1.1 Background of the Study
All politics is about marketing. Political campaign, which is an organized effort to secure nomination and election candidates for government offices can be better carried out by political parties if marketing strategies are employed. In Nigeria, the most important political campaigns are those of president and Vice-president. Even within the state politics, Political campaign for the nomination and election of candidates for the offices of governor and deputy governor is also important.
In each political party, such nominations are made at a national and state conventions preceding the presidential and gubernatorial elections. After a candidate clinches a ticket to run for either the presidency or governorship under a particular political platform (party), both the candidate and his political party have to secure the approval of their candidacy from the electorate
Against this background, politicians political parties and candidates employ various communication platforms and strategies, which are aimed at marketing their personalities or selling themselves to the electorate. At the wake of the political transition programme in 1999 and to date, politicians used and are still using communication platforms to solicit for support (Achor, 2002:44). Most of those persuasive communication blueprints and action plans which they employ are designed to project or market a desirable image of a subject/government. They are also aimed at mobilizing support for their party, office and most importantly instilling confidence among the citizenry.
Given the new marketing concept and the concept of the new economy, political marketing communication becomes part of the arrow of strategies for selling politicians and marketing politics. According to Prince Achor (2002:1) the new strategy now involves communicating need satisfying attributes of politicians and their parties through advertising, pubic relations publicity and other forms of persuasive communication all these ace part and parcel of political marketing communication strategies.
“Political communications strategies are defined as those communication platforms, or arrow heads that are deliberately planned and continuously used by the elected leaders, candidates and political parties to win support secure the approval of voters on policies and government/party programmes.” (Ibid). The political communication strategies or integrated political marketing communications include public relations. Publicity,
political advertising, events marketing, rallies information Education communication strategies (IEC) etc.
It is evident that Nigerian politicians use all these political communications strategies but in this study we are no concerned with all of them rather we are concerned with the information, education and communication (IEC) strategies.
In political marketing, social marketing, publicity and public enlightenment campaign, the IEC strategy should be understood as three salient parts making a whole. And according to Nwosu (2001:233) each of these three parts must be properly or systematically planned before the three are integrated to achieve any publicity public enlightening and other campaign objectives. The JEC strategy sees information dissemination to the targets audience or market (voters) as very important. But, it teaches also that we must go beyond information or awareness creation to the education stage which involves more rigorous explanation, instruction (e.g. how to get the best performance from a political leader) directions and other cognitive guides that will help the target audience to have better understanding of a politician or deeper knowledge about a politician or person being publicized promoted or marketed.
Communication stage being the last stage in IEC strategy reminds us and stresses that information transmission and education are not equal to communication. Communication only takes place when we get feedback’s or responses From the target audience members of the market (voters). The elements of IEC strategy include news articles, features, speeches, reports, banners, backgrounders etc.
Hence, how do Nigerian politicians use these IEC strategies in marketing themselves, obtaining their election goals and securing the approval of voters and the citizenry These questions necessitate the research topic, “An evaluative study of the use of information education and communication (lEG) strategies employed by selected Nigerian politicians”. The five erstwhile southeast governors are selected among other governors as the politicians for our study.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Communication, be it on politics or any other issues, is of little relevance without first making information a reference point. That is to say, a communication must have some information, the facts, knowledge, signs, signal etc, to convey or communicate to another person.
Given the kind and attitude of Nigerian politicians especially the south eastern ones, can we confidently say that some of the IEC strategies they use in selling or promoting themselves are ethical and sound? The use of persuasive political communication by politicians is to disseminate appropriate information capable of creating awareness, aimed at either changing or strengthening opinions, attitudes, beliefs or values of the recipient to a more positive outcome. Information education communication forms must be statistically tested and prove so as to produce the desired effect or else it would be rightly understood as mere empty rhetoric or negative propaganda (Achor, 2002).
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