Random Musing: Buhari’s Communication and Security Teams – by Frank Ofili8 views
Our problem in Nigeria is not a lack of resource. We have resources – human, natural and material – in abundance.
Our problems are three – religion, ethnicity, and politics. The last is determined by the first and second, and all three often come into play in our leadership recruitment cum national decisions.
Nigeria can be a great country if only we can put all these aside. The road to our greatness does not lie in any of the three. The road to our greatness is in ourselves. It lies with putting in place an environment that would unlock the creative genius in Nigerians.
That seems to be the road President Muhammadu Buhari is travelling but a combination of the above factors seems to be at play. Hence, he is grossly misunderstood. Unfortunately, his government communication team too, does not seem to know how to project the direction he is going
Information Minister Lai Mohammed continues to conduct himself like he is still the APC spokesman; Garuba Shehu remains taciturn and giving less information than required, while Femi Adesina is laidback and only reacts to opposition irritations. He ought not to allow them to take the initiative in the first place; he ought to be the one pushing the opposition to the wall.
The government is simply not being marketed well enough. In fact, the conduct of the official communication team is, in some way, de-marketing the government. Nor is the ruling party, the APC doing enough. Only the unofficial social media horde is doing its best to sell the government.
There are some laudable achievements this government has recorded but the communication team is simply not projecting them well enough. The team has also not taken time to identify the areas of our strength as a nation which can be projected and marketed to the world in clear affirmative messages.
Neither has it fashioned out what can be termed the Nigeria Dream, and thus, put in place an effective national orientation vehicle, slogan and credo for effective mass mobilization and national moral re-orientation towards that dream. The team is simply content responding to opposition attacks. It remains essentially reactive, defensive, and uninspiring.
But it ought to be creative, proactive, and vibrant – which is exactly what is required in these trying times. It is either the team does not know what to do, or it has not been properly instructed.
This government needs to communicate to Nigerians and engage them more and more. This increase in pump price of PMS is poorly communicated by official spokespersons. But we know it is necessary to terminate the subsidy regime. Yes, very necessary. We should have no business subsidizing consumption and the entire West African sub-region.
Having said that, let me now note that it is damned well past the time for the President to shake up his cabinet. I have since given up hope in that area. But Mr. President must shake up his security chiefs. Some things are not going well with security in this country and we must not close our eyes to it, for it is fast eroding Mr. President’s goodwill.
The zeal with which Army Chief General Buratai and his counterparts in the other services started in 2015 has been significantly lost. Why the President still leaves them on the job beats me. The service chiefs have done their bit. They should now be appreciated, given the golden handshake, and shown the exit door. Delay is dangerous.
This piece is in fulfilment of my promise to occasionally give Mr. President a piece of my mind, where necessary, even while remaining one of his staunchest supporters.