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PDP Convention: Criteria for a National Publicity Secretary by Jim Nwankwo

A political strategist, Mr. Jim Nwankwo, has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must not make a mistake in its choice of a National Publicity Secretary, as the position would be pivotal in resurrecting the party and re-positioning it.

Speaking to news men in Abuja, Nwankwo said the problem of the party has persistently being that of its image, and how it has been managed. He noted that the first job of any effective image maker would be to improve on perception management relating to the party. He lamented the fact that past image makers did not carry the media along thus causing the party incalculable damages.

He said, “I was in a meeting in 2015, where the National Publicity Secretary at the time was collecting the phone numbers and emails of reporters and Editors. Practically, that was his first time interacting with such top media people. I mean, this was like a few weeks to the Presidential election and you have this man just meeting the press who are a critical segment of the entire transition. From all indications, he was disconnected from the media. I thought then that it would cause a problem for the party. It did. On the other hand, the NPS of the opposition party at the time, had virtually captured the media. He was at home with practitioners as he was one of them. He would do stories and send to them. He would follow up. He would engage us. That’s why the opposition then took over the media and propaganda space. This may have helped the party in clinching power.”

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Nwankwo said the PDP needs a media manager as it is now a party in opposition. He said, “more than ever before, and if the PDP is serious, it does not have the luxury to sacrifice merit on the altar of other political considerations. Especially in this area, the party must emphasis on professionalism and carry the media along. In fact, the PDP should find a way of hearing directly from the practitioners themselves. A situation where they are not consulted is injurious. A disaffection from them generally translate into a bad start for the party.”

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Nwankwo said since the position has been zoned to the North, it would only be wise to ensure it went to a PDP state. He said, “the job of speaking for the opposition is not an easy one especially in a brutal political climate like ours. Such a person must at least have a base that is PDP for support, especially in a North that is opposition dominated. If you take someone from an APC state, he would have to contend with the troubles at home before finding the peace or presence of mind to confront larger issues. In 2015, the spokesperson of the opposition was from a state in the opposition. This must have given him the base and support that made him very effective. At least, he didn’t need to worry about local opposition. It is a difficult job if it must done properly. You need a forthright and courageous persona. Enjoying some modicum of support from the home would enhance the efficiency of such a fellow. He must also not be limited by sociologically conditioning of the mind. The job needs a high level of concentration, clear thinking and reasonability.”

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Nwankwo also said the job should go to the candidate with the most media savvy and network. He said, “we don’t need someone who is not at home with the nuances of propaganda and news writing. The next NPS must be swift in responding to issues. He must be at home with not just the media but with the top practitioners. Then he must carry them along. Not someone who would be antagonistic and detached from the media. Personally, I would like someone who can be creative as to do stories on his feet. A vibrant newsroom experience coupled with the real world of government is the kind of background such an NPS needs. Anything short of this would ridicule the party and limits it chances at survival.”

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