Gambari house burgling: Garba Shehu needs crash course on crisis management
By Alhassan A. Bala
Crises, rumours and fake news are fast becoming a reality in today’s world and, as such, they must be expected and prepared for.
Some crises, rumours, and even fake news can definitely be terrible. However, every crisis, fake news and rumour can also be managed very well.
From a Public Relations (PR) perspective, “crisis” can be seen as “any event or circumstance that negatively impacts an organization’s or individual’s reputation, credibility, or brand.”
When one becomes SA media, PRO, Chief press secretary, Director Press (PR practitioner), your role during crisis, fake news or rumour will be multi-pronged and critical.
The primary concerns of any spokesman or PR practitioner will be providing expert advise to his/her boss with regard to the either government, private organisation public response.
Hence the need to consider the appropriateness of the information to be shared when the rumour, fake news or crisis is going on and in some cases immediately after the crisis as a reactive measure.
There could be a situation that you must respond to, sharing too little, may raise suspicions; divulge too much and you could create serious issue.
And it is against this that I was shocked and strongly concerned when I saw a tweet by the Senior Special Assistant to the president, Malam Garba Shehu on Monday confirming an attempt to burgle the house of Chief of Staff to the president at the Presidential Villa.
Shehu is a former president Nigeria Guild of Editors and former spokesman to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Malam Shehu has during the Pantami saga released a statement depending the minister of Communication and Digital Economy, which literally only aucceeded in adding fuel to the fire, raising so many issues, to the level that so many crisis management experts questioned his experience and sincerely, describing it as needless.
The news of the chief of staff house burgling attempt started in some online media portals, with the SA to the president on new media, Bashir Ahmad responding and describing it as “fake news” on his Twitter handle.
The statement made by Garba Shehu affirming the attempted burgling at the Villa, will definitely send more fear on the mind of anyone residing in Abuja, since even the Presidential Villa appears not spared from armed robbers or burglers.
Garba Shehu as a veteran journalist, someone who has been spokesman at the Presidential Villa for eight years to former vice president Atiku Abubakar, now president Muhammadu Buhari for six years should have understood the extent to which any statement he released would be.
Surprisingly, Garba Shehu seems to forget that there are too much tension in the country over insecurity, to the level that many countries are sending advisory letter to their citizens in or wanting to come to Nigeria.
Recently, the ECOWAS also advised their staff about insecurity level even in the nation’s capital Abuja.
As this is happening the question that comes to my mind is who Malam Garba Shehu is receiving order from before releasing any statement?
Could it be what the first lady Aisha Buhari has been saying is revealing in a way things are currently happening between top government officials?
Despite the fact that I am a young journalist, one that respect the experience of the presidential spokesman, his track record, yet, I will want to say Malam Garba Shehu should in matter of urgency find communication strategist to learn crisis management.
Alhassan A. Bala is an Abuja-Based broadcast journalist, and can be reached via [email protected]