The Presidency’s constant reactive position of denying accusations from Nigerians, including the opposition, has caught the attention of Nigerian media experts who describe such as faulty media strategy.
The Presidency is always in the news defending itself against attacks in the media, a development Lai Oso, dean, School of Communication, Lagos State University, says portends faulty management strategy, noting “it appears the Presidency cannot foresee what the issue is and try to set agenda with effective communication.”
Oso believes that the government should be on top of situations, advance reasons for actions instead of coming from the rear to defend itself.
Akonte Ekine, a communication strategist, who assessed the situation differently, says government should not necessarily deny or reply opposition if it is heavily involved in its direction and projects, saying “if you are focused you should not spend time talking to everybody. When you mind your focus what everybody says should not matter to you.” It is his belief that when it is a proactive government, it will lead discussion.
Ehi Braimah, who runs Neo Media, a communication agency, says in democracy, anywhere there are contending forces that make life difficult for the government, saying in such situation, government is always defending itself, but being proactive will not give the opposition room to launch attacks.
He, however, says that in Nigeria, the government is facing peculiar challenges such as security, which has taken much of its attention.
It is the view of experts that communication links the citizens, civil society, the media and government, forming a framework for national dialogue through which informed public opinion is shaped, and understanding the structural and process aspects of communication is critical to effective governance reform.
Some observers believe that in the information age, transparency and ability to communicate government activities effectively have become critical, otherwise the citizens would communicate within themselves through the new information space.
Recently, the Presidency was said to have ordered the release of Boko Haram members, but later came denying the media speculations that President Jonathan has ordered the release of all detained Boko Haram members and their wives.
Doyin Okupe, senior special adviser to President Jonathan on public affairs, says the President only ordered the release of children and women arrested during the crack down on the Boko Haram members.
The opposition had in the past accused the Presidency on various issues including ‘descending into despotism’ and trying to bungle ACN election, which the Presidency denied, stating that President Jonathan is a democratically elected leader who is running a people-oriented, all-inclusive and progressive government.
The government has also been accused of deceiving Nigerians on the declared state of emergency and violating citizens rights, which the Presidency has also denied.