Philip Agbese: Open letter to Lai Mohammed


May I send to you warm Easter greetings in advance. I also wish all Nigerians a joyful season, as we gradually approach the 2019 general elections, another epochal era in the political history of our great and beloved country, Nigeria.

First, please permit me to begin by acknowledging your demonstrated prowess in the proactive, timely and appropriate responses to the 2015 multiple electioneering campaigns issues of national and international dimensions, when you served as the APC National Publicity Secretary.

Sir, your deftness and clarity of thoughts in handling the emergent issues adequately elucidated Nigerians greatly. And it sufficiently psyched them to opt for the clear and rewarding choice of leadership change in favour of the incumbent APC national government led by President Muhammedu Buhari.

I believe, like most Nigerians that your inclusion into the cabinet of the Buhari Presidency and handing over to you the portfolio of Minister of Information and National Orientation was indisputable.

Apparently, it was a decision propelled by your past antecedents in competencies on information dissemination and publicity management. Many of us hailed your choice, because we felt you had the knack and the bite to assist immensely in disseminating or projecting the laudable policies, programmes and projects of the Buhari Presidency.

But regrettably, the fire in you which swelled your camp of admirers, by deflating malicious and sentimental propaganda against the establishment you represent has waned, if not outrightly extinguished in the last two years.

The next general elections are drawing nearer. And overt or clandestine malicious campaigns have been mounted against the government you serve, implicating your principal and attempting to rubbish the performance records of President Buhari. The campaigners freely downplay his enormous achievements in various sectors of the economy, with deliberately concocted falsehoods and misrepresentations.

But your office seeming to delight more in silently consenting to the free reign of these disgruntled opposition elements is spiting and spatting on the face of the APC led Federal Government of Nigeria. They brand it all sorts of derogatory names before your watchful eyes.

Nigerians are shocked at the sudden cold feet you have developed in effectively performing your official responsibilities of articulating the programmes and projects of the Buhari Presidency. This proclivity has been entrenched to the extent that even ‘Lilliputians’ in information management appeared to have inexplicably and speechlessly suppressed the enormous strength and prowess, we believed, you possessed in this professed specialty.

President Buhari and the government he leads has become a free punching bag for liars, detractors, saboteurs and enemies of the state, who hurl every falsehood to the public domain unchallenged.

These retrogressive elements are succeeding is misleading vulnerable Nigerians, with these smart schemes. But it is glaring that you have abdicated your responsibilities of enunciating a concrete agenda of information dissemination and stimulation of robust public debate among Nigerians on the performances of the Buhari Presidency.

In its stead, you have consciously marooned Nigerians on the Island and donated the citizenry to the rumour mill and or, denial of information, which the opposition is exploiting maximally in plotting their evil agenda against Nigeria. You have lost the gripping touch and the engaging golden voice once accustomed with you.

Sir, where is thy golden voice? I must confess and with all sense of responsibility, humility and all fairness to you and Almighty God, that you have proven us wrong by not doing enough in the present circumstance. It is now more convenient to assert that you appear to have lost track of your responsibilities and roles, as Nigeria’s mouthpiece, as you are conspicuously not doing enough. Should we now suggest that you are better at the party secretariat and should therefore, be redeployed to the base?

I am amazed that you have not realized the whole gamut of a strategic communication of this magnitude, at a time the image of your country is severely battered and deprecated. Please, you need to adopt both conventional and non-conventional approaches, like the revival of public enlightenment campaigns, as even defined by the nomenclature of the ministry you superintend.

Again, occasional visits to states, where federal projects have been undertaken or are ongoing to interact with the people and raise platforms of awareness of the existence of such projects is imperative now.

Sir, with due respect, it is time to mount the proverbial horse and ride to prove your mettle or else I am tempted to believe that it’s either Nigerians overrated your competence or simply, you pass casually, just like one of the many indolent state governors who merely rode on the wings and benevolence of President Buhari to be shadowy super stars in the corridors of power.

We all know in reality that everything that aligns with President Buhari markets itself. But time has come to do the needful, by arresting the prevalent inactions your office has slipped into, to keep Nigerians constantly informed

I appreciate your audience. May God give you the necessary wisdom, guidance and strength to match the demands of the moment.


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