Spokesperson for a former Deputy Governor under the People’s Democratic Party in Kogi State, Abu Michael, has berated the Social Democratic Party in Kogi State, especially its media handlers, over what he described as spurious lies and continuous unfounded allegations being churned out by them, mainly in the social media, as against constructive campaigns, which responsible Kogites are looking forward to.
Abu who was the Chief Press Secretary to Arc. Yomi Awoniyi, Deputy Governor to former Governor Idris Wada, said those he called “media mismanagers” of the SDP governorship candidate, Muritala Yakubu, had continued to display ineptitude as regards communication matters by sticking to an outdated strategy of cooking up lies against a sitting government to gain public sympathy.
He said in a statement released on Monday that, while the people of Kogi State were looking forward to issue-based campaigns of what the opposition would want to do better, what the state had witnessed in the last couple of months “is a reckless SDP campaign hinged on ethnic agenda with absolutely no blueprint for development.”
He noted that, instead of this helping their cause, it had inadvertently portrayed their principal “as not having any other vocabulary in his dictionary other than violence”, and might have also knocked him off the list of serious contenders prematurely.
According to him, “what people are insinuating is that the SDP might be trying to create an air of importance around their Principal, probably because they are aware that he may be the weakest contender in the governorship race in terms of track record and capacity.”
The media practitioner said it was high time well meaning Kogites called the SDP to order, saying, “It is very unfortunate that besides fanning ethnic discords in a heterogeneous State like Kogi and making wild allegations that responsible media houses will not touch with a long pole, they have no image making communication strategy for the candidate of their party.”
The statement reads in full: “It is no longer news that the Kogi State Governorship Election is a few months away. What is however becoming worrisome is the attempt to overheat the polity, particularly by the media managers of the Social Democratic Party.
“The need to begin to show concern over the spurious lies churned out in the name of propaganda or attempt to curry sympathy by the SDP media managers has now come to the fore if we must forestall breakdown of law and order as well as ethnic crisis.
“It is unfortunate that in Kogi State, the SDP has chosen to heighten tension in the state with spurious allegations, mainly fabricated lies, for no just cause, while other opposition parties have chosen to focus on issues.
“It is strange that, aside from the SDP, none of the others, including the PDP candidate, Sen. Dino Melaye, Hon. Leke Abejide of the ADC, Olayinka Braimoh of the AA, Hon. Hassan Baiwa of NNPP, Jibrin Usman of Accord, who are key contenders in the race, have been engaging in outrageous propaganda filled with lies.
“As a media professional, one skilled in the art of conflict sensitive reporting, I find it rather unfortunate that the SDP media managers have chosen the path of dishing out unfounded information and making unsubstantiated allegations, where others are showcasing what they have to offer the people different from what the current government is doing.
“What people are insinuating is that the SDP might be trying to create an air of importance around their Principal, probably because they are aware that he may be the weakest contender in the governorship race in terms of track record and capacity.
“It is high time responsible Kogites from around the world called to order, these so called media managers. It is very unfortunate that besides fanning ethnic discords in a heterogeneous State like Kogi and making wild allegations that responsible media houses will not touch with a long pole, they have no image making communication strategy for the candidate of their party.
“It won’t take too long for their principal, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu, to discover that his media managers have, with their offensive communication style, been inadvertently portraying him as not having any other vocabulary in his dictionary other than violence.
“While the people of Kogi State are looking forward to issue-based campaigns of what the opposition would want to do better, what we have since witnessed, in the last couple of months, is a reckless SDP campaign hinged on ethnic agenda with absolutely no blueprint for development.
“Having been privileged to witness all elections held in Kogi State, since the advent of the current democratic experiment, I make bold to state that no section of the state has ever had the opportunity to produce a governor of the state without crossing the divide and building bridges with other ethnic groups of the state. But, in this their journey, they have chosen to alienate others in their propaganda around a certain agenda.
“I also find it laughable that those stoking the unwarranted tension in the state in the name of media managers are quick to mention the name of Gov. Yahaya Bello for every political misfortune.
“This could easily be linked by those concerned to the rejection they may be facing and their inability to cover some political mileage they might have envisaged with the ethnic card.
“They have continued to churn out lies on a daily basis with a view to misleading the public, to the extent that even major contenders in the next election from Kogi East have drawn the attention of Igala people and well meaning Kogites, in general, to these lies.
“Aside from the social media with no gate keeping tenet, no Editor worth his salt in the mainstream media would risk libel and unprofessionalism, going by the spurious and unfounded lies that have formed the bedrock of the strategies of the SDP mismanagers.
“In every society, particularly in election seasons, overzealous, unscrupulous elements do politically unethical things. But the manner in which the SDP guys have made propaganda and clout chasing their watchwords, it is easy for right thinking people to wonder if those attacks purportedly carried out by opposition were not perpetrated by SDP themselves to create content for their strange media strategy.
“When a state government facility was attacked in Kogi East by hoodlums recently, and properties carted away, the state government did not accuse opposition, it simply said the perpetrators would be fished out and dealt with. That is the hallmark of a government mindful of security. One area the administration of Gov Bello has received applause within and outside the State is in the area of securing lives and properties in the state. No amount of propaganda can take this fact away. And I’m sure, Kogites would not fold their arms and watch selfish and tactless politicians take them back to the old, chaotic days.
“For instance, while a recent action culminating in the attack on the Campaign Secretariat of the SDP will continue to remain condemned in strong terms, if truly it was not stage-managed, with strong appeal on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators, attributing the action to the Chief Executive Officer of the State with unprintable names and unsubstantiated claims, underscores the quality of the SDP campaign.
“It is important to state that it is within the constitutional right of the opposition SDP Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, to seek to wrestle power from the APC. However, those who are his genuine supporters should re-engineer his public exposure if Kogites must count him among serious contenders.
“Right now, it seems his media mismanagers have unwittingly knocked him out prematurely.”
Abu Michael was Chief Press Secretary to Arc. Yomi Awoniyi, former, Deputy Governor, Kogi State.