by Soma Oj.
There’s a story that has made the rounds in the media space about how Olusegun Adeniyi, the media assistant to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua used to turn off his phone and rest his head on his table when the seat got really hot – to hide from all those who wanted to find out what was happening.
Even if this story turns out untrue, the fact is that Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s sickness was mishandled by his media advisors and those who ought to have stepped up to the task of properly informing the public about the President’s health status failed horribly at the time.
However, it’s been 7 long years and we ought to have learnt all the lessons even though it already appears that we haven’t learnt, going by the way President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aides handled his last medical vacation. They promised he was hale and hearty but then the President came back home to say that he’d never been as ill as he was in London.
In the interest of our collective peace of mind, we hope that the next medical vacation will not bring another round of confusion. It definitely won’t if they take our advice as set out below:
DO NOT LIE!
It’s the number 1 rule of PR. Do not lie! Whatever you do, no matter the pressure, please do not tell us lies about his health, his whereabouts. Just do not lie. It does not look good on anyone. Ask Wendell Simlin.
KNOW WHEN TO SHUT UP!
It is as simple as that. You should not feel obliged to respond to everyone. The people, especially those in the opposition will try to get under your skin so that you can give them something to work with but you should not give them the pleasure.
REMEMBER THAT YOU WILL GET OUT OF THE ADMINISTRATION SOMEDAY
Do not ruin your chances of future employment by spraying insults all over the place because you are part of the administration now. Remember you’ll get out soon. Also, do not act in such a way that no organisation or person wants to touch you with a ten-foot pole when you are no longer a Presidential aide.
This is always an option if it gets too hot.
TELL THE TRUTH
Which is what we were getting at the whole time: you have a bigger duty to Nigerians than you have to your employer: to let Nigerians know the particulars of their President’s illness. So spill it if you know it.