Thursday, June 10, 2021 6:52 am
Videoclip, Dapo Abiodun’s Broadcast, Kayode Samuel,
By Kayode Samuel
A videoclip of the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun appearing to correct errors in his speech during a rehearsal or recording of a broadcast has been trending online.
Before the matter is allowed, yet again, to snowball into an avoidable storm, a few observations need to be made.
The first is that speechmaking is a vital component of the executive functions of the Governor. Because of its key representational role in projecting the State chief executive and his administration, utmost priority must be accorded to it in the schedule of the Governor. Much more than meeting with contractors, commissioning projects and hosting dignitaries, the reputational damage resulting from the mismanagement of the Governor’s Office speech function could echo far and be long lasting.
A state broadcast has an even more elevated importance because it purports to communicate with the people at key moments in the life of the state.
The point that many of the needlessly defensive comments that I have read on this controversy seem to miss is that the speech of the Governor that would be recorded for broadcast must, first and foremost, be camera-ready. The recording session is not the time and place that you start to struggle with the right words to use, sentence construction, syntax and suchlike. Before the Governor presents himself in front of a camera to rehearse or record a speech, all of that should have been sorted out between him and his speechwriter prior to his showing up for the kleig lights. This would limit the circle of mischief makers lurking in the shadows to ridicule the process like the people behind the sharing of this tape have obviously done.
The corrections to be made on camera should be with regard to takes, effects, carriage, ambiance, cadence, tonality, comportment, flow, etc. A situation where the Governor is wondering, as Prince Abiodun is seen to do in the said video, whether “Information” (I presume by that he means the Information Ministry) did not go over the draft is just below par. With due respect, Mr. Governor should have familiarised himself with the speech draft prior to going before a camera for its recording. It is his broadcast afterall – not that of “Information”!
In the six-and-a-half years that I served in Ogun State, one of my core assignments was to be the Governor’s speechwriter. It was a role that Governor Gbenga Daniel insisted I play, regardless of whatever portfolio I occupied – be it Communication Adviser, Information Commissioner or Chief of Staff.
And the process of implementing a speech draft is really a simple one. When a major speech is to be made, the Governor tells his speechwriter what he wishes to say and after this has been captured into a draft, he then goes over the draft. It is at this point of going over the initial draft that grammatical and other constructional corrections are made. Never before the camera – whether in rehearsal or actual recording! Just imagine that the speech under reference here was not for recording but had to be delivered to a live audience. Would Governor Abiodun be pausing at the podium to correct the “is” and “was” of the draft and the sentence constructions?
The upshot of all of this is that the Governor and his aides must take this episode as a lesson. And they should cure themselves of the victim mentality that seeks to excuse sloppiness by blaming lapses on the opposition. It is the duty of the opposition to score points against the government. It is also the duty of the government to reduce the opportunities for the opposition’s points-scoring against it to the barest minimum.
In conclusion, my advice is that the government should quickly put this episode behind it, take the lessons in good faith, sanction whatever lapses occasioned the embarrassment and just forge ahead.
I left the service of Ogun State nearly twelve years ago. But I want to believe that there is still sufficient resident capacity within the civil service and appointee cadres of the state administration to ensure that things are done right in a manner that befits of the pioneering and frontline role of our dear state and the labours of its Founding Fathers.
May God in His infinite mercies continue to grant Governor Abiodun and his administration the wisdom and presence of mind to steer the ship of Ogun State.
-Mr. Kayode Samuel, former Commissioner for Information, Ogun State, and public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos