MY application of ‘governors’ here is generic. The extrapolation covers administrators, chairpersons, rulers, governors/presidents and all those in such positions of authority by whatever nomenclatural recognition. I deliberately did not want to use ‘leaders’ because most of them do not deserve such a dignified epithet for reasons that border on banditry, incapacity and incompetence.
Another fundamental point I need to mention is that both ‘publicity’ and ‘strategy’ (as employed by some offices) are otiose on the grounds that a governor does not need any publicity as his accomplishments, if any, will speak volumes for him. Similarly, there is nothing anyone engages in that does not involve ‘strategy’—what matters, ultimately, is the quality of such a strategy vis-à-vis the realization of goals informed by the strategy.
Even legitimate intercourse requires ‘strategy’ otherwise there would be diminished spousal orgasmic attainment, which may be lacking in “short-time” erotic escapade/lustful roguery! Can we, therefore, do away with the balderdash of ‘publicity’ and redundancy of ‘strategy’?
When Otunba Femi Adesina was appointed the Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to President Muhammadu Buhari, gossips went to town and declared that he got the job because of his unflinching and unparalleled support for PMB before, during and after the last presidential electioneering. Must a man/professional sit on the fence? For me, it is a weakness of character for anyone not to take a position at any point. It is even worse to swim along with the tidal wave in vogue.
None of such idle talkers could evaluate Femi’s bursting pedigree as a distinguished journalist-cum-administrator par excellence. For those who do not know me, I am a developmental journalist not swayed by inducements as I will elucidate shortly. This is not to say that I am indifferent or opposed to post-work appreciation in any form willingly done—without any blackmail or intimidation in the intervening period. Any contrary view to this is blatancy of falsehood and demonstrative of self/public deception.
I was one of the most critical journalists of the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency on grounds of his dictatorial tendencies and anarchical policies in a democratic regime. All through his tenure, I consistently faulted his autocratic credentials. Despite my stridently oppositional avowals, the late Egbon Tunji Oseni, who at the time was the SSA (Media) to Chief Obasanjo, never failed to engage me in robust intellectual arguments over the issues I threw up concerning his principal. There was no time and need for perfunctory rebuttals and criminalization of opponents as is the vogue!
Oga Oseni was a thoroughbred journalist and media manager and consistently underscored that in his media relationships unlike what we have these days. In spite of my critical disposition to Chief Obasanjo and his combative governance, I was invited to participate in one of the presidential media chats in the heyday of the programme by my mentor Oseni. On the live national broadcast of the media chat, President Obasanjo rebuked my family and demonized me for asking an innocuous question to wit: “With the violent build-up to the upcoming general election, don’t you think, Your Excellency, that there would be cataclysmic upheavals after the polls?” President Obasanjo lost his cool during and after the live show—even as we walked down from the makeshift TV studio upstairs for refreshment downstairs at his Ota Farms where the special edition took place.
I recollect, as the editor of The Post Express years back, one of the bold front page headlines I used shortly after the media chat: “Rimi blasts Obasanjo” Weeks later, as Chief Oseni took only me to NICON-NOGA Hotel from Aso Rock in his official car after yet another presidential meeting with select editors of national newspapers, he kept wondering why I persistently criticize his boss despite his elucidatory interventions and our cherished relationships right from our Daily Times days, where he showed me great affection surpassing that of a man for a woman! May the gentle soul of Egbon Tuni Oseni continue to rest in peace.
When also my first cousin, Chief Adolphus Wabara, became the Senate President during the second term of the Obasanjo presidency, I unrelentingly pointed out the rudderless descent of the upper chamber and its slavishness to Baba.
My stout position on this untoward and spineless romance between the executive and the legislature caused brouhaha in many quarters and eventually resulted in seemingly perpetual estrangement between Egbon Adolf and this columnist!
Of course, I was ultimately vindicated in what is now history. My age-long brand of journalism is no respecter of cousinship, “brown/white” envelope and any other influencing/intimidating agent.
I was the only person during my editorship of The Post Express immediately after my chummy Ken Ugbechie who boldly declared in my back page column that all Lagos-based editors of national newspapers—excluding me—were on the payroll of ex-governor Bola Tinubu and got choice acres hence there was no bad press in his eight-year tenure. The late Mrs. Remi Oyo, who was then the president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, expressed her reservations over my assertion when we met me at the Lagos airport.
The recent reaffirmation of my vistas on Tinubu’s fabulous opulence and illimitable wealth needlessly, unprofessionally, abruptly and rudely ended my language column in THE NATION ON SUNDAY.
The above recollections catapult me to current chief press secretaries (previously cub reporters) to state governors. I now understand why most of them do not last in that position. They hero-worship their fumbling bosses and most times do not have access to them or allowed by the system to make any input to governmental engineering largely because they are rightly seen as neophytes/errand boys.
Instead of these incorrigible reactionaries engaging their masters’ critics in absorbing cerebral exchanges and building bridges, they resort to propagandistic mayhem, name-calling, platitudinous celebration of their masters’ sainthood and make-believe achievements that culminate in adversarial relationships amid adumbration of the systemic rot in their states.
Fortunately for today’s megaphones, the prevailing poverty, corruption and survivalist pressures among the media, most reporters and columnists (including editors of all cadres) are opportunistic platforms for any indolent and numbskull CPS to mortgage impoverished journalists without minding the societal antitheses or karmic retributions that await both the giver and the recipient when rapture comes, inevitably.
In summation, for some of us columnists, God has so blessed us that we do not expect peanuts or handouts from any CPS or Security Vote bloody gift from governors because of our established independence and verifiable comfort.