What is really the job description for an Adviser/Assistant on Media and Publicity? Who is qualified to get this job? What academic background must he/she possess? What should be the requisite experience needed? It is so important we begin to ask these questions because let’s face it, something is terribly wrong with that office in Nigeria. At the risk of downplaying the contributions of a few (and that is sad), we have witnessed a majority of Men/Women that have rough doomsday to their bosses. These guys rather than positively contributing to their principal’s success, have been the main undoing.
In the last two decades, we have seen these SAs and SSAs on Media and Publicity/Public Affairs roll-out weak and abysmal choices/decisions that have indeed hurt their bosses and enabled their descent into oblivion, but this piece isn’t about that.
A quick look at the common denominator amongst these Advisers/Assistants that have worked with Politicians, Government Officials and Private Establishments show one underlying factor – they always come with “vast experience” in tabloid journalism. Here are the records – Mrs. Remi Oyo, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Olusegun Obasanjo (was a Prolific writer at The Vanguard and National Concord Newspapers); Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the late President Umaru Yar‘Adua (was an Editor at ThisDay Newspapers); Dr. Rueben Abati, Special Adviser, Media to President Goodluck Jonathan (was an Editor at The Guardian Newspapers); Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari ( was an Editor at The Sun Newspapers); and the list is endless for states, Government departments and even electioneering campaigns.
One begins to ask: Is this all that is necessary to get the job? Get employment at a newspaper house, work your way to the post of an editor, write some pieces that are strategic and politically (in)correct and then you are in? The foundation for the answer to the above-mentioned question is imperatively a shift in mindset; we need to begin to see that there are millions of “Non-Newspaper Editor Background” strategic communication professionals, that understand what it takes to be an SA/SSA on Media and Publicity. These millions of trusted and tested individuals understand that the job is not about being able to write or having a strong relationship with TRADITIONAL media but the ability to combine intelligent strategy with a mix of public relations, advertising, earned and paid media, brand management and government affairs into a comprehensive, creative communications portfolio, that delivers a layered, in-depth series of solutions that cover all strategic bases.
We think it is time for Public Figures to rethink their choices when it comes to appointing/employing an Adviser/Assistant on Media and Publicity. Don’t let the Newspaper Editor History fool you. Don’t let the “Professional Writing History” fool you. Don’t let the “Strong Connect with the Traditional Media History” fool you. He or She needs to be a Strategic Thinker and Executor!