Perception builders bemoan propaganda, name-calling in campaigns

By Oghale Mafuru 

Brand managers and perception builders have expressed concern over the use propaganda and name-calling in the campaigns of the president aspirants of the three prominent political parties. According to them, effective political communication should revolve around issues rather than self-adulation, propaganda, defamation or name-calling.

This call was made against the backdrop of the fact that since the commencement of campaigns for the 2023 general elections, the camps of presidential candidates have been engaging in verbal attacks and counterproductive altercations with many respectable Nigerians calling on them to focus on the critical issues bedeviling the country.

Expressing his displeasure over the mindless display of the unacceptable behaviour by politicians which has been normalize in the political history of Nigeria, Inogbo Obinna, the Principal PR Executive of Workatainment, stated that the ideal and most effective way to galvanize the support of the electorate is through engagement where campaign manifestos is well articulated to address their concerns.

“It is disappointing because it is an exercise in insults. The communication mechanism for a presidential campaign should be about persuasion, and not insults. But then again one can’t give what one doesn’t have because the three campaign directors are not communication professionals but a lawyer, a politician and a political strategist.

“To my knowledge only one member out of the three campaign teams of the major political candidates is a communications professional and he is not even the lead of that particular team. The lead of that team is a politician so the communications professional may or may not have his expertise taken seriously. Marketing Communications practitioners need to spend this incoming 4 years building relationships at the federal level so we can be hired to advise the President of Nigeria in office and not just when he is seeking another term.

Commenting on how the current communication strategy of the three major contending political parties have heightened tension and fear in the polity, the PR expert stated that the brand perception of the country, internationally is dependent on the outcome of the coming elections.

“We’re already seeing the impact in some wealthy elites travelling out of the country for the election to return when it’s over because they’re scared of possible violence occurring. The language from the campaign directors has been about hurling insults at their respective principals and that has spilled over into society creating rival groups that Nigerian citizens are afraid may become violent come election day. So, at the moment, Brand Nigeria is looking unstable.

“A free and fair election will show the international community that Nigeria remains a democracy” he added.

On his part, Doyin Adewumi, Managing Director, Creativexone, stated that though there are some good communication materials on display, politicians have jettison the most fundamental aspect of the electoral process which is effective communication of campaign promises.

“I do not think that we have been able to exploit the great potentials of our communication prowess yet. Yeah there are flashes of brilliance here and there, but overall, it still leaves a lot to be desired especially in terms of advertising. In terms of communication to the electorate by the political parties, the real issues are mostly relegated to the background in favour of mundane and unimportant discourse. It’s not issues based. It’s largely rudimentary across all party lines.

According to him, the participation of marketing communication professionals is limited on this election as majority of the campaigns are still largely developed by unregistered practitioners.

He added that advertising spend this year is low compared to previous election circle due to several economic factors which include naira exchange rate, cash scarcity among other.


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