When Koku Anyidoho goofs
By Emmanuel Akli
It was very nice soccer artistry ever sold to enthusiastic Ghanaian soccer fans in recent times. Indeed, it was a delightful match to watch, especially, when the back to batan left full back Harrison Afful, and Samuel Inkoom, who manned the right full back position, played their perfect roles as auxiliary wingers linking the midfield and attack to provide teasing crosses, most of which caught their opponents napping.
John Boye, the revelation at the CAN 2012 tournament, and debutant, Jerry Akaminko, also did well to cover up for Afful and Inkoom anytime they moved up to support the attack. With telepathic understanding between Sulley Muntari and Derek Boateng – the two midfielders with massive support from attacking midfielders Emmanuel Agyeman Badu and Kwadwo Asamoah – the Black Stars were delight to watch as they passed round the global leather on the green turf with perfection.
Beautiful footwork from Jordan Ayew, who kept shifting position at the flanks, dazed the defenders of the Crocodiles. It, therefore, came as no surprise, when the goals started flowing after Sulley had opened the floodgates. But just when Ghanaians were enjoying the game, the unexpected happened, the floodlights failed to come on to provide illumination. Indeed, it was a nightmarish experience, but thank God, the lights came on after ninety minutes of delay, which enabled Ghana to escape punishment.
Enter Koku Anyidoho, Director of Communications at the Castle, seat of the government. Whilst Ghanaians were anxiously waiting for the lights to come on, the presidential spokesman rather exacerbated the already poisoned situation, by calling Joy FM to announce that President Mills was unhappy with the development going on in Kumasi, and that heads had already started rolling, starting with the Ashanti Regional Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
At the time this statement was made on air, the ECG had already come out to state that the problem was not coming from their end, as their two feeds to the stadium were working, and that the problems had to do with the generator that powers the floodlights at the stadium. With this explanation, it beats one’s imagination as to why Mr. Anyidoho should come out with that statement.
Now, if the ECG Regional Director, upon hearing that he had been suspended, stopped the support he was giving to the local electricians to fix the problem, what would have been the fate of Ghana by now?
At the time Koku was ranting and raving on air, he knew that he had not spoken to the President, yet he conveyed the message as if it was coming from the President that the ECG boss had been suspended. Clearly, President Mills has the agenda to promote the political development of the youth, but some of those he has appointed are letting him down. I have always maintained that information management is a skilful area that must be handled by those who have the experience. I understand that Koku Anyidoho, even though a trained banker, also went to the School of Communication Studies at Legon to study communication skills.
But, you see, there is always a vast difference between paper qualification and practical work on the field. A lecturer in law may not necessarily be a good lawyer when it comes to court room arguments and research work to enrich his or her case. The same thing applies to journalists. The fact that one is good journalist does not mean that he can be a good Public Relations Officer as well. Koku Anyidoho may be good when it comes to oratory, but that does not translate into good information management.
The other day, I took on the talkative Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, when he went on air to announce that the police would arrest more people connected to the Woyome scandal. This was after Mr. Alfred Agbesi Woyome had been arrested in Rambo style whilst in traffic on his way to office. I thought that statement was childish, because it is only a fool who would sit down for the police to arrest him after hearing from the Deputy Minister that the police would arrest all those connected to the Woyome scandal. The unfortunate utterance was certainly a bad information management technique.
With regards to Koku’s issue, the President has come out to state that he did not instruct him to release that information. The Director of Communications himself has come out to confirm this. According to him (Koku), he was watching the match with some senior government officials when the decision was taken. The big question then is who does Koku speak for, senior government officials or the president?
Granted that it was President Mills who even ordered him to release that information, the timing was bad, and Koku should have politely drawn his (President) attention to that, because information management is his job. The President is a professor in law and not in Communication Studies, therefore, he might sometimes attempt to pass on certain information without knowing its implications when it gets into the public domain. I contend that anyone who has good skills in information management would never inform the public in the heat of a disaster, like what happened in Kumasi, that the one who should rectify the situation has rather been fired.
This is bad PR and an atrocious statement that ought not to have been uttered by the manager in charge of information at the seat of government. Koku has a lot of travel experience, and he would agree with me that no pilot worth his salt would announce to his passengers that the plane had developed a mechanical fault whilst airborne. At least, he or she would try to solve the problem, and would only inform the passengers when the situation gets out of control. To me, the Kumasi situation was not out of control, because the organisers of the match kept on telling the spectators not to leave the stadium, and that the situation was being fixed. Did Koku hear about this before going public?
In my candid opinion, if the ECG Regional Director should have been suspended at all, that message should have come from the sector minister, and in this case, Dr. Oteng Adjei, and not Koku Anyidoho. You see, one thing I have noticed is that some of the young ministers serving in the Atta Mills government are always in a haste to speak on radio without sometimes thinking about the far reaching effects their statement could have on the government or their political career.
Mr. Kofi Adams, despite all his problems with the NDC as a party, should have been drafted into the government by President Mills, because the man simply knows his job. Anytime radio stations call him to ask for Rawlings’ opinion on certain national issues, he would tell them that he had not spoken to his boss over the issue, and cannot, therefore, read his mind to know the kind of opinion he would have on the issue.
Truly, this is good information management, because, as a spokesman, you cannot speak on radio on behalf of your boss when you have not been instructed to do so.
If Koku had followed this simple logic, he would have avoided the embarrassment he has caused himself and the President. Apart from these shortcomings I have enumerated, the Director of Communications at the presidency must also control his temper and posture whenever he is called to answer questions on issues concerning his boss and the presidency. Some time in November last year, the same Koku Anyidoho made a certain statement on radio and attributed it to the President.
Reacting to the “All die be die” statement made by the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Koku alleged on Asempa FM that he had been ordered by President Mills tell the NPP not to dare and attempt to bring confusion into the country. “And the point the President is making through me is that, let them dare, let them dare, let them dare,” he said during the said radio interview. Did the “Let them dare, let them dare” words really come from the mouth of the President? I doubt, but since the President did not deny the claim at the time, as he has done in the Kumasi case, I give Koku the benefit of the doubt.
But, again, was it right for Koku to pass on those words to the public when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is projecting the man as ‘Asomdweehene’? Certainly, that was another blunder. I understand that there is a thin line between Koku the politician and Koku the spokesman, but that is where he must exhibit his skills to convince some of us that he is indeed, qualified to handle that position. When a boss is seen as a humble man, but the one who speaks for him is always belligerent in his approach to issues, it would not project the good image of the former.
Koku should learn useful lessons from Mr. Boakye Agyarko, Campaign Manager of Nana Akufo-Addo, who handles issues concerning his boss with finesse. He can also pick one or two tips from Kofi Adams, as I have already indicated. Another fine gentleman is the Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper. He always handles issues in a professional way, no matter the level of provocation.
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