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President Buhari and the Nuclear Summit Controversy, By Professor Moses Ochonu

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President Buhari and the Nuclear Summit Controversy, By Professor Moses Ochonu

NEWISSUES, Abuja

My man, Pius Adesanmi, says the nuclear summit in Washington is focused on the issue of loose nukes and fossile materials and the possibility that terrorist groups like Al-Qaida, ISIS, and Boko Haram could get hold of them and use them to make dirty bombs. I’m not entirely convinced.,

Even if it is true (why did the media team not tell Nigerians this?) it doesn’t explain why the president, and not a team of high-ranking officials in the security, intelligence, defense, solid mineral, and other relevant sectors, is representing Nigeria.

At any rate, I am not going to belabor the point. This is an infinitely more reasonable explanation/rationale, assuming it is true, than “we’re the most popuous black nation, so he should be there,” “some parts of the country have radioactive mineral deposits,” or ” he was invited so he should be there.”

As I stated, I am not against Nigeria being represented at this or any other international meeting, but the gravitas of the presidency should not be donated to every international meeting, especially when there are pressing, urgent problems at home requiring the president’s undivided attention.

I totally agree with Professor Adesanmi on one point, which in my opinion is the biggest lesson here.

Had the President’s media team done the professional task of articulating for the Nigerian people why the president and not other officials had to attend, what’s at stake for Nigeria, and how the trip figures in Nigeria’s matrix of interests, perhaps this trip (and others) would not generate so much controversy.

The routine of this lazy media team is predictably jejune. They put out terse, officious, and brief press releases that simply announce the dates and destinations of the president’s trips. No attempt to explain what will be discussed, what the president will be pushing or demanding, how the trip advances our interests, etc.

When no information is forthcoming from the official channels, citizens will go to town with speculations and innuendoes. You cannot blame them.

They say nature abhors a vacuum. Communination scholars took it further to say nature abhors an information vacuum. If an entity withholds information and allows an information gap to exist, the gap will be filled with information that is unflattering to that entity.

Every trip’s rationale and relevance to Nigeria’s interests has to be explained to Nigerians, so that they understand why their president has to compete with Anthony Bourdain for the title of world traveler instead of staying home to apply himself to solving their mounting problems.

This is the job of the media team. No one else will do it for them, not even diehard Buharists.

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