By Bayo Oluwasanmi
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is in the market for pre-election shopping spree for image maker to woo voters for 2015 presidential election.
According to SaharaReporters’ story posted on May 24, Mr. Jonathan is in the process of recruiting an international PR firm at the cost of nearly $1billion to improve its battered image. The Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke is said to have brokered the effort.
The PR propaganda blitz would focus on “strategic counsel,” “stakeholder engagement,” “proactive” media relations and “key message and storybook development.”
Welcome to Orwellian doublethink. A person doublethinks when holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously, accepting both.
Example: Mr. Jonathan pretends to know and not to know. He’s conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies. He hold simultaneously two opinions which cancels out, knowing them to be contradictory believing in both of them by using logic against logic.
He repudiates morality while laying claim to it. He believes democracy is impossible and at the same time parading and praising PDP as the guardian of democracy. He forgets whatever it is necessary to forget, then brings it back to memory again at the moment he needed it, and then promptly forget it again.
In other words, what Mr. Jonathan is asking the PR firm to do is doublethink: recognize contradictory realities of his administration, force the contradictions into a single, unified reality of truth and falsity, good and bad, yes and no, reality and fantasy.
The Italian Philosopher, Machiavelli, in the sixteenth century wrote that followers expect the prince to possess a set of qualities that includes: generosity, mercy, humaneness, honesty, strength, decisiveness. By extension, a leader would make a better and a great leader with the same qualities.
In modern times, image has been substituted for reputation. It is no surprise that Mr. Jonathan whose leadership qualities do not include the ones listed above, is struggling to burnish nonexistence image.
Then the question that has repeatedly imprisoned the mind of right thinking Nigerians is: how did we get the kind of Mr. Jonathan as president out of 170 million people in Nigeria? What happened? What went wrong?
Two reasons stand out why Nigerians keep electing presidents like Mr. Jonathan. First, Nigerian politics attracts few men of first-rate ability. Men of substance and stature make enemies and therefore not electable. Second, the ordinary Nigerian voter does not object to mediocrity as long as his or her palms are greased with bribe of any sort.
Mr. Jonathan need PR image polish because he lacks the fire and the courage to bring about change that Nigerians desperately need. His complaints outweigh his compassion for the people. His reservation outweighs his resolution. His desperation outweighs his desires.
A PR image repairer is necessary to manipulate Nigerians because he has failed to move the country. He’s always on war path with Nigerians by setting out to selfishly build his own fortune and fortress.
By using Nigerians in order to get ahead, he believes Nigerians are expendable. He worries about his image and live under false pretenses. Mr. Jonathan sulks and get angry when he didn’t get his way. He pretends to be someone that he’s not. And he’s abusing the authority he has been given.
Nobody wants to follow a leader who thinks he’s better than anyone else. Arrogant leaders lose the respect of his people. And Mr. Jonathan lost the respect of Nigerians for his arrogance. Through selfishness, people can tell when a leader is using them merely to reach his own goal.
Nigerian’s don’t know what to expect from Mr. Jonathan. They have stopped expecting anything from him longest time ago! Nigerians are tired of his cynicism. His attitude of seeing a cloud around every silver lining is a sign of a negative leader. It is repulsive to the people.
Nigerians are uncomfortable with Mr. Jonathan because he’s uncomfortable with himself. Only a secure leader can provide a secure atmosphere. No amount of mediated political realities by any PR firm can repair or remake zero image.
When will the fire come down in President Jonathan’s leadership?
Bayo Oluwasanmi can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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