By Tomi Adedeji
The election fever is here again and with the (s)election of various party candidates at different levels, the campaigns have gone into top gear anytime.
Let’s take a peep down memory lane into some of the best or most engaging political campaigns we’ve seen (or read about) in Nigeria since the 1950’s.
1. Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, SDP 1993
That year’s election is still regarded in many quarters as perhaps the freest and fairest election Nigeria has ever had. Chief Abiola campaigned on the slogan Hope ’93 and smarting from the Structural Adjustment Policy, SAP, of the Babangida regime that had sapped many Nigerians economically, Chief Abiola’s message rang a bell especially with that memorable jingle. The result was a resounding vote for the Social Democratic Party candidate.
2. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, PDP 2011
GEJ’s presidential campaign in 2011 was a big hit. Promising a breath of fresh air, he played the role of the underdog to a hilt especially with that famous line “I had no shoes”. His message resonated with the Nigerian masses as they lapped up to him. He gave many hope that ordinary people could rise to the top in Nigeria, he became the poster boy for the new Nigerian dream and despite some irregularities in the elections, he won. The rest as they say is history.
3. Peter Ayodele Fayose, 2014
Impeached in 2006 on charges of corruption, Governor Fayose was back in power in 2014, defeating the cerebral Kayode Fayemi in the process. Although his campaign didn’t have any clearly defined message, Fayose endeared himself to the electorates with a good mix of populist tokenism (or stomach infrastructure as he called it) and street smart. While his opponents hit it big on social media, Fayose ate pounded yam and drank palmwine with the ‘real’ voters and for all his troubles, he beat the incumbent in all the 16 local government areas of the state.
4. Babatunde Raji Fashola, ACN 2011
In 2010, BRF as he’s popularly known was contesting to be re-elected as governor of Lagos, Nigeria’s economic nerve center and on the basis of his performance in his first term, his candidature was quite popular with the electorates. However, the SAN with a sound mind gave nothing to chance as he went all out, campaigning on the platform of continuity…’BRF is working’ his posters screamed. The result was a landslide victory at the polls, leaving the People’s Democratic Party candidate far behind in a cloud of dust.
5. Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, AG 1959
Chief Awolowo’s Action Group was at the time regarded to have been the best organised political party in Nigeria with a clearly defined ideology and manifesto and he ran an equally efficient campaign in that year’s elections. Awo traversed the length and breadth of the nation in helicopters, reaching out to the commoners with a promise of improved welfare, free education and health as espoused by his political party. Although Awo’s party couldn’t secure enough votes beyond the western region to have enabled him become Nigeria’s first prime minister, his campaign was undoubtedly innovative and far ahead of its time. Some other time, some other clime perhaps history would have been different.
Do you know of any other great campaign(s) you want us to highlight? Send us message via firstname.lastname@example.org