One may not know if he should be referred to as Acting Spokesperson to Acting President when he made spurious allegations without concrete evidence to justify his combatant and confrontational approach to a media report. Ima Niboro is Senior Special Assistant to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. His first full press statement is not about the basic principle of public relations practice of establishing mutual and beneficial relations with his master’s publics.
How could a man just occupying a sensitive office within few weeks starts by raising an alarm over plans by detractors to bring down the government of his boss?
Imagine a spokesperson saying that “those who have chosen the instrument of blackmail as a means of survival will soon meet their waterloo as, very soon, they will be exposed… gone were the days of anything goes, and any person who is out to destroy the country through lies and blackmail will be dealt with accordingly.”
If anything from the foregoing, the acting administration is indeed going for the kill. He needs to be careful how he engages the press in the wild undirected media battle but even single out some media as if they are enemies. Another part of the statement read: “Today, the first instalment of the planned and well coordinated media onslaught against the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was published in a national Newspaper, The Daily Sun, alleging that he approved the expenditure of a whopping N300 billion, “for both pro-Yar’Adua rallies and those that were in his interest”.
The spokesperson also deployed the normal antic and rethorics of the military regime by claiming unverifiable intelligent report when he said “We know those behind these publications. Nigerians have come to know them as careerists in power. But we see them as misguided elements determined to exceed their call of duty and play God over the affairs of the Nation. They are wicked and ungodly and their time is up! Never again, must we allow our Nation to be strangulated by a privileged few who will rather fiddle with our commonwealth while the Nation burns.”
He said he is aware that those against him have set aside a huge war chest in billions on naira to bring his acting Presidency to disrepute by any means possible, and that it is hardly surprising that, as corny as these allegations obviously sound, they still get mention in our media space. We are fully on the tracks of this so called group; this unfortunate band of liars. In the fullness of time, they shall be brought to book.
Does the news report actually worth the brutal rejoinder? Unfortunately, while claiming”he cannot dignify the N300 billion allegation with a response, but the need overcome those selling this lies, which alleges that the money was procured from a certain businessman, who is to be settled in a matter of weeks by “a huge oil contract”.
Interestingly one of the vibrant and effective publicity machinery from the opposition campaign, the Action Congress (AC) has quickly responded by challenging his boss, Jonathan to unmask those he accused of engaging in a campaign of calumny against him, if indeed the campaign is real.
In a statement in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the call became necessary because the Acting President claimed in a statement issued by his spokesman that "we know those behind the publications (in the media against Jonathan)."
The statement reads: "Our stand is that since such people are known, their identities must be revealed to all Nigerians so they can be checkmated. We say this because governments have always resorted to this kind of blanket statement to point fingers at the opposition, cow them and then abridge their constitutional right of freedom of expression. We hope that statement is not a sign of things to come; we hope it does not signal an ominous beginning.
"We want to give Acting President Jonathan the benefit of the doubt by believing that he is not crying wolf where there is none, and that he is not about to lead Nigeria down the path of dictatorship and intolerance."
The party said it suspected that the shadowy group being referred to in the statement must be those "taking refuge under the tattered umbrella of the badly-splintered PDP".
The Mister Spokesperson to the Acting President should softly softly in his attempt to be a better spokesperson. He doesn’t need to behave like a propagandist or publicists looking for cheap popularity to get noticing of serving his master and protecting his interest.
I think he needs more lessons in public relations and effective.