Throwback Thursday: Some political commercials of the old

By Abimbola Mohammed

Politics is a very old profession; its existence is as old as mankind. To participate in modern day politics or to become a politician one needs to be identified with a political party. Running for an office also requires seeking votes from citizens of the country, to get peoples’ votes, politicians also need to put in some work by promoting themselves through campaigns for people to know them and eventually vote for them if they are convinced that the candidate will deliver on his/her promises to them.

Politicians seek votes from citizens in so many ways but one of the major means of soliciting votes is by running strategic and creative campaign jingles or commercials for positioning.  Therefore, politicians work with creative agencies to get the right campaigns that will resonate with the target audience.

It is apparent that candidates and political parties devoted a fortune to media ad campaigns to inform, educate and gather support from the electorate.

This week, we take a look at some of the political jingles and commercials that are evergreen and still resonate with people even when the candidates in the campaigns are no-longer running for those offices.

HOPE 1993

One of the best campaigns in the history of politics in Nigeria was the campaign of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993 when Nigerians took a huge step towards entrenching democratic governance by voting en-masse for Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the SDP candidate.

Hope ‘93 was the theme of the Manifesto or Chief Mohood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, Presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, the  vice presidential candidate. The campaign was also built around this theme. The jingle was so popular that it became a popular household anthem and still brings back memories twenty-five years after.

The lyrics of the commercial goes:

Nawa for this life o, na so so palava

I tire for this problem, I tire for life o

Oginni? no work, no food, no house, no light, small water them they bring, na so so dirty dey full am

The small small money I dey get, na so so transport they chop am

School o na headache, hospital no drugs, I tire for life o

My brother, wetin you dey think o

My sister, help done come



Abiola na the love o, SDP na the party to solve our problems and better our life o,


Abiola, Abiola, Abiola Progress

Na him be the hope o, for better tomorrow

Gbabe /I Believe

Another official campaign anthem that is very nostalgic was the campaign for former governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi  Amobe in 2015. The campaign with the theme “Gbabe”, featured popular Nigerian artistes Yemi Alade, Olamide, Banky W, Flavour, Ice Prince, MI and Dammy Krane. The song became a hit dance track that some forgot it was actually a campaign song.

In the ‘I believe’ video, every social class and ethnic background was represented. They all chorused ‘I believe’ in unity, with a few people stating why they each believed in Lagos and the Ambode dream. Ambode, who was the character in focus, ended the campaign with ‘I believe together we can build the Lagos of our dreams’.

Gbabe was a much more catchy song with a danceable beat. Daily, between radio or television commercials the air is rented with:

‘Ambo oooo Ambo, Eko sese bere ni o Ambo, GBABE’ – which can be translated as ‘we are coming, we are comingo, Eko is just starting o we are coming, Get it!

The song was sung by almost everyone, whether supporters or not, young or old, elite or not, in most parts of Lagos.

Everybody loves Jimi Agbaje (2007)

The theme of this campaign was My Vision for Lagos, the commercial resonated with the people then that they even hummed to the tune which made the then gubernatorial aspirant gain a lot of popularity. The video campaign opened with an excited young man turning on a retro radio box seated on the floor. This was in a lonely open field that also had a man, fairly advanced in age, reading a newspaper. And the campaign song, “Everybody loves Jimmy Agbaje ” filled the air. It was an inescapably dance song. The ecstatic youth clad in a tie-and-dye stylish short sleeve top that is synonymous with the Yoruba could not help but dance to the song. In a jiffy, the radio box was up on his right shoulder as he spinned around in trendy dance steps.

Lagos like Koro (2007)

2007 saw a number of campaign jingles and one popular one was by Lagos gubernatorial aspirant Musiliu Obanikoro. The jingle put the aspirant in the faces of the masses with radio and television airplay.




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