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KonkNaija Media | May 2, 2016

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PR Failure Has Cost My Government; Jonathan Discloses Where He Failed

PR Failure Has Cost My Government; Jonathan Discloses Where He Failed

| On 25, Feb 2015

Goodluck Jonathan won the election by a landslide four years ago. Today he’s struggling to keep up with the same opponent he beat convincingly in that election.

One of the things that have cost Jonathan’s government is PR failure, and he himself admitted this recently.

He said, “We failed to invest in the media. We failed to invest in the public relations aspect of government, so now we’re receiving the reward of poor investment in public relations.”

Jonathan’s media team has been awful the past four years. There seemed to be no clear strategy as to how they intended to preserve the president’s good image and ensure they kept getting the right messages out there to let the people know what the president was doing well. They failed to let the people know what the president is doing, why he’s doing it and how it will benefit the country and the people. They slacked and let the opposition control the narrative. Now the result is evident.

When the president approved the fuel subsidy removal three years ago for example, it was done without proper PR. The president’s team failed to communicate to the people beforehand why the policy was necessary at the time and what it would do for the people. The timing and manner in which it was done was abrupt and insensitive. Of course, the people revolted and the resulting upheaval ruined the president’s public image. The president lost his prestige.

When the Chibok kidnap also happened, the handling of information about the whereabouts of the girls and what the government was doing was disappointing. It was like the government was doing nothing to rescue the girls. The media team failed to reassure the public that the government was dealing with the situation. It horrified the people and they lashed out at the government for not only being sluggish and incompetent but also being careless. The world began to see Jonathan and his government on a highly negative level.

This year when the election was postponed too, it was done in a very suspicious manner. There were already rumours that the election would be postponed to favour the president’s campaign, but the president’s team barely said a word about it until it happened, giving people the impression that it was a game plan. They could have reached out to the media to let the people know what was happening, why they had to postpone the election and how it would be best for the country. But they slackened off.

The president’s team has busied itself with trying to counterattack the opposition in the media. When the opposition attacks, they try to attack back instead of putting in the time to educate Nigerians about what the president is doing. Put this way, they let the opposition control the media. They let the opposition define the president’s public image. They let the opposition shape the people’s perception of the president and his administration. They didn’t do a good job, just as the president has rightly admitted now.

He said, “I believe this government is doing well. I believe probably because we failed to advertise what we’re doing, the opposition is cashing in on this and trying to becloud the judgement of the people.

We haven’t been managing the media well. As a government we’ve been doing well, but we haven’t really managed the media outfits. We haven’t really invested enough money in the aspect of image making, and the opposition knew our weakness on that regard and keyed in very well. By so doing, they’ve been able to change the perception.

So will Jonathan take his PR more seriously if he wins this election? Will he change anything?

He said, “That’s one area that we’ll work on when I get back into office, God willing. We’ll have to strengthen the PR side of government. Otherwise, nobody can stand and debate with me in terms of concrete achievements of government. Probably our ministry of information is poorly funded. I believe we must review the funding of the ministry, because image making is a key thing.”

The APC has taken advantage of this lack of adequate use of the media by Goodluck Jonathan, to find more ways to make him seem like an unfit president. The party has decided to focus more on the things Jonathan did not succeed in as opposed to highlighting his achievements. They recently expressed concern at the efforts of the Jonathan Administration to make Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau look invincible, with the President’s statement that Shekau will be caught before the elections.