Governor Fayose and ‘one Fulani herdsmen’

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State

One Fulani herdsmen whose cows destroyed farmlands in Ekiti was jailed yesterday! That to me will serve as deterrent to others.

That’s a tweet by Peter Ayodele Fayose, @GovAyoFayose who has more than 100,000 followers on twitter. If you often wonder why phone screens get broken so easily, wonder no more! With this type of grammar, what do you expect? Our politicians all have twitter handles these days. They believe, or their advisers tell them, that this is necessary to reach the youths. Social media platforms are now an essential aspect of political campaigns, and rightly so!

Nigeria is ranked among the top ten internet users in the world and is clearly Africa’s largest mobile telephone market. We have more than 150 million mobile phone users and more than 55% of subscribers use mobile internet. With smartphone users projected to rise to 34 million by next year, nobody can afford to ignore social media. But this should not take the place of brand strategy. It is just another media option, which is a means of brand expression.
If you are not clear about what is being expressed, you are deceiving yourself.

I do not know Governor Fayose’s educational qualification. Based on what we have seen and heard, it is hard to know or verify the educational qualification of our politicians. They are so fraudulent you just never can tell. We have seen one with “degrees” from “Harvard” whose grammatical expressions could bring down the Third Mainland Bridge! And now, another one is presiding over the educational future of millions of Ekiti youths, but his grammar could crash your smartphone screen. Since Governor Fayose is the “herdsmen” shepherding Ekiti people into an uncertain future, we have a duty to subject him to some scrutiny. This is very interesting. Because the man is reported to be sending his children to schools in Ekiti (I guess we should be celebrating this). I am particularly interested in this matter because I attended secondary school in Ikere-Ekiti, when the state had schools. Today, I do not know the schools Fayose presides over. But if the governor cannot express himself in passable English how can we trust him to ensure quality education for the poor kids in that state?

Now why would a governor go on twitter and celebrate the imprisonment of “one Fulani herdsmen”? He hails this as a great achievement and ‘deterrent’ to others whose cattle destroy farmlands in the state. But what has he done for farmers in the state? Does the imprisonment of “one herdsmen” equate to transforming the fortunes of farmers in the state? What strategic program has the governor deployed or implemented to increase food production in the state? Cash crops in Ekiti State include cocoa, kolanut, coffee and cashew. Now, how is the government improving yield and making the state a major exporter of these crops? How is the state using agriculture to create wealth and lift Ekiti people out of poverty? How will the incarceration of “one herdsmen” bring about the agricultural revolution the state so desperately needs? Will that build the industries that will process agricultural produce and create value for the farmers?

Before you go on twitter to celebrate the simple enforcement of a law, which should be the norm, you need to develop a desirable brand personality. Neither Twitter, nor any other media platform can take the place of a sound brand strategy. The process of moving from brand value proposition, to brand expression is not an exclusive preserve of Fast Moving Consumer Goods. It is a process that must be embraced by government at all levels. The anomalies we see in governance today is due to a lack of any meaningful value proposition on the part of politicians. In brand marketing, they say the customer is king. In governance, the people are the customers, but are we treated as such? Far from it! We are treated with disdain and disrespect. They use us to win elections and promptly discard us thereafter. Our taxes pay them, yet they treat us like trash.

This is the mentality that rules people like Fayose, who pretends to be the friend of the masses but is completely clueless about elevating the people above the basic level of survival. It is beyond his reasoning and imagination that the people can be empowered and lifted out of poverty. Rather he celebrates their poverty by riding okada with them. Instead of eradicating okada and building a modern, safe and comfortable transportation system, he glorifies this symbol of backwardness and poverty to gain cheap popularity. There is simply no value proposition. He has articulated none and he has implemented none.

The governor should shut down his twitter account and get down to the serious business of governance. Twitter is just a media platform. You don’t take to the media and advertise when you don’t have a product to advertise. When you don’t have a brand, what are you advertising? When you don’t have a brand value proposition, what are you selling? A lot of senseless advertising arise from situations like this. When you have nothing of value to sell, but you just want to be heard. It gets even worse when there is a great deal of “free” media. If people have to pay for tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, we would definitely see a lot less trash online. When I read social media posts, the standard of grammar and quality of content make me want to weep. But when something like this comes from a state governor, it’s just too much to bear! It belittles the exalted office and makes a joke of our democracy. It is unnecessary and uncharitable. This social media madness of our leaders is symptomatic of our native propensity for overdoing the things that do not matter and underdoing those things that matter the most.

Governor Fayose and others like him should face the hard task of providing responsible and responsive governance to the people of their states and let their people tweet about the good work they are doing. The governor should go to his media consultants, if he has any, and ask them about putting brand value proposition before brand communications. They should tell His Excellency about the importance of creating value before creating communication. And that the next time he incarcerates “one herdsmen”, he shouldn’t take to twitter to advertise his educational shortcomings.
• Muyiwa Kayode is CEO at USP Brand Management and author of The Seven Dimensions of Branding

In this article:
Peter Ayodele Fayose
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