The reaction of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organization to the London’s Chatham House lecture of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate cannot be said to be unexpected from a permanently reactive, vacuous and disoriented main opposition political party in the country from which the campaign organization was issued.
What was unexpected, however, was another display of chronic deficiency by the Atiku/Okowa campaign in taking advantage of the golden opportunity offered by the APC presidential candidate in his speech to articulate different policy options for creating wealth for the Nigerian nation and expanding job opportunities for the Nigerian youths in the next political dispensation. It has again failed miserably.
Rather, the Atiku/Okowa campaign stubbornly stuck to its familiar path of reactionary mode of criticism by engaging, once again, in the basest, jejune and inconsequential component of Asiwaju’s Chatham House outing; the distribution of some of the questions that were asked by the audience to some of his equally very competent, long standing aides including a governor and a former governor in the hall.
While the minders of Atiku/Okowa Campaign are not expected to have the presence of mind to recognize creative thinking and strategic empowerment even when both entities barge into their meetings because of the dour and uninspiring ticket leading the campaign, the least Kola Ologbondiyan, the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign spokesperson could have done is to keep quiet in order not to further expose the party’s soft and uninviting underbelly. But one cannot give what he doesn’t have.
As a strategic thinker whose several ‘firsts’ were also made possible by the sound minds in his cabinet as the governor of Lagos State (some of whom were with him at Chatham) are still being understudied not only in Nigeria but in the West African subregion, ceding some questions by Asiwaju to some of his confidants was another pointer to the quality of brains that would constitute his government. This would be people who can hold their own anywhere in the world as opposed to the quantity of brains with which Nigerians are currently being assaulted in the Atiku/Okowa campaign as demonstrated by this latest nonsense.
Asiwaju presented a flawless speech in the first half hour of the Chatham outing to the expressed admiration of his audience. It’s therefore disingenuous of Mr. Ologbondiyan to have asserted that the APC presidential candidate could not “coordinate his own thought process to the extent that he could not personally think through issues and address them but had to direct questions put to him including those on his health and policies to others to answer” during the Q&A session, especially when he told the moderator, ab initio, that he wanted to demonstrate the team spirit that would be the stock-in-trade of his administration. The questions that were personal to him were brilliantly answered by him.
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While the Diaspora Directorate cannot guarantee the shape or form that the Atiku/Okowa campaign to the next trailblazing move of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu would take, what we know is that this unprecedented Q&A format in the nation’s electioneering campaigns has come to stay. And history will, once again, record Asiwaju as the first in this strategic communication genre.
Head of Media and Publicity
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Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Abuja.