The gentility, geniality and amiable mien of Mr. Joseph Chigbo Anichebe has over the years tempered public hostility towards privatisation in Nigeria.
Not minding that the concept of privatisation is much feared and hated by majority of Nigerians, public attitude to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), secretariat and implementation arm of the National Council on Privatisation has been at the worst of times, tolerant.
Both the Privatisation and Commercialisation Act of 1988 and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Act of 1993 defined privatisation as the relinquishment of part or all of the equity and other interests held by the Federal Government or any of its agencies in enterprises whether wholly or partly owned by the Federal Government. But the concept of privatisation has never been popular. Most people believe privatisation is a way of further enriching the elite and the wealthy to the detriment of the poor.
But how did the concept of privatization and commercialisation that was that much opposed came to be tolerated and even clamoured (as in the case of power)?
Joe is surely the wizard behind the excellent public relations success of the BPE over the years. Before he joined organisation in 2000, media representation was negative for more reasons than the general negative attitude to privatisation. Some of those who worked at the bureau were considered greedy and selfish.
There is a general testimony that Anichebe is a liberal personality and quite unlike most very many Nigerians, does not relate on the basis of tribe or religion.
Since 2000, the man has been substantially in charge of media and public relations of the BPE. If he is assigned other responsibilities, management is quick to draft him back for damage control whenever there is need to regain public confidence. It has always worked. The diversity of his experience is probably to answer for his versatility and success. How could an individual be at home with both the lowly and very important personalities at the same time and with such ease?
Born in Owelli, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State on 6 March 1960 Joe later proceeded to Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra, Ghana and graduated in 1984 with diploma in Journalism after attending Modebe Memorial Secondary School, Onitsha, Anambra State (1976-1981). He obtained a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Journalism from Howard University, Washington, DC and a certificate in General Management from the Harvard Business School (The General Manager Program), Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Certificate in Strategic Management from the University of South Africa (NISA). He has attended several career development programs. Chigbo has held several positions both in the private and public sectors, including, Reporter/Editorial Assistant, Punch Newspapers (1985-87), Co-founder, West Africa Press Syndicate (WAPS) and Sporting Africa Magazine, Accra, Ghana (1984-1985). He was the Washington Bureau Chief of The Week Magazine from 1996-1999. He has reported for the Montgomery Journal, Rockville, Maryland and the Community News in Washington, DC.
He served on the United Nations Observer Mission to South Africa in 1994 that supervised South Africa’s first ever all-race elections. On the political front, he served as Communications Specialist with the Republican National Committee (RNC), Washington, DC. Before joining the BPE in 2000, Joe was a Case Management Specialist (CMS) with the State of Maryland Division of Corrections, Baltimore Maryland from 1996 to 2000. Chigbo serves in several boards, including Member/Treasurer, Board of Trustees, Gede Foundation, a not for profit organisation with headquarters in Washington, DC. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (Alpha Beta Chi), USA; National Association of Black Journalists, USA; International Organisation of Journalists (IOJ), Prague; and member, Institute of Directors (IOD), Nigeria. He won the 1992 American Press Institute (API) Summer Fellowship, the 1992 Fannie Granton Scholarship and the 1999 Maryland Correctional Administration Scholarship for graduate studies in Public Policy and Administration. He was the Secretary General of Nigeria Students Union in Ghana from 1983 to 1984.