of a new administration, comrade Nmah reckoned the need to return home and give back to his country. He engineered the thought process for the establishment of Truth FM and Real TV. Surely, businessman Musa Bility had the resources to invest but he needed some au courant with the trade. The station started operations in Brewerville on the outskirts of Monrovia and later relocated to Ashmun Street in central Monrovia.

Ambrose started the Super Morning Show and as a result of his outspokenly critical dispositions on a number of national issues - there were enemies all over the place calling for his head. Colleagues in the media saw one of their kinds as an odd number. They launched a vitriolic assault on comrade Nmah.

They branded him the "you-too-know" characterization. Folks, we all will not see through the lens similarly. Well, he simply tells it as it is and although it might seem rash or outlandish if you may; we are bound to accept the young man for what he is.

Mr. Nmah ridiculously fell from grace - at least in the estimation of some his fiercest critics as a result of fallout between Ambrose and his former employer. Board of Directors will often disagree with the management style or approach of professionals they hire to manage their corporate empires - the bottom-line is we will disagree to agree. While some of the disagreements might not border of trivialities, we are inclined to deduce that they are occasioned by ethics, standards, principles or professional considerations.

The unceremonious exit of Nmah from Truth fm and Real TV made no fundamental difference - at least . At the will and pleasure of the President, he was named Assistant Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Defense. But his stay was short-lived until the President again saw justified reason appoint him as Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS). The National Broadcaster is obscurely not the best that should befit this country. Yes, we seem to every now and then blame the spoils on the conflict visited upon this nation. This country has come a long way and it is hard time we start to put our country first.

With technical support from the Chinese, we can for the record say that ELBC has nationwide coverage. There were hues and cries during the budget hearing process about Ministers of State being summoned to defend their proposed budgets. Even if Mr. Nmah showed up at the capitol and performed dismally, do we require any rocket scientist to tell our lawmakers that something is gone amiss.

LBS Director-General Daryl Ambrose Nmah

These lawmakers are often invited to LBS to provide their candid opinions on various issues of national concern folks. Are they not shining their eyes well-well? The building that houses them as they address their compatriots across the country typifies and eyesore. The lawmakers claimed that in the name of their patriotism, they infused an additional US$27 million into the national budget. Whether they were genuinely blowing their own horn is another matter. Granted they did so at the expense of the bigger picture - why did the so-called bigger picture ignore the plight of the national broadcaster?

In the company of comrade a couple of months ago, he displayed an artist's rendition of a splendid architectural masterpiece. The burnt down facility, which once played host to LBS is seen pictorially annexed to the dilapidated Liberia Rural Communications Network building. What has happened to what on paper seemed a glorious wonderful piece of idea? On the other hand, who is standing in the way of getting this very important project off the ground? This is time that the true bigger picture must be brought to the center stage.

It sickens our sanity when we see folks striving to research, process and present news for our consumption sit in a wretched newsroom. But smartly, Director Nmah sits behind the microphone in the cubicle and judging by the voice quality, the assumption is he transmitting from one of Al-Jizeera's studios. We cannot lose hope here folks. If it will cause comrade Nmah to bend forwards and backwards so be it but we must redeem our national pride. At least in light of the so-called bigger picture, we should for once make progress.

Ambrose Nmah has had his fair share of administrative cum managerial snag as a public servant. We cannot be the more surprise at the craze sometimes associated with public service given that it is about some kind of human institution. His critics accused him of buying posh vehicles for mainly senior management. Hey, do these critics expect senior management people to commute to and from work via taxicabs? What would they do if they were serving at the will and pleasure of the President? He could still be reeling from the nightmare caused by some disgruntle elements at LBS to go. They made too much noise in the marketplace but we think it is time we let by-gone be by-gone.

We have no doubt that comrade Nmah wants his name reflected in the annuls of LBS' history as a Director General who was seen to be doing something. But those who bear such wish cannot wait on our elected representatives on Capitol Hill to lead the campaign. At the end of the day, it will be about how well and not how far. Our national broadcaster deserves better and if comrade Nmah must be part of that unique turn of events - he has to sit up. The "Pure Power Series" must be seen as a side attraction that simply increases listenership of a largely traumatized society. This is the challenge and we must face it squarely and with a high degree of commitment.

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