Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media andPublicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday said the reticence and thriftiness of his principal are some of the the challenges he has had to deal with as the president’s image maker in the last one year.
He, however, said these were enviable personal characters of the president that have made his job exciting.
Adesina said this when he delivered a lecture yesterday at the monthly meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Abuja chapter that dealing with the thoughts and feelings of a good number of Nigerians who were not convinced with the Buhari brand prior to and after the 2015 general election was also part of the tasks he has dealt with in his one year of publicising the president.
He stated that a large number of people who did not vote for Buhari in the last election are still in the pre-election mood and had refused to accept the reality that the election had been won and lost.
According to him, this number of people have also refused to accept that Buhari was no longer a military tyrant as he was said to be in the 1980s but now a democrat who would follow democratic tenets to rule the country.
He said despite the refusal of some Nigerians to accept the president and his change mantra, he was steadily accepted and appreciated across the globe, adding that 23 heads of state had sort audience with him at the last September 2015 General Meeting of the United Nations in New York but he was only able to see seven.
While playing up his alleged character of discipline and incorruptibility, he explained that it was the president’s forthrightness that made him sidestep a remark made by British Prime Minister, David Cameron that Nigeria was ‘fantastically corrupt’.
He noted that despite the fact that a large number of Nigerians are not corrupt, the volume of corruption in the country is high, hence, the president’s choice to ignore Cameron.
Adesina explained that though the reticence of the president is a major challenge in managing him, it had made his media team develop ingenious means of managing him.
He identified other characteristics of ‘Brand Buhari’ to include the president’s toughness, discipline, integrity, transparency, incorruptibility and modesty.
He said some of the strategies adopted by Buhari’s media team included informing the public consistently on the ideals and programmes of the president; expanding information; educating the public about him and also defending the brand.