PR in Nigerian Politics: Serious Business or pure comedy?

published on Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Whenever I think of the satirical use of public relations in Nigerian politics, I can't help but ponder on the thoughts that would have led to some of these tactics and what was hoped to have been achieved by putting them in place.

Why Nigerian public relations practitioners will even come up with some strategies amaze me. I know at this juncture some Nigerian PR professionals will stop me to say that Nigerian politicians also make use of international PR firms. 

Well, I won't dispute that seeing as, in the 2015 general elections, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) hired a U.S. Public Relations and lobby firm, Levick, for image management and All Progressives Congress (APC), also hired Burson-Marsteller, a London-based Public Relations and Public Affairs firm, to take care of their perception and reputation challenges.

It still doesn't change the fact that some of the strategies used were image tarnishing. Some of them targeted the competitors with the sole aim of destroying their reputations and careers while others were outright comical. Who remembers Goodluck Jonathan's gym video ad that trended on instagram and YouTube or the Jagaban video made to ridicule Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

But what shocks me the most is how quickly the politicians drop some of the tools used to help their reputations as soon as they get what they're looking for. Most of us will remember that a lot of politicians, in the days running up to the 2015 elections in Nigeria, were very active on social media and made the internet their home. A number of them even hired PR practitioners and digital marketers to help manage their reputations and build a lasting relationship with the electorate online. But if you go back to some of these social media pages now, most are dormant.

But, to be fair, there are still a few politicians that appreciate the use of social media and still up till now run their social media pages. The likes of Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila to name a few have remained constant on social media.

It's, even the more, amazing how Nigerian politicians have gone from glorifying the use of social media to some of them actually fighting for a law that will regulate its use. I wouldn't want to dabble into that debate so I think i'll just swiftly move on! Lol!

I guess the point of this post as a PR newbie is to find out from my fellow, experienced, PR practitioners, what the way forward is for political PR, if the politicians dump our ideas as soon as they get what they want.

How will PR be seen as a respectable profession if our ideas are use-and-dump measures? Why should our ideas be used only for First Aid or anti-crises policies? What can we do to promote a longer shelf-life for our ideas and to have a stable maintenance of the images of politicians, political parties and politics as a whole in Nigeria.

I know, it's my second post today, let's just say, political PR has really got me hooked! lol!

Merry Christmas once again you guys!