THE OTHER SIDE OF APC AND AKPD PARTNERSHIP
Some months ago, the news media was a washed with a statement credited to the main opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC), hinting of its plan to engage the services of AKPD Message and Media, a public relations and public affairs consultancy firm based in Chicago, United States of America, to help the party boost its electoral fortunes in next year's round of elections in the country!
The announcement however caught the attention of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) which reacted immediately, accusing APC of introducing neo-colonialism in the country! However, from the tone of the statement issued by Chief Olisah Metuh, PDP National Publicity Secretary, it can be observed that, what irked the party most was the dropping of President Barrack Obama's name in the arrangement. In fact, some sections of the media reported that Obama's political success was made possible because he engaged the services of AKPD Message and Media Firm. So, looking at the bandwagon effect that may create in next year's round of elections, the ruling party decided to nip the move in the bud promptly, by explaining to Nigerians that, Obama's ascendency to power was simply made possible by the votes of Americans and never the services of AKPD Message and media Firm.
However, studying the unique political climate we have here in Nigeria, can the service of any non Nigerian based company yield the desired results to its employer? In fact, I have heard some persons say that, if you bring an American President to rule Nigeria like America, he would have problems with Nigerians. So, the question is why is it so? The answer is simple, because the needs of the Nigerian people are quite different from that of the Americans; the socio-political configuration in America is also different from that of Nigeria and finally, political institutions in America are stronger than individuals or groups, but here in Nigeria, we have strong individuals and groups instead of institutions! This was what President Obama whom the APC is dropping his name in the AKPD Message and Media arrangement explained in his Accra Speech in 2009. He said: 'Africa do not need strong men, but strong institution'. He still went further to say that, 'It is not about shouting democracy when you are pushed to the wall, but when you have the power, what do you with it?' (Sic). This reminds me of an allegation raised against the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) immediately after the conduct of the 2011 governorship election in Lagos State by the PDP governorship candidate, Dr. Ade Dosunmu. He alleged that, shops belonging to traders that voted for PDP during the election were locked up for some days without reason. Similar allegation came up recently when another opposition party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) accused the APC-controlled government in some states of compelling traders in the affected states to register with the party during its membership registration exercise!
Besides, any group dropping the name of Mr. Obama in next year's Presidential Election should first all compare and contrast the unique circumstances and opportunities President Obama was able to harness and channel them to his advantage.
It will be recalled that, the American people were willing to take unprecedented risk in the 2008 Presidential Election having seen and felt the effects of two wars, economic recession and depression leading to the global economic meltdown and a planet in peril among others! So, these were election issues Mr. Obama captured well and anchored his Presidential Campaigns on 'Change' and 'Hope'. So, when he promised Americans of the 'Hope we can see and the Change we can believe in', Americans were ready to give him a try despite his race! Mr. Obama did not stop there; he went further to integrate innovations and the new technologies in to his campaigns.
For example, apart from focusing and inspiring young Americans who had not being taking active part in politics to vote for him, he also raised funds for his campaigns through the internet. Americans were donating money to his campaign fund through the internet or online, so, he was never cash-strapped throughout the campaigns. He also took advantage of U-tube and other social media platforms for free advertising. According to David Axelrod, Obama's Chief Campaign Strategist, out of every five Americans that voted for Mr. Obama, one among them was on Mr. Obama's contact list. So, how and what happened during the election which Mr. Obama won is what I would reserve until the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) opens the gate for campaigns!
Nonetheless, most of the highlighted attributes are lacking in APC! For instance, APC is made of strange fellows who share nothing in common, but, are temporarily united because they chose to be suppressing and betraying their emotions simply because they erroneously believe that President Good Luck Ebele Jonathan is their common enemy, whereas the fine gentleman has no issue to grand with anybody, except for the fact that we elected him to transform Nigeria for us and take us from where previous administrations left us hither and thither! So, mere sentiments which APC is capitalizing on, falsely hoping it could dislodge President Jonathan next year does not hold water, because sheer sentiments don't grow party but clear cut ideologies! This is what helped the Narendra Modi led Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to defeat the Indian National Congress Party in the last Indian Election.
Finally, what the All Progressives Congress (APC) must understand is this; it is not all strategies that worked in America that can work here in Nigeria, because environment and cultures differs. Therefore, AKPD Message and Media firm cannot play a leading role right here in Nigeria as it would have done in America. If they doubt me, then let's watch and see!
Written By Edwin Ekene Uhara