Knowledge, strategies, trends and practices in political marketing in South-West Nigeria (1999-2015)
Akinola, Olanrewaju Olugbenga
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Nigeria's current democratic dispensation which started in 1999 entered its sixteenth year with the general elections held between March 28 and April 11, 2015. This suggests that democracy is gradually finding its feet in the nation. Some scholars advocate that politics must become more responsive to citizens' needs and demands (voter-oriented) (Lees-Marshment, 2003:26; Scammell, 2014: 16), hence, the introduction of marketing principles and practices into politics. This study, among other objectives, set out to ascertain whether political party leaders, political candidates, campaign managers and consultants were aware of and practised the principle of political marketing. It also examined the various political marketing strategies the ruling and opposition political parties in South-Western Nigeria (within the study period of 1999 to 2015) employed in their efforts win votes and secure elective political offices, the measure of effectiveness of the political marketing strategies, and attempted to predict the direction and future of political marketing in Nigeria. The analysis of data collected through a combination of survey, interview and observation methods led to the conclusion that the ruling and opposition political parties and candidates in the South Western states, with the exception of Lagos state, are not aware of the true concept of political marketing. This explains why their behaviour and disposition to elections and the electorate has been product-oriented. At the presidential level however, the study concludes that the then ruling political party PDP and its candidate GEJ lost to APC and its candidate P MB because the opposition political party (APC )and the campaign organisation of P MB subscribed to, and deployed market-oriented strategies in their campaign for 2015 presidential election. On the direction and future of political marketing in Nigeria, the study submits that political marketing has started to evolve and that it will continue to develop, provided, electoral violence, rigging and other electoral fraud, use of money to induce voters and such other variables that are extraneous to political marketing are objectively and consciously eliminated. If the electoral umpire (INEC) sustains and build on the success of the 2015 general elections and the idea of 'One man, one vote' is sustained, democracy and elections in the country will in-turn become more voter-oriented.
- Humanities