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Is the President being seen and not heard?

Ever since President Buhahari spoke off the cuff about “President Michelle of West Germany”, apart from a brief clip in which he addressed Nigerians in South Africa, Nigerian TV stations no longer seem to show any footage of the president speaking, beyond reading a prepared text.

This also seems to coincide with the appointment of presidential media handlers. Enquiring minds must wonder whether Nigerian TV stations have been leant on to stop airing clips of the president speaking without notes to spare him further embarrassment.

I have watched several clips of the president receiving visitors, addressing them and so on, but with just a voice-over from the reporter and nothing from the horse’s mouth.

This may look like a good idea, but the president is due in the US in July to meet Barack Obama and is likely to be subjected to questions by the American media. One Nigerian on social media joked that the president should be OK in the US as long as he doesn’t have to speak.

The more he learns to speak without notes before that trip, learns to master his brief before public appearances, and practices this skill, the less the chance of him blundering again.

This is the theory, at least, and it is based on the assumption that the president has the intellect to field questions competently and think on his feet. His record so far doesn’t fill me with confidence.

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