The tough job of Buhari campaign strategists

President Buhari. Photo/Twitter/ NGRPresident


Sir: I wonder how strategists will cope especially in a country where the sampling of opinion poll isn’t yet a novelty. Do you not see how men-of-the- year awards are dished out without the sampling of opinion polls from door to door, on phone and from plain folks from the streets?

One way of sampling political opinions is through the use of telephones especially fixed lines. Unfortunately, NITEL went under leaving Nigerians mainly with cell phones. Adults prefer fixed lines while youngsters have a preference for cell phones. The views of the aged most of whom are at home cannot be discounted by a strategist. But how can you reach them without fixed lines? Most young people are prissy and do not take governance issues as serious as elders. This is not just in Nigeria but even in advanced democracies.

What new thing will campaign strategists of a president tell Nigerians? Do presidents of Nigeria need campaign strategists or media strategists to brand their terms of office properly?

The dullness of our democracy is sickening. A campaign tactician is needed not only for election but long before election to sample views on how the leadership provided by those elected into offices impact on the lives of people and their hopes and anticipations from elected officials. The views sought must be acted upon for the good of country or else politicians may not be returned into offices.

What is a strategist going to tell the people of Benue, Taraba, Kogi, the Tiv settlements in Nasarawa, and Plateau states? This is critical since the Sisyphean attitude of politicians has encouraged massacres in these states by terrorists posing as herders? Absent are other scrapes all over the place. What can’t people see? We move to the South East with no proper official visits by a sitting president and tell the people what, with no cooperation with state governors to develop the region? How about a governor in the east and his preference for a son in-law for governmental office in a state not short of sharp, politically-suave people to run for that office.  JFK was sponsored to run for office of president by his father Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and not imposed on the Democratic Party. George Bush, the 43rd president of the United States was inspired to run for office of president after he heard a preacher’s message in church and the go-ahead given to him by his mother who was in same church and not otherwise.

Do they not know about the anti-nepotism law signed by President Richard Nixon to forestall another Kennedysque (Robert F. Kennedy – attorney general) appointment in government, the reason Bill Clinton however hard he wanted to nominate Hillary Clinton to governmental position could not go beyond appointing her as Head of the Task Force for the reformation of health care.

The president will go to Kenule Saro-Wiwa’s Ogoni land with oil locked underground and say what? What plans do strategist have to occupy ideologues in the South West?

The job of strategists in the region of a politician in office is an easy one in Nigeria. Nigerians love to romance appealing symbols. All it takes for problems to be solved assumedly is to have someone who is a member of their tribe and subscribes to same religious views to be in office. It doesn’t matter if their style of governance leaves them ill-fed, ill-housed and stimulates generational poverty. So strategists will do well in the region of their principal, for there is not much work to do there. The herd instinct will prevail.

I don’t envy strategists in a country as delicate as ours but they should move beyond telling us about integrity of their principal, which, in my view would be tawdry. They should tell us what he has achieved in the real sense, not invented achievements, a boondoggle.

Nigerians deserve more than mere speeches to make headlines. They have suffered enough and do not want the democracy for the few that we practise, a democracy without accountability, where office holders do not have communication strategy.  Since when did we see a media chat, weekly and monthly broadcasts in the face of terror? We are waiting and watching. Can we ever get it right? There doesn’t appear to be any alternative anywhere especially with the opposition not as organised as they ought to have been.
Simon Abah wrote from Abuja.

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Buhari Muhammadu
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