OF DAMAGE CONTROL AND COMPOUNDED DAMAGES
Damage control is of course a very sensitive aspect of public relations. It is usually channelled to rescue a complicated situation. It’s beauty relies mostly on the use of subtle and diplomatic expression, thereby taking proper note of all details involved in the situation at hand.
If properly used, damage control addresses the situation at ease; if not, it Mars the image of all personalities involved.
Using the Nigerian political landscape as an example, most public relations outfits have not done enough on damage control, rather they see the media as a battle ground. Yet, it is not. To our best knowledge, one of the reasons Buhari Campaign Organization enjoyed more public sympathy than Goodluck Jonathan presidential Campaign is the effective and purpose-oriented public relations team. While the latter was always busy passing blames and being unnecessarily protective of apparent facts, the latter was equipped with handling attacks mildly, thereby gaining public sympathy.
Yesterday, the media was filled with reports that the embattled Senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki was humiliated by angry kwarans at the eid praying ground over the devastated economic level of kwara state. Report has it that this anger was influenced after the code of conduct tribunal released a list of senator Saraki’s assets. Few hours later, there was an official statement from the office of the Senate president that, Senator Saraki wasn’t humiliated. The statement maintained that the protest was aimed at the governor of kwara state. An escaping statement… Isn’t it?
Few minutes later, I searched YouTube for related videos of Saraki, then I saw the truth. Kwara state people are indeed angry. They chanted Bukola Saraki’s name while calling him “ole”- A thief. The security aides were fully busy at the praying ground as they kept shooting tear gas in the air to scare the protesters away.
The press team of senator Bukola Saraki made a huge mistake by denying the attack on their principal. Perhaps, the team is unaware that people now have unguarded access to the Internet. The team could have admitted plainly that, truly, their principal was attacked, and that, the protest was sponsored by political opponents. Thus, denying the obvious truth compounded senator Bukola Saraki’s dwindling image.
Publicist, social commentator, arts administrator