Monday, 7 July 2014

Nigeria: Spin doctors to the rescue

Nigeria is facing pressing problems so the government has taken decisive action: it signed a $1.2 million contract with an American public-relations company to manage the country's image.
The news of the contract came on the heels of an emotive and sorrowful op-ed that President Goodluck Jonathan published last week in the Washington Post, in which he attempted to rehabilitate his reputation and counter the impression that he was unconcerned about the fate of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from their school in Chibok in April.
"My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation," the president wrote, though it was not clear how a refusal to meet with the grieving parents would endanger the recovery mission.
The letter, in retrospect, looked like the first salvo fired from the PR arsenal of Levick, the Washington-based lobbying firm contracted to help out the Abuja government. The company is going to try to shape the "media narrative" over the government's recovery effort. It is also tasked with mobilising international support of the fight against Boko Haram.
With the elections fast approaching in February 2015, critics accused Jonathan of running to the Washington spin-doctors to spruce up his image ahead of the still-yet-to-be-declared re-election campaign.
For its efforts, Levick will earn $75,000 a month plus (likely to be considerable) expenses for travel and media production, according to The Hill.
For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria or East Africa, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2014 Menas Associates

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