AAs the 2023 general election approaches and the political tension in the country leaves electorates and politicians in an anticipated frame of mind, Stakeholders in Communications has warned politicians about the danger of using offensive language and attacks on public figures. public in the course of a campaign.

Stakeholders, who expressed their displeasure over the attacks and assassinations of high-profile politicians by political thugs, urged all contestants in the upcoming elections to focus on critical issues affecting Nigeria and how they would address them if elected to office. .

Sowore vs Obi, who is better?

Speaking on Saturday, during a webinar anchored on the topic: “Assessing the 2023 Presidential Election Campaigns”, Comrade Ina Okopi-Aqu, National Secretary of the African Action Congress (AAC) claimed that the Labor Party’s presidential candidate ( LP), Peter Obi, is not the alternative that Nigeria needs.

TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports that Comrade Okopi-Aqu stated that Obi was no different from the old political stock, hailing from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), adding that African Action Congress (AAC) presidential candidate Comrade Omoyele Sowore, it’s a better choice.

In his words: “The alternative we are looking for in Nigeria, if it is the PDP or the Labor Party, then we don’t have an alternative yet. Nigeria needs a different alternative to the PDP, the Labor Party and the All Progressives Congress (APC). So, we want Nigerians to reconsider what the alternative is,” said the AAC National Secretary.

However, Diran Onifade, Head of the Obi-Datti Media Office, who was present at the event held virtually via Zoom, responded to the AAC Scribe, emphasizing that the Labor Party (LP) presidential candidate appeals to Nigerians. in terms of expectation.

Onifade argued that the Labor Party is a special purpose vehicle for the kind of leadership Nigerians have been yearning for, adding that the ideas of Mr. Peter Obi and his record of service resonate with the people of Nigeria.

He said: “Nigerians have become the fabric of the Labor Party because the ideas of our presidential candidate and his service records resonate with Nigerians. At first, he didn’t look like that. The 2023 presidential election looked like another contest between the two big parties. That was the kind of mindset with which we entered the election.

“We did not take into consideration the fact that right there, among the population, something was brewing that the politicians were not prepared for. They knew of the third force. As the electoral process began, the real third force emerged from the streets of Nigeria. That’s the wave we’re riding.”

Record of campaign communication to address central issues

The Chairman and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, for his part, noted that the communication aspect of political party campaigns has registered an “absolute zero” in terms of addressing the central themes. affairs.

According to Sirajo, this is due to the fact that political parties and campaign managers do not give communication the importance that is due to what they do.

He opined that this happens because political parties and electoral candidates do not designate professionals as spokespersons or communicators because they mistakenly believe that communication is everyone’s business.

Sirajo noted that communication is a very serious matter that requires one to get it right by being able to use it properly to engage people, especially during the political season when those seeking elective office are constantly approaching.

“The component of the campaigns of practically all the political parties has been, in my opinion, absolutely nil. This is because the political parties and their campaign managers believe that it is not worth paying attention to communication as it should. That is why it is seen that political parties name who they like as their spokesperson, believing that communication is everyone’s business”, he stated.

Presidential candidates travel to Chatham House

The NIPR chairman said that campaign spokesmen, instead of engaging Nigerians in robust discussions about what their directors intend to do when elected, have been busy attacking the personalities of perceived political opponents.

He criticized the idea of ​​presidential candidates going to Chatham House, London, to discuss their political plans if they are elected, questioning whether their validation should come from Britain or the Nigerian electorate.

Speaking further, Sirajo advised electoral candidates to address the issue of how they communicate with people.

The workshop, which was presented by a team of communications, academics and media professionals led by Ambassador Aminu Wisdom and Professor Charles Okigbo, was held on the platform of Prime Business Africa, a news organization that focuses on coverage of socio-economic issues in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

The Jackson Center for Innovative Journalism and Media Development (JCIJMD), TheNewsGuru and the New Nigeria Network also supported the project.

Nigeria has the potential to be a great economy

Aminu, in his opening remarks, said that the session was to provide a better understanding of what political parties are doing in their use of communication for the upcoming elections.

He noted that expert indicators have shown that Nigeria has the potential to be a great economy if resources are properly deployed and managed by competent leadership.

Aminu stressed that the 2023 elections present a unique opportunity for the Nigerian people to make the right decisions about stewards of the country’s resources to realize that potential.

Election campaigns 2023: how pundits brainstormed slander and bashing between politicians

Drawing a nexus between free and fair elections and communications around political campaigns and the electoral process, the popular diplomat said: “Free and fair elections are the preface to strategic communication election campaigns. We are here today to gain a better understanding of what our political parties are doing in their use of communication for the upcoming elections.”

The show also featured representatives of political parties and candidates hinting at how they have fared with the pattern of communication strategies in ongoing campaigns.

Some communication scholars who attended the colloquium identified shortcomings in the communication pattern adopted by various political parties and candidates and how much impact the delivery of their messages has on Nigerians.

They include Prof. Rotimi Olatunji, Department of Public Relations and Advertising, Lagos State University; Prof. Nuhu Gapsiso, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri; and Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, Nasarawa State University, Keffi.

In response, President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant Garba Shehu, who also participated in the colloquium, urged the forum of communication professionals to educate those who work for politicians in the field of communications on how to effectively market the political parties and candidates, especially in this era. of online media.