Hardship: Presidency’s Response to Criticism Should Be Results-Based, Not Attack

President Bola Tinubu’s spokespersons need to aim to maintain a tone of openness when responding to public criticism, following a recent response to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Development Diaries reports that Special Advisor to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, describing Atiku’s criticism of the Nigerian economy as his ‘new hobby’ is needless.

What is expected of Onanuga as a spokesperson for the president is to counter criticisms with facts and evidence of what the administration is doing to improve the situation and the people’s living conditions.

The presidency ought to prove the opposition wrong and prove that it is being unfairly criticised by stating facts pointing to achievements, if any.

It may seem as though the president’s spokespersons are merely there to defend the president from critics and are not telling him in exact terms the struggles of Nigerians.

The truth is that many Nigerians are hungry. As a matter of fact, the capital city of Niger State, Minna, saw residents block major roads on Monday in protest over the high cost of living in the country.

According to the World Bank, in its 2023 Nigeria Development Update, the poverty rate in Nigeria increased to 46 percent in 2023, representing 104 million poor Nigerians. The bank said more people have fallen below the poverty line due to sluggish growth and rising inflation.

Nigerians are not interested in unnecessary face-offs.

The presidential spokesperson should show Nigerians results. The results evident to citizens have been killings in Plateau State, killings in Benue State, growing insecurity, a rise in poverty figures, and so on.

Constructive criticism is essential for any government to improve and be accountable to its citizens, and a less combative response shows a commitment to addressing issues raised by the public and working towards improvement.

In any case, spokespersons need to stop being combative in their communications and simply do their job of speaking on behalf of their principal.

We call on Onanuga and other spokespersons, whether at the federal or state level, to adopt a less combative approach to responding to criticisms and focus on responding in a way that suggests a more transparent and accountable government.

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