First things first, I am writing this post with a bit of anger in my heart. Yes, I have been in my hometown, Awka in Anambra state for the past week or so and I have only seen electricity for about 10 hours cumulatively. This portends that I have spent quite a lot purchasing fuel at 300/litre in a country blessed with so much crude oil.
So, watching the documentary on President Muhammadu Buhari’s human side as put together by the office of his special adviser on media and publicity led by Femi Adesina most probably increased the anger.
Moving on, let me state clearly that I believe the timing is wrong, if I were in Femi’s position, I won’t air the documentary this period considering the fuel scarcity situation and the mood of majority of Nigerians. I believe that showing such understanding is not a sign of weakness but of strategic thinking. Well, the man for reasons best known to him decided to air the documentary and I made a not-too-pleasant decision to watch 🙂
So, while I watched the documentary, I kept asking myself what I could have done differently? As a player in the media, I honestly think that the documentary lacked originality, authenticity and believability. The reasons can be found in one or more of the points stated below and as always they are completely my opinion:
1. Was it necessary for both advisers to have featured?
I do not see a reason for Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina appearing at all, not to talk of multiple times in a documentary put together by them. Midway into the documentary, Femi tried buttressing a point on how funny the President is using some coloured socks experience and he kept laughing and jiggling repeatedly. Honestly, that was simply FAKE.
My take – the Special Adviser and Special Assistant need not appear in the documentary as they both speak regularly on behalf of the President.
2. Children would have made a huge difference
For a man that appears to most people including me as iron fisted and tough, would a scene of him playing around with external children (maybe an orphanage or something) not speaker louder than 10 advisers and ministers trying to convince us about his humaness. I think the President’s team missed a big one there, media is about creating an impression – therefore its important you maximize it or don’t even start.
Why produce a documentary in a hurry without thinking through each scene?
3. A Joke Cracking Scene
The president’s aides tried convincing us that the he is as funny as Alibaba, so why did we not get to see a real life clip of the President cracking a joke that got everyone laughing hard?
That sort of shot in the documentary is more believable than most of the stories told. Going by what I see, I don’t know how the president will make me laugh but then I possible do not know that side of him.
4. Why was the first lady missing?
Does it not fit into the narrative that she is really meant for the other room? I really marvel at how decisions are made in the villa, Is Reuben Abati really correct about demons being in charge there? How would the President’s team miss a major opportunity to sell a narrative of him being a great supporter of women starting with his own wife? I honestly wonder!
5. Cut down the number of interviewees?
Halfway into the interview, I started asking myself, isn’t this an eye service thingy just to please the president? It appears everyone wanted to be in the documentary. It was rather boring watching numerous people talk for almost an hour and by the way, I didn’t expect them to say anything negative about the President so I won’t tell them congratulations because they were only justifying their fat pay cheques.
6. Welcome one or two dissenting voices
The fact that it is Pro-Buhari documentary does not mean a calculated risk should not have been taken to get comments from one or two people in opposition, who may have had some interactions with the president at one point or the other.
Three attributes the president’s handlers tried selling to us; 1. He is a Democrat; 2. He has a great sense of homour and 3. he delegates without intefering.
So, are they saying that there is nobody in the opposition that can honestly confirm these? I doubt this and that is the problem with us as a nation, the winner does not have to take it all everytime.
7. Drawing International Parallels
So why would you plan a one hour documentary and find no international parallels? This can be used to drive home a point or help the viewer understand how the human side of a leader elsewhere has helped stamp out corruption or improve the economy.
For example, Donald Trump’s hardness may not have worked for the world but it is working for his country’s economy, therefore, those who voted him into power would be uninterested in his soft or human side. They simply want the results he promised such as improved economy and more jobs. Now how you feel about his style is a different ball game.
These are my thoughts on the documentary and I hope they help Femi Adesina and his team in future attempts since 2019 is around the corner. However, it is important to state that what is most important to the average Nigerian today is fulfillment of the promises made at the last general elections.