In Aniagwu, Atiku finds a spokesman fit for him, primed for the moment

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar , has appointed the Commissioner for Information in Delta State, Mr. Aniagwu Charles , as one of his spokesmen for the 2023 presidential campaign.

In a statement by Atiku’s Media Adviser, Paul Ibe , the PDP presidential candidate said Hon. Charles Aniagwu ’s appointment takes immediate effect.

He called Aniagwu’s brief to , among others, include keeping the electorate up to speed with happenings in the presidential campaign.

The statement describes Aniagwu as “a veteran broadcaster with over two decades of experience in the media industry.”

Yet, Aniagwu is more than a veteran broadcaster. He’s a cut fit for the crown, apt for the moment and primed for duty. There is a sense in which Atiku should see Aniagwu’s appointment as one of the gains from his joint ticket with Delta governor, Governor Ifeanyi A. Okowa , the quiet and hard-working foreman in Delta who would rather do, than drool.

What Aniagwu brings to the office is beyond political strategic communication skills which he has in good measure. He comes to the job with a badge of civility, a totem of decorum in political communication and a good dose of forbearance even for the political foes of the Turakin Adamawa.

Atiku, the only prominent Nigerian politician you can address by his first name without the risk of being tagged disrespectful and impudent, has a towering virtue of civility, accommodating, unvarnished courtesy and an abiding proclivity to listen just to learn. Atiku is not uncouth, neither caustic in his verbal expression even when he has good reasons to be. He carries a dignified urbanity and a gait of Victorian genteelness. Not known for rancid and rabid utterances; not given to acerbic and unkind cuts marinated in contemptuous verbiage against his political opponents, he has over the decades come to be associated with grace and candour shorn of verbal savagery as is the manner of some Nigerian politicians.

These are some of the attributes that also define Aniagwu’s approach to political communication. He showed his mastery of persuasion as a superior weapon in political marketing as against snotty-nosed pelts and punts.

As spokesman for the extant Delta state government of Dr. Okowa, Aniagwu refused to be drawn into making enemies for the Okowa government. He showed decorum and carefully chose his words even when replying to hirelings whose forte and lucre-induced brief was to malign the Okowa government and rubbish it as a government of underwhelming performance.

In the height of acrid political conflicts among the different power blocs in the Delta PDP, Aniagwu masterfully navigated through the slippery contours without resorting to insult or vitriol. In all his TV appearances and written interventions, he kept his language clean and polished. He smartly told the government’s, particularly Okowa’s side of the story, without evoking the fire of hate. He deployed responsive temperance, shunned to walk through the path that could lead to debasement of any of the contenders in the power equation. Such trait is rare in contemporary Nigeria politics.

These days, the fancy of most politicians and their handlers is to descend to the gutter of villainy where the use of the vilest of words is perceived, very wrongly, as a mark of grandiloquence and political sophistication. Far from it. Politics has evolved from violence, both physical and emotional, to ideas and ideologies. Politics must and should be about issues and solution to challenges. This is also the message of Atiku. At the height of the needless brickbats between Rivers governor, Gov Nyesom Ezenwo Wike – CON , and some notable personalities in the party including Sule Lamido, former Jigawa governor and Iyorchia Ayu, the party chairman, Atiku had to sue for truce. He issued a statement, pleading with all the combatants to refrain from insults and verbal profanities and embrace peace. It’s the Atiku way: choosing peace over punches; decorum over debasement.

This is where Atiku will find Aniagwu handy. He has the capacity to temper the storm and tame a raging lion with persuasion and pacifism. There are some persons out in the field speaking for Atiku. But you cannot market Atiku with abusive cant and uncouth twaddle. Peace begets peace. A peaceful politician in the mould of Atiku does not need uncivil men to sell him. Instead, they short-sell him. They make enemies for him when they should make friends. This is the explosive minefield that Atiku should avoid. You don’t need to draw the dagger to win a fight. Words fitly spoken come with more potency than the armada of indecorous chants.

Aniagwu will add real value to the Atiku-Okowa brand. Such is the kind of image minders Nigerians need across parties. The people are tired of the circus shows of untrained image makers who mistake brigandage and blustery for courage and candour.

Author: Ken Ugbechie

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