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todayAugust 18, 2022

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 Sly Ikechukwu reckons that Festus Keyamo is a tested and effective campaign spokesperson

I read with utter disappointment an opinion piece authored by one Phrank Shaibu with the aforementioned headline.  Shaibu oozed such a strong sense of rage and bitterness, much to the chagrin of many Nigerians.

The reason for which Phrank Shaibu and his allies chose to respond to Keyamo’s assertions was not out of concern for Nigerian citizens or out of love for Nigerian students caught up in the ASUU/FG crisis, but rather because the Minister stated unequivocally that the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had never held an executive position that would have qualified him for the job in 2023.

Without clothing him in a borrowed apparel, it is a statement of fact that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, has never held any executive position in Nigeria till date and whatever decisions or policies implemented between 1999 and 2007 were unquestionably approved and sanctioned by only one Commander- in- Chief, Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR on whose table the buck stops.

The aforementioned, a statement of fact which Keyamo reiterated formed the basis for Shaibu’s tirade against the person of the erudite Senior Advocate, who is well-respected for his exceptional brilliance and mental soundness.

No doubt, every election season throws up all manner of persons that traffic in a one-way lane already strewn with characters that operated on reverse osmosis thinking of decency and societal good. The result is that history not only repeats itself, but it matches on. 

So, when Olorogun Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and Productivity was announced as the campaign spokesperson of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 presidential election, the fear syndrome that it caused in the opposition camps was surprising but not unexpected.

 In 2019, after all effort to pitch his tenth with President Buhari’s campaign team failed like crumbled cookies, Shaibu surfaced in Atiku’s camp and began to spool some crap in the media space.

In his chameleonic signature, yet again Phrank Shaibu wasted no time in showing how scared the major opposition party, the PDP is, by frontally attacking the introductory media interface by the Minister after he was appointed spokesperson, not on seminal issues but purely hybridization of facts and also, trying to obfuscate the picture of the minister’s interview, albeit, poorly.

It is worthy of note that Festus Keyamo has a mandate, borne out of an eloquent testimony of verifiable performance record which the naysayers cannot assail. He will not be distracted from the objective, which is to market the APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to the enthusiastic and well-informed electorate of Nigeria. Hence, he will not dwell on Phrank’s uncouth piece, but focus on the onerous mandate to tell Nigerians the congenial qualities of his principal, which sets him apart from other pretenders and political prostitutes.

If performance is the yardstick for measuring success, then Festus Keyamo, is indeed a campaign spokesman to beat and the opposition is aware of this fact. He is a tested and effective campaign spokesperson who needs no introduction to Nigerians as his entire life and career has been in public space.

Also, his outstanding performance contributed immensely in terms of political communications and reputation management to President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection in 2019. His record undoubtedly played a pivotal role in Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s choice to re-hire him for the same position, going into the general elections of 2023.

Even though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) hasn’t formally pronounced the campaign season to the open, it is broadly acknowledged that the different political parties are already working hard unobtrusively in the background, to promote their candidates. And the emergence of Keyamo as the leading spokesperson of the APC campaign machinery is apt and has been roundly applauded as a good choice, as he’s well apprised of the contending issues of our polity.

Shaibu’s outburst is sequel to an interview Keyamo granted Channels Television days back. During the interview, Keyamo marshalled out reasons why he thought that the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar is not the candidate to beat in the forthcoming 2023 election.

He also bared his mind on the lingering ASUU strike among other issues, saying that he subscribed to private individuals weighing in and if need be, even for parents to beg ASUU to sheath the sword. His passionate and unbiased analysis of the ASUU saga surely revealed the Minister’s inner feelings of empathy for the university students and their parents.

As a product of the system and a known advocate of the masses whose own family members also suffer the adverse effect of this unfortunate situation, Keyamo merely expressed a harmless opinion which himself was willing to champion as a parent. But regrettably, it hit Shuaibu and his paymasters on the wrong chord.

It’s lamentable the inability of some political communication jobbers to communicate effectively principles that will unite Nigerians from all regions into a cohesive democratic force but instead resorted to elevated propaganda, demagoguery and falsehood of what a true Nigerian President should represent beyond their parochial interpretation of programmatic thrust.

Prank’ Shuaibu should realize that it’s not easy to shape his institutionalized memory of his vile campaign against the APC in his futile attempt to twist Keyamo’s comments and hoodwink intelligent Nigerians as to the presidential candidate who has gathered more political IOUs in Nigeria other than Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the quintessential Jagaban.

 Ikechuckwu writes from Lagos

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