Branding and The Nigerian Electoral Process

Branding, is today a household name all over the world including Nigeria. We’d be taking a straight look at the branding situation in Nigerian politics in recent times and how it’s affected our people or not.
Ever since the internet took the world by storm, things haven’t been the same for everyone from individuals, small and large-scale businesses, to world governing bodies, especially here in Nigeria. It’s become relatively easy for anyone to reach the world in just a click or two especially due to world domination by instruments of social media. I would go on and on but we’re really not concerned with the state of the world right now, I think it’d do us a lot more good to stick to the Nigerian situation.

In branding, content they say, is King and Perception still is key! Well, I don’t think anyone can argue with that at all especially given how brand strength nowadays is measured more by the amount of work put into advertising. Although it can also be argued that only a brand with worthy content can spend the right amount on advertising (even though we know there’s no right amount, “coca-cola has taught us that much” ), but whoever said that has obviously never seen/met/ heard about a certain Nigerian billionaire daughter disk-jockey.

Right before we digress into a whole different National issue and spend the whole new year tackling that fundamental problem, I think we should definitely deal with the branding issue consciously eating up the Nigerian political scene and spewing out a heap of socia media nonsense which has rubbished our political processes and left us with mostly Twitter and Instagram politicians with no real life relationships with the electorates. Honestly speaking, gone are the days in Nigeria when our presidential candidates actually went on tour a lot more than the Psquares and Wizkids in a bid to keep in touch with the roots. Even the West’s very own Lion of Bourdillion a relic from that past and one of Nigeria’s most partisan and grassroot politicians now prefers to deal with unneccessary party squabbles especially since teaming up with the much more wiser Northern Oligarchy which has nonetheless clipped his eagle wings and left him to answer to the likes of retired Union Leaders who’s made unimpressive strides in the Nigerian political scene. (The recent Sanwo/Ambode chronicles are a very good testament to the fact that even gods bleed).

Nigeria’s first impressive use of political branding was recorded in the 2011 YNAIJA/GEJ relationship, I wish we could go into details of that but if you do not even know that story then you shouldn’t be reading this blogpost at all, simply because you’re a baby and I’m your daddy. If my friend Oghenemaro Jefferey were here he’d call me a Baby Daddy, thank goodness he isn’t. That particular branding sojourn worked out so well for the former president that public opinion was almost 100% in his favour until he lost it suddenly. I bet you did not know that the same YNAIJA later known more popularly as Red Media during the 2015 general elections was the pilot that drove the GEJ brand into a very deep ditch, we thank God almighty that he was very smart enough to not have attempted to hold on to power out of desperation. The quiet South-South man respected himself, (I’m sure he saw the end coming and made the best of the worst possible outcome) and the world respects him for it till date.

Nigeria’s second and most impressive use of branding in any electoral process is the Red Media/PMB relationship regarding the 2015 election. Despite the fact that the whole campaign would have been hit by numerous lawsuits had Nigerian democracy been a lot stronger simply because of Intellectual Property theft by the PMB campaign organization. Their “Change” mantra which the whole campaign was based on was lifted directly from Barrack Obama’s 2008 campaign with little or no modification in strategy or implementation. Albeit that it was a stolen campaign basically, it was so massive that the whole world was on it’s feet and every country of the world wanted a piece of that pie and well whether they did or not is a question for another blog post, if the god of laziness does not cast another dizzy spell on me. Given the silence of Red Media concerning the forthcoming elections, I think we can safely assume that Africa’s foremost political branding outfit is not impressed with the performance of the PMB administration which she bet all her integrity and credibility on in 2015 although despite having gone on to work on more presidential elections since then, I think it is imperative to call out Mr Debola Williams and Erudite Chude Jideonwo, simply because “The Internet Never Forgets”.

The 2019 general elections are upon us like an enthusiastic strip artiste and a pole (I know you gerrit) and for the past couple of months there’s been a tough media battle between Atiku’s #GNWA and Buhari’s #NEXTLEVEL campaign efforts. Of course everyone knows that as far as the media is concerned, #GNWA is giving #NEXTLEVEL a very good thrashing especially due to PMB’s unimpressive performance over the years. Although it is important to point out that there are other impressive attempts at political branding directed towards the 2019 elections, but they wouldn’t be discussed here to avoid opening up a much larger discourse.

Dear Nigerian, do know today that the best politician is neither found on Instagram, Twitter nor Youtube but seen touching real lives and in the eyes and yearnings of the average electorate. The most popular politicians in Today’s Nigeria are most definitely seen riding the media wave and getting across to the world via their social media instruments but the truth is the politics is local and elections are determined by the grassroot. Look beyond the branding and see through your leaders, truly be a part of the process today, don’t just observe.

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About Bisi-Taiwo Chukwumerije

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1 thought on “Branding and The Nigerian Electoral Process

  1. From this article I understand that branding without grassroots politics isn’t good politicking… Politics is meant to touch lives.

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