Monday, 12 February 2018

The Problem of Semantics —by Daniel Agbor

12 February 2018 

I am not contending the position of the many acolytes of Government or the position litanies of critics in Ayade's administration. Few weeks ago, the social media was agog with claims and counter claims about the purported attempt to dualize the Tinapa-Odukpani axis of the Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja Highway. 

I became critical when I passed through the road last week and had to wait for so long at the Army checkpoint at Pamol on routine inspection. (Stop and search if it's truly that). My anxiety turned into fear when I waited too long than expected. 

Basking in the endless eternal wait, I looked around and saw a signboard with the inscription, "Ayade is working". What! This was all I could say. My mind started generating possible scenarios of the "Ayade is working". In conclusion, I felt His Excellency has joined the workers in the usual manual labour seen during road construction hence the heavy security. I recalled about 8 years ago in Lagos when the former Governor Raji Fashola SAN participated in an environmental sanitation exercise, something similar was used. 

Imagine my shock then when I was given a pass and I didn't see any sign of Gov. Ayade doing any work. He wasn't even seen within the said area but the signposts are strategically placed to inform the masses of a wonder working messiah in the Governor. I see this more as a mockery than reality. I wonder who gave the image launderers of the Governor this lame construct that is shrouded in semantics ambiguity. 

This is very insulting of the office of the Governor, "Ayade is working". Working on what? Where is he working? How is he working? What is he working on? When is he working? When we do PR, we should be mindful of our choice of words. 

Please, dualization of TINAPA-Odukpani junction is a road construction and it's better explain with "men at work" everywhere to inform commuters and road users. The contract signpost should bear whatever information about the awardees of the contract and others. What happens if a visitor comes in unaware about the construction work and the only thing to give him direction is, "Ayade is working" and he accidentally comes across an earth moving machine, how do we explain that? 

The way PR is done in this state leaves very little to be desired. I beacon on the image maker to try and get the basis right. Gov. Ayade's work should speak for him and not this semantic ambiguity we see everyday. Very soon we will start seeing things like, "Ayade the garment factory or superhighway and the rest".
Take it as hate speech and that is your business but simply do the needful Mr. PR to the Governor.

Daniel Agbor
Is a Social Commentator 

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