The relevance of the media to humanity is indescribable, this in my view can be appreciated by the levels of control and censorship on the media, and the capital intensive nature of operating media organisations. The advent of social media seems to be diluting the cost, control and censorship challenge of the media. However, this has its own dimensions of palaver, i.e gagging of users, who themselves are content creators, the fake news phenomenon and the cost of purchasing data and acquisition of devices enabled for social media activities.
Despite these challenges,the African Democratic Congress (ADC-DN), a leading political party in Nigeria, best described as the ‘Third Force’, at their inaugural Congress recognises the premium place of the conventional and digital media, especially the social media, and invited me to share my thoughts on this all important subject.
The African Democratic Congress (ADC-DN) is referred to as the third force because, it is pursuing the All Peoples Congress (APC) the ruling political party and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party that held the reigns of power for sixteen years after the military rule of IBB, Abacha and Abudsalami were chased out of power by the media, angry Nigerians and various Civil Society Groups following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential elections reportedly won by late Chief MKO Abiola.
Today, Nigeria is almost running adrift, with every ethnic nationality across the six geopolitical zones in the country protesting and demanding for restructuring, good governance, etc from the federal government due to challenges of insecurity, infrastructure, education, inflation, etc. This has spurred the ADC to take up the challenge of providing leadership and service to the most populous African nation across national, state and local government levels in the 36 states of the federation. Currently, the political party commands the highest number of legislators at the National Assembly, after the APC and the PDP. The ADC recognises that the task is enormous and has taken the initiative by doing things differently, which led to the creation of the African Democratic Congress – Diaspora Network (ADC-DN).
It is on record that the ADC is the first political party in Nigeria to formally recognise Nigerians in diaspora, by creating a Diaspora Engagement Office, aptly referred to as the ADC Diaspora Network (ADC-DN), the seventh (7th) geopolitical zone, with a National Deputy Chairman and Board of Trustees member in the person of Hon. Kenneth Gbandi, a German based politician, entrepreneur, peace advocate and social activist.
The ADC recognises the need for effective and efficient use of media, and has classed the media as an esteemed and primed public for their journey to Aso Rock – the presidency and becoming the numero uno political party in Nigeria.
Below are some of the tips I dropped for the party at the Congress on September 25, 2021 for their media relations in this age of social media.
The ADC/ADC-DN must be viewed and treated like a product or brand: This will ensure a consistent, favourable identity, image, perception and reputation for the party.
The focus should be – message – media – market: Always quality content/message for the media and public, defined and categorized for relevant segments of the public
Clear on propositions, ideology, service, etc, appropriate punchline, tonality and consistent, become gatekeepers, opinion moulders and shapers.
The place of truth and propaganda.
Robust response to opposition, and relevant important national discourses, political-economy, etc.
Audience: With a huge population of nearly three hundred million people, segmentation is primary, the critical audience, voting population and media consumption pattern should be under constant review.
Publicity, derived from projects, programmes and events.
Engage advocates, ambassadors, influencers, evangelists.
The fourth estate must be engaged roundly. The digital and social media will not be spared – research, analytics, reviews and evaluation are core. Content and Community Management are critical, email marketing and curators are treasures.
Crisis is almost synonymous with organisations, man and nature, and so must be in the steam.
By John Anonyai