By James Kanyip
There is this Hausa adage that says: “the people are the greatest asset of a politician”. This adage is particularly true in respect of those politicians occupying elective offices.
A good political office holder would keep close tab and take the people, especially those at the grassroots, seriously. One of the easiest ways of reaching out to the people and showcasing himself and his achievements is through image laundering.
Over the years, especially with the advent of the social media, this method has proven to be effective and efficacious. It is now being employed by political office holders and others, in both the public and private sector, not only to reach out to the people, but to also express themselves and their activities.
Most organizations now have departments or units saddled with this responsibility.
Recently, I have watched with keen interest how the image of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State is being purportedly laundered in the social media by a group of youths engaged for that purpose.
I think the most elementary thing in image laundering is to highlight and showcase the good deeds and policies of one’s master through the dissemination of information to the people. And where people have doubts, the image launderers should explain to them further for them to comprehend and appreciate.
Unfortunately, what I see in Kaduna State now is propaganda and not propagation of information. To me, while the former is latently underbellied in political gimmicks and brinksmanship, the latter is based on factual realities on ground.
The image launderers in Kaduna State are more of political warmongers than propagators, peacemakers and pacifiers. One would have loved to see them exercising high degree of restraints in their responses to criticisms targeted at their master. But this is not the case here. They are quick to attack anybody, anytime and anywhere who says anything that they feel is against their master or contrary to their viewpoints.
More worrisome is the fact that you cannot see them initiating or provoking scholarly, sensible and intelligent issues and discourses bordering on current affairs and the policies of their master. Instead, the scavenge the nooks and crannies of the entire social media world looking for the posts and comments of those they perceive as enemies of their master to prowl on.
Their choice of words and expression in the social media offend all known decency, courtesy and respect to the people. They want their views to be taken hook, line and sinker without regards and respect for the independence of thoughts and opinions of the people.
They are quick to attack and insult. They are not constructive in engagements. They lack tolerance and temperance. They are not susceptible to moderation in their expressions.
I think their master needs people at this material time and not enemies; and the main objective of image laundering is to woo people for him and not create enemies. So far, they have failed in that very important duty.
If the mandate given to them is to really launder the image of their master, then they are doing a bad job. But, if it is to insult and attack people perceived as “enemies” of their master, then they are doing a great job.
And the adverse implication of their misdeeds and misadventures is that they are depleting and thereby depreciating the greatest political asset and capital of their master: the people!
I think they are not laundering the political image of their master, they are, instead, murdering it.