Nigeria Election 2015; Who are these foreign political campaign strategies?

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Not many people understand the roles of political campaign strategists especially in the Nigerian context. There are 'think tanks' who create and implement communication strategies for political parties to win elections. Usually the communication is conveyed through a theme which captures the essence of their respective manifestoes.

This thematic material in a nut shell is cascaded in press, radio, interviews, TV commercials, below the line materials, social media etc. In essence, this is what APC and PDP intend to achieve by hiring foreign strategies - Joe Trippi/Bell Pottinger and David Axelrod/ Mark Pursey.

Joe Trippi, who worked on the campaigns of such luminaries as Walter Mondale, Edward Kennedy and Howard Dean, is advising Jonathan. Alongside him is Bell Pottinger, the firm that helped Margaret Thatcher win three elections.

For the APC, David Axelrod, legendary campaign strategist for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, is working on strategy and messaging. Alongside his company is Britain's BTP Advisers, led by Mark Pursey, which played a robust role in Uhuru Kenyatta's nationalist election campaign in 2013.


It is quite amazing that party officials were sold on the fact that hiring these guys will help brush up their respective images and in effect connect them with the international communities. This assumption though absurd was orchestrated by top politicians as a magic wand to win the 2015 presidential election by any means possible.

A close watch at the British media has not helped the argument of those who hired the foreign strategists, regrettably the only thing reported from our clime is Ebola virus and Boko Haram and of course the paid political advertorials on CNN. Meanwhile these strategist have been paid up front in hard currencies to execute work that could be done by mere phone calls and events management.

Nigerians should not be taken for a ride. However, the shortcomings of the few privileged individuals in party hierarchy should not undermine the intelligence of our endowed professional community.

It is imperative to emphasis that the 2015 Presidential campaign will be glamorous and attractive only when indigenous campaign strategists are given the task to do the business. In retrospect, the 1993 Nigerian Presidential Debate MKO v Tofa (SDP vs NRC) is a classical example of what Nigerian strategists could do. That campaign  was the first election where Christians voted a Muslim /Muslim ticket as President and Vice President respectively, a feat yet to be equalled in Nigeria political history.

Presently, there is no added value in massaging the image of PDP's presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, rather he is perceived internationally as a confused man trying to contain insurgency. The Jonathan campaign currently shown on local and international media is the product of so-called foreign strategists - comparing Jonathan with Lee Yew, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Barrack Obama.

While APC on the other hand is perceived as a united opposition party with different ideologies which could make the emergence of a united presidential candidate dicey. From body language and media reports, it is most likely Buhari will again be the flag bearer, a situation that will decimate party loyalty and engender cross- carpeting. It is indeed laughable that millions of dollars are spent on campaigns that are deceptive, vague and void without believable messages that will uplift the hopes of our jobless youths.


The engagement of foreign strategists is a farce and shameful.


Charles Eze, 

Creative Consultant/Campaign Strategist.



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