The Media Blog: Lai Mohammed is going to court – over a scandal that doesn’t even make sense

No one is asking our opinion, but if they did, we would tell them the truth: the entire kerfuffle over the ‘Change begins with me’ campaign is ridiculous.

First, because the campaign itself is dead on arrival. It’s a hastily conceived, unprofessionally rolled out, accident of governance that terribly mismatches the slow-train messaging of a flailing government with a citizenry that has already left the station.

The accusation of plagiarism by someone who used to work in communication is also actually beyond ridiculous. To say the ministry stole your idea, with no evidence beyond hastily written articles – no copyrights said to be infringed, no project roadmaps presented as similar. Nothing but ‘oh I had a great idea, and I discussed with the minister’.

All these people belong to the 80s. They don’t even understand that the thing they are fighting over has no value. Both of them. Archaic modes of social engineering that rely too much on slogans and activities that no longer apply in a generation that wields cynicism for weapon.

And what we read here in this robust defense (that we believe) by Wale Goodluck who used to be in MTN worries us even further about the quality of thinking and process that leads to national policy and decisions.

See here:

Shortly after this meeting I separated from the services of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited. The minister remained in touch and we continued to brainstorm on the Change campaign. Sometime in January 2016 I met with the minister at his home on Isaac John street, GRA Ikeja early on a Saturday morning. His son, Folajimi, also joined us as we did more brainstorming on how best to achieve his objectives. The minister then requested that I prepare a submission for him on how we could deploy technology and social media to drive the change campaign with focus on the youth population.

Government officials still think that the best way to engage youth is to ask their children (who are not professionals in any form of youth culture, media or behaviours) for leadership and then some old man from a telecom company for ‘social media consultancy’ when the man was only in charge of regulation when he was there?

Sigh. These people will not kill us.

Now, the whole thing has exploded in the minister’s face, because this is communication strategy, not random smearing of political parties from your perch as opposition propagandist. It has lost credibility even though it was starting from zero credibility in the first place.

On top of everything, the campaign meant to strengthen his government’s brand has bombed so badly before it even begun, and has birthed a brand already so weakened from birth that it has already begun to attract allegations of corruption, mismanagement and general dirtiness.

And so what does the honourable minister decide? To add more fuel to a raging fire, he has threatened to take a newspaper to court. Which ensures of course that rather than discussing, and perhaps salvaging whatever merits exist in this warped campaign, we are certain to spend the next few days talking about corruption allegations from a newspaper no one reads anymore.

Who advises these old men, for heaven’s sake?


PS: See anything worth talking about on the ins and outs of the media business in Nigeria on TV, radio, print and online (could be news, tweets, photos, op-eds etc) send us a mail on [email protected] titled TMB. Let’s share the insight together!

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