When you look at the level of misinformation by mischief makes, fake information peddled by trouble makers and the hardcore ignorance a lot of Nigerians display about the workings and policy direction of Government – you will begin to understand why a dedicated department or unit in Government that handles media and communications will have a lot of professionals managing the communication strategy of the Federal Government.
For the President Buhari administration, they need to up their Communication Strategy Game. Many of those appointed to speak on behalf of the Government directly and indirectly are PROPAGANDIST fit for election purposes. The Government needs to refocus its strategy and energy to Policy Communications.
We have gone past election mood, the Government needs Technocrats who can break down and explain Policy Communications Strategist. If you follow the social media handles or pages of Government Media-persons, all you see them do is announce a broadcast, share photos of a meeting or the most annoying, share sycophantism messages praising their political principals for half-baked jobs. It is annoying that the best most of our Government Media-persons and spokesperson can do is share a lot of quantity information that has no quality or substance. That’s one of the major reason there is a huge disconnect between the citizens and the Government. Imagine if the Government used the bulk of the time it tries to defend itself or spread some propaganda to share quality information about the Policy directions of Government, we won’t have citizens doubt the credibility or sincerity of its decisions and decisions.
Here are my solutions:
- Government Media-persons need to adopt a more Policy Communications Strategy across all of its media handles that explains, breakdowns and clarifies Government positions at all times.
- Government Media-persons need to undergo special Policy Communications Training so they are properly armed to simplify and communicate Government Programs and Policies
- The Nigerian Government needs to leave ELECTION propagandist MODE and focus its energy open Policy Communications. Leave the propaganda messaging for your political party
- If you ask me, Lai Mohammed has done a pretty messy Job of being Minister of Information, he was more effective as Political Party Spokesperson, I actually thought we was going to bring that same rigor to the Job of being a Government Spokesperson
- Government Media-persons need to collect some form of Policy Communication training from Tolu Ogunlesi, he seem to be the only Government Media-person who understands the importance of Policy Communications.
- Government need to understand that POLICY Communication that is clear and concise a MANDATORY RIGHT of every Nigerian Citizen, the aura of thinking they are doing the citizens s FAVOUR when communicating Government’s POLICY has to change. Government and its officials including Media-persons are accountable to the CITIZENS.
- Lastly, Government can adopt a UNIVERSAL strategy that cuts across traditional and digital platforms to always explain Government POLICY directions – the media assistants of Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals must continually touch-base so the messaging across every strata of Governance is in sync and aligns – technology has made it easy for media persons across the entire Government to converge without having a physical meeting. Government should embrace technology to foster cohesion and a common message.
It is not enough for Government to have GOOD INTENTIONS. If those INTENTIONS ain’t properly COMMUNICATED by Media Persons who understand the concept of simplifying INFORMATION, then it will be difficult to gain the TRUST of the citizens talk less of their Cooperation.
What other ideas or ways do you think Government can increase its POLICY Communications Effectiveness? Kindly share your ideas with me.
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EldaDavid is a Public Policy Practitioner who works and resides in Lagos, Nigeria. EldaDavid is the President-in-Council and Research Lead for the Nigerian Global Affairs Council – A Technology-based and Digital Media-driven Public Policy and Evidence-based Research Think-Tank that simplifies Government Policy Positions at all times.