Nigerian Presidential election campaign researchers assess 2015 and 2019 campaign patterns ahead of the 2023 general election

Assessment by researchers ahead of 2023 general election [Image: courtesy]
Nigeria—On 18th February 2023, Nigeria will be heading to their next general election to elect the President, Vice President, House of Representatives, and Senate.

This has already activated poll surveyors and researchers who releasing relative opinions of what Nigerians are thinking about their next ballot vis a vis the previous.

Nigerian communication scholars and professionals, at home and in the diaspora, have continued to direct their searchlight on the nature of and trends in the uses of strategic communication to influence presidential election outcomes.

Although pervasive suspicion of voting fraud and rigging in the Nigerian election presents serious challenges in determining the true contributions of communication to electoral outcomes, researchers are doubling their efforts to using mixed methods research approaches that involve multiple communication platforms.

Among the recent research on the presidential election of the Fourth Republic are Dr. Sam –Loco Smith’s study, published as a book; Mr. Ayo Oluwatosin’s assessment of election advertising strategies and tactics; the ambitious study by the Association of Commutation Scholars and Professional of Nigeria.

Ayo Oluwatosin, formerly MD/CEO of the Rosdabel Group, laid the foundation and energized interest by scholars and professionals in his groundbreaking assessment of the strategies and tactics employed by the PDP and APC in the 2015 presidential election.

He found that while the PDP use documentaries, storytelling, and evident negative adverting, APC tended to use more regular 60-second spots and focused largely on social issues, people’s needs, and the changing motif.

Both parties tried to outdo the other in their use of propaganda and hyperbole.

In a follow-up that is more comprehensive and ambitious, Professor Rotimi Williams Olatunji, leading the ACSPN team that included Professors Nosa Owens-Ibie, the Vice-Chancellor of Caleb University, Imota Lagos,  and Victor Ayedun-Aluma of the University of Jos, examined various aspects of the 2015 election communication.

The aspects included; audience perceptions, news and adverting contents of newspapers, radio, and television as well as social media messages, and the use of outdoor hoardings in the 2015 presidential campaigns.

Dr. Shaibu Hussein, Sam Ejiwunmni, and Professor Abigail Ndisika all from Mass Communication are spearheading the investigation in the use of print adverting, thanks to the support from the advertising practitioners council of Nigeria.