With few weeks to the Nigerian 2015 general elections, political activities are now in high tempo as political office seekers, especially those who have grabbed party tickets are criss-crossing the length and breadth of their domains, holding nocturnal meetings and perhaps putting machinations in place to warm themselves into the heart of the electorate. One
With few weeks to the Nigerian 2015 general elections, political activities are now in high tempo as political office seekers, especially those who have grabbed party tickets are criss-crossing the length and breadth of their domains, holding nocturnal meetings and perhaps putting machinations in place to warm themselves into the heart of the electorate.
One of the easily noticeable means they have devised to get public attention is through the erection of imposing bill boards and the pasting of political posters in every space on the streets of major cities in the country.
In Nigeria’s democracy, elective political offices are open to every eligible citizen through their political party platforms. But what is considered as paramount is the ability of the office seeker(s) to convince the electorate to vote them into power. The expectation of the electorate on the other hand is that after exercising their franchise and successfully electing their leaders into office, their basic needs would be provided. Some of these needs include good roads, portable water, affordable health care, schools etc.
As the 2015 political tempo picks up, politicians have taken to the streets, pasting posters and erecting bill boards with their images and blue prints for the electorate to see and digest. To them, these campaign materials are for large viewership especially by pedestrians. For instance, walking through some major streets in the country, one could see different sizes of posters and bill boards displayed at strategic locations especially road junctions where there is usually huge traffic. The idea is to attract large audience. These posters and bill boards, which are considered by political office seekers as strong and wining advertising strategy, normally contain captivating inscriptions meant to draw the sympathy and support of the electorate.
Such inscriptions usually include: ‘the eagle has landed, the man of the people, who the cap fits, the pace setter, the icon of transformation, etc”.
Yet, beyond the indiscriminate display of posters and bill boards by these anxious office seekers, the voters are expressing deeper concern especially about the experience with most politicians who usually abandon the electorate after being voted into office, leaving them to wallow in abject poverty and without the provision of the basic amenities which they promised.
Indeed, some citizens who spoke to NDR, went as far as describing as uncalled for, the way politicians are going about the display of the posters, stating that they should be regulated and censored by the appropriate bodies responsible for outdoor advertising.
A citizen, Anitha Ulem, 30, said “As you can see, election is near and politicians have started strategizing to get into positions they don’t even deserve by pasting posters and bill boards here and there. If you look at the resume of some of these politicians, you discover that most of them can not show any previous offices they have held and now they want to take the top shot elective positions. I can still remember what one of the candidates for the House of Representatives position did during the 2007 elections. On that fateful day, he brought bags of salt and rice to distribute to electorates at the polling centre and after he emerged most of us did not benefit anything from him and now he has come again to deceive us with his mouth watering offers that if voted into power for the second term, he would build schools and provide us with pipe borne water. My question is why did he not provide us with those amenities in his first term? He is only trying to deceive us again and we are now wise,” she said
Also, Aniefiok Okon, 45, said the political posters and bill boards are destroying the beauty of most cities. According to him, “pasting posters is not a good way of communicating to the electorate; most of these electorates do not know these aspirants, all they do is to post bill boards and flaunt their wealth in campaign. The best way is to go down to the grass root, meet with the people and tell them your vision and possibly ask them what their needs are so that by the time you get into office you could remember their plights,” he said.
Reacting to the issue however, a politician, Edet Etim said political posters and bill boards are key pre-campaign materials normally used to woo the electorate and create awareness about what candidates stand for. His words: “the major reason why most aspirants use this avenue to sell themselves to the electorate is because many were not known before and again they do this to create awareness on their ambition. You cannot sit at home and just get up one morning and authoritatively impose yourself on the public and be voted into office. That is not done anywhere, you need to consult your people and make yourself known to the electorates. That is why this strategy is employed during our elections,”
Those responsible for the production of the posters and bill boards are meanwhile smiling to the banks. With regards to the cost of printing political posters and bill boards, Ugochukwu Kelvin, a brand consultant and printer, disclosed that prices vary and depend on the number of copies a politician needs, adding that at least, the normal price for political campaign materials is around five hundred thousand naira (N500,000).
He said, “Political Posters and bill boards vary, depending on the size and number of copies. Like the recent contract I got from a campaign coordinator for an aspirant to the State House of Assembly, actually, I collected nine hundred thousand naira for the whole printing and the quality was excellent. Besides, sometimes we assess the financial muscle of the politicians before negotiating with their coordinators. For example, an aspirant who is very rich would be charged one million naira and above for the printing of campaign materials”. He said.