by Michael Osakwe
The average being on earth has had their lives transformed by the advent of social networks. In fact,new versions of addictions have emerged – Facebook, Twitter and You Tube ‘junkies’. This phenomenon has had some impact on every sphere of life and lifestyle choice.
In the western world, these platforms are increasingly being used as means of very active campaigns. Irrespective of the platform, the candidates focus on the message they intend to drive down the minds of the people leading to the elections.
The message (as is natural of many campaigns) is intended to enable them garner supporters and challenge the opposition to offer something better; that is, if they have anything to offer.
And of course, well before the elections, the identity and intentions of the candidates are already known; whether the incumbent will be running or not, who his fiercest opponent might be, where his strengths and those of his opposition lie, etc. Hence every interested ‘athlete’ begins the preparation for the race towards the corridors of power, remotely aware of what to expect.
Come back to our very own Nigeria, and that’s usually not the case. Here, posters appear overnight bearing the image of the contestant and having the contestant deny his hand in the publicity, but not denouncing the message.
We see them in a motionless pose, smiling with a wave, announcing their inescapable return via these posters and soon afterwards, claiming to own the message yet not the messenger – the poster. Intelligent Nigerians realize that irrespective of the way a campaign is launched, the message is what you have to get out because while people may forget the medium, they never forget the message.
For me, it’s becoming obvious that our politicians need to change their teams as they are in the business of coughing out the same unappealing slogans, term after term. Slogans like ‘no vacancy in Aso rock’, ‘one good term deserves another’ is not only unproductive but also an insult on the electorate who should hire and fire or judge whether one has truly had a good term or not.
2015 presidential elections promises to be election unusual, as a couple of factors would have likely changed.
First, Lord Lugard’s experiment would have come to an end and we would definitely have those who wish to use the results for their selfish reasons. Nigerians and particularly people from the South have realized that a sentimental pick for the job of the president has not paid off, hence eliciting a crave for change. A good chunk of political parties have been deregistered hence debugging the system of political viruses and noisemakers. Not forgetting the clamor from both within and outside the country for electronic voting, which promises to be the clog in the wheel for those who have built their electoral motorcade on plastic boxes and paper.
If there are any lessons to be learnt from 2011 – and I think there are – it is the fact that the probability of fooling Nigerians is at its lowest and that in today’s politics, the flag bearer has become more important than the flag itself, as the flag bearer will be juxtaposed with his works and what he did with the opportunity he had.
While it is almost impossible to predict 2015, it sure will be very interesting to watch the events leading up to it. 2015, let’s go there.