A word for Governor Bello’s poor media hirelings

A word for Governor Bello’s poor media hirelings
June 03 18:45 2017

By Safiya Stephanie Musa

My attention has been drawn to a poorly scripted press statement credited to Kingsley Fanwo who identified himself as the Director General, Media and Communications to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.

While I see nothing wrong in a media aide ‘working hard’ to protect the interest and image of his employer, professional and moral considerations should compel any political appointee to be circumspect in how they react, in order not to expose their principal to public opprobrium as we presently have in Kogi state.

If not for the blatant falsehood, lies and fairytales contained in Fanwo’s statement, I wouldn’t have glorified the wishy washy words with any response. But it is important to put lie to his poor work of fiction in order to set the record straight.

It is important to note that the entire mess of Governor Bello’s ‘double registration’ has been partly created and exacerbated by the unprofessional way the Governor’s team has handled the matter. It is shocking that no one in his team advised the Governor about the perils of double registration. Instead the media team gleefully shared the photographs of the illegal registration, attacked anyone who pointed out double registration is an electoral offence, defended the ‘electoral fraud’, and are now engaged in attacking INEC for upholding the law.

Fanwo’s statement, typical of most official correspondence from Lugard House, is bereft of common sense, strategy, smart thinking and ingenuity in the planning and execution of government business.

That is the disaster the governor himself  created by putting square pegs in round holes. I am indeed pained by the fact that these aides, who on a daily basis embarrass my dear state in both the conventional and new media, still draw salaries every month.

Image and reputation management entails evolving clear-cut strategies that will identify potential crisis as well as nip such in the bud. Media handlers are supposed to act as information buffers to their principals. They are meant to try their best not to expose their boss to needless punches. Sadly, this is not the scenario playing out in Kogi. These aides waste time, energy and resources on jejune matters at the expense of very serious issues.

Put on your thinking caps. Reputation management goes far beyond engaging people with opposing views on social media.

Your principal, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has been accused of committing the serious electoral offence of ‘double registration’, (although he did so inadvertently), and here you are doing more damage to the very image you are paid to launder by insulting everyone who talks about the matter.

Ideally, you should thank me for offering you strategic media assistance (pro bono). Common sense should tell you that further comments on the double registration allegation against your principal, will only escalate the matter and cause him more trouble. Do you put out a raging fire by pouring inflammable content into it?

I have been expecting the media team to concentrate on efforts that will douse the tension generated by your principal’s action. Instead you are dwelling on a simple statement I shared with friends on what you guys should have done earlier.

The media backlash that this case has so far generated, is an indictment on the governor’s media machinery. The governor deserves better than he is presently getting, considering the outrageous salaries and allowances the state is paying you.

Fanwo sounded extremely elementary and personal  in his response (as usual). I would have expected him to use the opportunity to repair his boss’ damaged reputation and not to go on a tirade about who is Bello’s friend or enemy.

His response was fraught with a litany of illogical allegations. How could I have issued a press statement in the Governor’s name when I do not work for him? How could I have written officially in his defence when I wasn’t contracted to do such?

Does this allegation of impersonation make any sense?

Sadly, Kogites and Nigerians have become so used to the plethora of embarrassing conduct coming from Bello’s aides, that nothing, no matter how bizarre, surprises us anymore.

My major worry is the fact outsiders now see Kogi as the ‘confluence of confusion.’

It is high time these over-pampered aides put on their thinking caps, wear the toga of humility while engaging people of the state and save whatever is left of their principal’s damaged reputation.