Home » , , » (OPINION) Concerning Governor Ortom's battered media image by Usha Anenga

(OPINION) Concerning Governor Ortom's battered media image by Usha Anenga

Written By Idoma Television on Saturday, May 20, 2017 | 11:23:00 PM

There was a time when we complained and advised Governor Samuel Ortom's media team against their choice of hiring hirelings who would attack and vilify the personalities of individuals with dissenting ideology and opinions especially on social media.

I remember, as a victim, well-wisher of this government and lover of my state, I faulted this strategy but the head of the Governor's media team, Orvesen Tahav Agerzua rather encouraged us to get used to the situation.

He referred us to a section in a letter former US President, Abraham Lincoln wrote to his son's teacher as the principle behind their operation, "to be gentle with the gentle and rough with the rough". The tough probably being those who hold and express opinions different from the government, however constructive.

My argument that for a state stricken with perennial poor leadership, hunger, underdevelopment, corruption, several months of unpaid salaries and pensions, industrial actions and incessant invasion, killing and destruction of communities especially in the face of government's delay or inability to tackle these problems, the people are bound to express themselves in ways that the government "opiniometers" will deem rough and earmark them for rough handling, and that it was an unsustainable media war was obviously also categorized as being tough and appropriated the predetermined reaction.

Few days ago, pictures of wheelbarrows with the inscription "Ortom for you" flooded the internet. Quickly, it was all over the world that Governor Ortom had purchased them for distribution as part of youth empowerment. However false, countless press releases, explanations and sack threats have not changed anything. Rather the story has gone viral worldwide, carrying with it a soothing comic relief as depicted in memes and cartoons mocking the Governor, state and by extension, all that call Benue home.

What happened to Abraham Lincoln's letter to his son's teacher? Now that everyone and everywhere is tough, where do you start from? Will you start from Kaduna or Port Harcourt? Who will you toughly handle and who will you not? Will you blackmail Cool FM, Abuja or gag TV stations in Lagos? How do you stop the trend on Twitter? Which blog will you attack? Do you know Seun Osewa, the owner of nairaland.com so you can report him to his father?

Now that the cookie has crumbled, maybe the government will be humble enough to listen and realize that they have used their hands to fertilize the land with poor performance and anti-people media management, any seed will grow, bad ones even faster.

Perhaps it's time to also refer to another section of same Abraham Lincoln's letter wherein he instructed his son's teacher to "teach him that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader." 

The people know they can get better leadership and that is the challenge going forward. The earlier you shape up into providing the dedicated leadership the people need, the later you are shipped out; the later you do, the earlier you are shipped out. It is instructive not to be oblivious of living examples in our not too distant pasts, that abound amongst us.

Success here begins and ends with performance, for there is no better media aide or antidote to the distractive antics of mischief makers than performance. 

If the government is performing optimally, it would be less susceptible to propaganda. It would definitely not need the services of hirelings to denigrate, chase down public commentators and gag public opinion in order to get support and goodwill of the people.

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