The first rule of Public Relations is to always tell the truth no matter the circumstances. The rule indicates that by telling your public the truth, you are dousing tension and setting the tone for
But in Nigeria, and in particular, in government circles, turning the truth on its head has become the order of the day especially with media people of the government.
What is currently happening in the country now is a complete negation of the rule of engagement in government circles where the media handlers of President Muhammadu Buhari are all singing discordant tunes with issues involving our president.
When on January 19, 2017, President Buhari decided to go on a vacation as well as seeking medical treatment, it took forever for the media team to tell Nigerians the truth. At first, they denied the fact that the President was on medical vacation and lambasted anyone who thought otherwise.
It took days for Femi Adesina, a seasoned journalist and the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President to come clean that Buhari was sick and needed to see his doctors.
He had earlier denied that anything was wrong with our head of state and even challenged anyone who had a contrary view to come on air and go into a debate with him.
But when the 10 days’ vacation elapsed and Nigerians expected their President to come back and resume his duties, the news we heard was that he had sent a letter intimating the Senate that he was extending the vacation so that he could collect the results of some medical tests.
But one wonders how a President who was said to be hale and hearty would extend his vacation on medical grounds.
Adeshina has told Nigerians that the President is the only person who can reveal his medical status. Fine, no one says he should come out to tell Nigerians what is wrong with their President but what is wrong is saying the truth for once?
The President’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie is another media aide who has decided to play to the tune of the piper instead of practicing her trade which is supposed to be serving the people of Nigeria.
Onochie has now become popular for engaging perceived enemies of the President on the social media, insulting them and looking at anyone who has a contrary view to what is happening in the country as an enemy, hater and a member of the opposition who wants to bring the President down.
Little does she know that Nigerians would always react when there is no credible information to hold on to. She believes she is protecting the President but she is doing the man more harm than good because she and her colleagues are giving room for speculations and guesswork.
The acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, also came out to say that he spoke with the President and they discussed a wide-ranging issue going on in the country. But in these days of the social media, what stops the President going on one of them to address his people?
How do they want the people to know the truth with the secret code that is being orchestrated?
The President is a human being and a 74-year-old man for that matter. He can fall sick and need medical attention like everyone else but what is wrong in telling Nigerians the truth about the situation?
No one wants the President of the most populous black nation in the world to die but when everything is shrouded in secrecy, then the people will come up all kinds of theories.
Nigerians are worried about the President, and genuinely so as it seems the same scenario that played out in the run-up to the dead of President Umar Yar’Adua is rearing up its head and no one is taking a heed.
There are conspiracy theories all over the place and it is high time the media handlers of the president realize that the moment he swore to uphold the constitution of Nigeria, he ceased being the APC presidential candidate but Nigeria’s President and a servant of 180 million Nigerians.