25 August 2019 0 Comments

Public event’s protocols:a case study of Festus Kenyamo

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals


Festus Kenyamo and public protocols, Festus Kenyamo and photographsThere are events, meetings and there are high level meetings. Events are categorised by the position of the people who would attend. In protocols and other diplomatic issues, meetings to be attended by heads of state or high ranking diplomatic, government officials are not just ordinary meeting. Such meetings are classified as high level meetings. It is not always free for all though some other relatively unknown delegates may attend based on purpose.

There are protocols in? high level meetings: photographs, sitting arrangement etc. Not many of these high profile individuals attend such meetings with over bloated and ‘notice me’ security details as the case is with Nigeria. High profile individuals walk freely, in some instances, in the crowd with their security details not really visible though they are present.
Except for few Presidents, Ministers, Ambassadors, top military and Police brass of? countries often allow people to greet as well as shake hands with them. Some even allow photographs with them. This said, I do not see where our ‘overnight social media advisers’ within Nigeria social media space had come up with ‘photographs’ rule’ for popular figures.

For those who had been following the FBI’s recent release of names of 77 Nigerians involved in various cyber frauds which took place in the USA and where one of the accused had been touted to have taken photograph with Mr. Festus Kenyamo, an activist turned politician, who was recently appointed as minister of the federal republic. Given this scenario, ‘overnight social media experts’ within the Nigeria social media space had come out with advisory warnings relating to why important figures should not take photographs with just anybody who asks them for such in a public or private event.

In this piece, the writer shared three personal experiences. In 2014, I attended an international event in Qatar. The event had some high level individuals as well as industry actors, who possible may not be known to have global faces like yours truly. Most of the high level individuals have their security details with them but except you are a keen observer, you may not know. One, the number was minimal and they were not there for ‘notice me’ as we usually experience In Nigeria. Some Ministers and high level diplomats walked freely among the delegates. Ordinary person could walk up to them, greet and exchange call cards.

I also noticed majority allowed delegates to take photographs with them. I had encounter with Gracia Marcel, Nelson Mandela’s late wife. An extremely humble lady, very warm and approachable by my own experience. She shook hands warmly with me and other delegates who wanted to have a chat with her. First thing she did with everyone was to look at your name tag, called you by your name and asked what your organization focal point is? Then she talked with you like an old friend. After my chat with her, I requested a photograph with her using my big tablet.

It was from here her security detail, a firm and beautiful lady, moved closer to my ear and whispered ‘so sorry sir we do not allow pictures with her, many had used that opportunity mischievously.’ I quite understood and moved on quietly. I guess this rule applied to relatively unknown faces like mine.

I must say, I later learned it was because I was a novice. People usually have their ways. Some who do know such rules exist, would have ‘planted’ a good photographer with good camera lens in a few distance away before they approached people of her status. While shaking hands, the photographer would have done his/her job. I do believe this is fraudulent and lack of respect for established rule.

Two other experiences in 2015, I was at another international conferences in Paris, France and Casablanca Morocco. I had had the privilege of interacting with other high profile individuals including Diplomats, Ministers etc But with Ambassadors of Oman and Canada, the experience was a bit different. They were both warm and approachable. They talked with me and shared call cards. It was at the point of personal photographs with them that they made different requests. Oman Ambassador requested she would like to take the photographs with me as a group photo with other Country Ambassadors present. Many of whom had obliged my personal photographs individually. She invited other Ambassadors by herself to join in the group photographs.

With Canadian Ambassador, she just requested we used the event’s large banner as background so that when I sent her a soft copy she could remember where. I brought these experiences up here so we do not scare high profile people away from interacting with other people on the street.

With Mr. Festus Kenyamo, I really do not know what offence he had committed peradventure he had actually taken the said picture? with the accused. There should be no hard and fast rule here. With the level of technology today, a ‘photoshop copy’ of that kind of photograph could had surfaced on the internet in this situation. So overnight social media experts should safe their warnings for another day.

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