Female Politicians Acquire New Media Engagement Skills in Osogbo

Female Politicians Acquire New Media Engagement Skills in Osogbo

To enhance their capacity and boost media engagement for visibility, some female politicians drawn from the south west geo-political zone and Kwara state participating in a workshop in Osogbo have been taken through strategies on how best to access the media to their advantage in the 2023 elections. Pooled together by the International Press Centre

To enhance their capacity and boost media engagement for visibility, some female politicians drawn from the south west geo-political zone and Kwara state participating in a workshop in Osogbo have been taken through strategies on how best to access the media to their advantage in the 2023 elections.

Pooled together by the International Press Centre (IPC), with funding support from the European Union, the two-day capacity building programme for female candidates on strategic communication and media use aims to equip women politicians with skills for seamless interactions with media.

The workshop is being facilitated by seasoned professionals as resource persons, including the chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and the General Manager of Inspiration FM, Ms Jadesola Ajibola, and Mr. Monday Ashiboghu, the Managing Editor of Quick News and a public relations expert.

Participants and Resource persons

Opening the programme, the Executive Director of the International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade represented by Ms Olutoyin Ayoade noted that the capacity-building programme was initiated by IPC to advance women’s skills in media interactions as participants would be able enhance their capacity in communication and learn key methods on they can synergise with media practitioners during their electoral activities.

“It is in the above context that the programme for this workshop has been designed to support women in politics, to develop advanced knowledge and skills for strategic communication and media use including understanding and engaging with the conventional and online/social media during electoral and political processes, especially campaigns.

“The workshop will also be looking at key methodologies concentrating on how women candidates can team up with the media in the increased reporting of their campaigns and electoral activities, moreover, the training will facilitate critical discussion points between the candidates and journalists, sharing views, expectations, and experience from the perspectives of women in politics to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality in elections and gender-sensitive reporting”, Mr Arogundade said.

Ms Jadesola Ajibola

Enlightening the participants on how to cultivate and build a strong relationship with the media, Ms Jadesola Ajibola, noted that media engagement might be a tasking for female politicians, and that is why women politicians are avoiding them, because of fear of misrepresentation and financial constraints which limit their visibility in the public. Despite the challenges, she urged the women politicians to amplify themselves for awareness to make the media collaborate with them for the extension of their political reach.

“Cultivating a positive relationship with the media can be a big challenge, as some of us have said but it’s very easy, if we meet the right person. Today, many female politicians don’t like the media due to misrepresentation of their thoughts and ideas. Many female politicians prefer to use press releases rather than granting interviews and appearing on live programs. The media is not free and cheap no matter what you plan to do.

“You cannot get anything free from any media organization if you don’t contribute your quota. When you don’t talk, nobody will speak on your behalf. You have to become useful to the media organization, by providing them with news content”, she said.

Ms. Ajibola further advised female politicians to be courteous with journalists and media practitioners. She indicated to them that beyond financial gratification, they should encourage the media to have an interest in their visibility. She charged the female politicians to augment themselves by developing confidence and high self-esteem. She noted the uniqueness of every human being and how they maximise theirs to create platforms for themselves.

“I believe every one of you is unique and you have what makes you stand out among others. Now, it is time for you to start showcasing your specialty with confidence and boldness. Expand your knowledge and increase your know-how, which will help you to face the media and balance your engagement with them”, she concluded.

Speaking on how women politicians can leverage the social media to generate visibility from the public, Mr Monday Ashibogwu encouraged the participants to utilise different social media platforms to their advantage. He noted that the use of social media has a longer reach and can also make them familiar with how their oppositions operate.

He further added that with the expansion of social media, they can maximise the platforms to relate with both their immediate constituency and people in the diaspora. On the low cost of operating social media, Mr Ashiboghu explained to the participants that as long as they keep some of their private matters off social media, they can use social media without bearing any brunt of bad publicity.

“Social media has rapidly grown as a forum for political activism in its different forms in Nigeria. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have provided new ways to stimulate citizen engagement in political life. It is a tool, which is effective at reaching a global audience and therefore exerts tremendous influence.

“Social media has made things so simplified that there are new proposals for internet voting which could lead to more people participating in elections. “As social media becomes even more popular, its impact will on politics only increases over time. It will be interesting to observe how things play out and take full advantage of it”, Mr Ashiboghu said.

The workshop continues on Tuesday during which participants would engage in some practical application of what has been learnt. It is expected that every participant would be able to write press releases and know how to access the media both the traditional and social media to their advantage at the end of the workshop.

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