Kenneth Adejumoh

For every given task, there is always a strategy to achieve the desired results. In planning, you may have more than one strategy which could be labelled as ‘Plan-A’ and ‘Plan-B’ or even more. Political campaigns are not left out of having strategies to get hold of the masses and thereafter convert their support to thumb printing on the ballot papers at the elections.

Electioneering period is usually a beehive of activities for politiciansand the public parliament. Also notable in times like this, the media space is busy with contents on various aspirants across print, broadcast, news blogs and social media platforms. It is not uncommon to see all sorts of fake news and misinformation flying in the air mostly by troll armies or from the camp of the troll armies. 

There are several strategies employed when campaigning for elections. However, the popular strategy we have become accustomed to is the ‘Campaign of Calumny’ (C-of-C). Thisis the common strategy deployed by our politicians both old and young alike. We find out most times that our politicians like to engage in slandering the opposition, pointing accusing fingers and digging out dirty linens to tarnish the image of the opposition. This includes the vandalization of the campaign materials (billboards and posters) of the opposition and halting one another’s campaign rallies or programs. 

This strategy breeds smear campaigns and coordinated attacks which are usually synonymous to election years, with the sole purpose of creating negative trends thereby spreading misinformation about an opponent. 

The online space has become flooded with fake news and intricate topics that are baseless. The above strategyjustifies the popular opinion that politics is a dirty game that most successful and private sector big wigs are not ready to be step in even when they have the technical know-how to salvage the leadership challenges of our nation. So, half the time, people of integrity shy away as they fear to have a stain on their goodwill.

With my experience in the private sector and having witnessed the campaign processes and the elections of officers intosome reputable professional associations, I must come terms that the winning strategy for election is as simple as selling tomatoes in the market place.

You might wonder what tomatoes has got to do with this strategy. Using the illustration of a salesman, he is saddled with the responsibility of identifying the market and audience for his products or services. 

Thereafter, he has a duty to adequately explain his products or services through presentations/demonstrations, brochures, videos and other materialsto induce prospect to buy. These he must do to win their patronage. With consistency and visibility, the prospects begin to talk about the products or service to others through word of mouth (WOM). The salesman has unknowingly recruited a team of brand ambassadors speaking for him. Suffice to say that he has successfully connected the products to the people emotionally, which will increase market share of voice (SOV).

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As a politician or an aspirant, the winning strategy is simply selling your credentials to the people whom you want to represent their interest. What this means is to highlight your background achievements, strength and values. Thereafter, you itemise your intentions in the form of a manifesto for the people if you are given the mandate. 

Understand that you may have a very compelling credential and then lack the ability to defend it like an applicant with an intimidating CV but unable to defend him/herself. A good credential should be accompanied with good leadership charisma to connect with the people. If politics is played with this winning strategy, then we will be on the road to having visionary and true leaders who will serve the masses as expected.

Modern day politics or campaigns should strive on the credentials of the candidates. This brings about a critical review of their background and what they have done in time past and intheir field of endeavours, either in the civil service or in the private sector. I don’t dispute that some of the aspirants have sold their credentials to the masses, but it is rarely followed with a detailed manifesto that will convince the people to adopt their candidacy.

One, cannot totally lay the blame on the politiciansbecause a larger proportion of the people are more interested in what they would get from each aspirant. No wonder the same people that would rally round Mr A when his campaign train visits are the same set of people that will sound the trumpet for Mr B on his rally day. 

For them, it’s about scooping what they can nowforgetting the far tomorrow – four years ahead. They speculate that whoever wins may not remember them perhaps more on personal benefits than clamour for provision of infrastructure for the benefits of the masses.

Needless to say that what we play ‘money politics’ in this part of the world. If we must tell the truth, no politician would spend hundreds of millions to win an election and assume the office to become accountablewith public funds. For him/her, an investing has been made during the campaigns to get votes and pay the way to the seat. As such recovery of capital expenditure and making profits becomes the order of the day leading to ‘corrupt practices’, a plague in our country.

I make a solemn call on my generation to begin to see things differently, take up new challenges and entreat this strategy that is honourable. We must be conscious not to continue the usage of a strategy that doesn’t encourage visionary leaders to stick out their neck for the common good of this nation.

Adejumoh writes from Lekki

@kenadejumoh on twitter