PDP Versus APC: War of Adverts

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Jonathan and Buhari

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The supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress are engaged in an advert war in their bid to convince the electorate to vote for their candidates

By Fidelia Salami  |  Mar. 2, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE battle for the occupancy of the number one seat in Aso Rock come May 29, is not an easy one. The images of the main combatants – President Goodluck Jonathan, presidential candidates of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and General Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, have been bruised on the pages of the national dailies through advertorials. The advertorials are often sponsored by amorphous groups which have carried the fights from campaign rallies down to the pages of newspapers and the air waves.

A review of the advertorials shows that both sides of the campaign organisations have published advertorials that are downright caustic. There are some of the adverts that are equally entertaining, educative and informative. The advertisements from both campaign organisations also show that their research teams are actually up and doing working hard to outdo their opponents.

A flip through the pages of daily newspapers heralds some campaign advertorials that have angered some Nigerians and those that have equally put a smile on their faces. Although advertisements have been used to muckrake and dig up dirt on the past and present activities of the presidential candidates, the central message from the Jonathan campaign organisations is transformation while that of the Buhari campaign is change. It must be said that although the campaign organisations have strived to maintain decorum by stating facts, supporters of the presidential candidates have deviated by publishing offensive advertorials.

One of the vexatious advertorials from the Jonathan’s camp was sponsored by Governor Ayo Fayose. It was published on the front page of select national newspapers of Monday, January 19, captioned: “Nigerians Be Warned. Nigeria”. It reads” “… I have set before thee LIFE & DEATH. Therefore, choose Life that both thee and thy seed may live,’’ Deut. 30 vs 19,”  The advertorials made bold to remind Nigerians of previous state burials where Murtala Mohammed from North West died in Office, Sani Abacha from North West died in the Villa and Musa Yar’Adua from North West died in the Villa. Fayose noted that Muhammadu Buhari is also from North West and aged 72 years, with the implication that Buhari, was too old and sick to be president of the country. The Governor asserted that late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who former President Olusegun Obasanjo claimed was hale and hearty to lead this country, subsequently took ill and died, adding that time will vindicate him while calling on all Nigerians to vote en mass for the vibrant and energetic President Goodluck Jonathan to avoid a repeat of history.

Nigerians protested the tone of the advert with the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) faulting the claim by Fayose.

Another less vexatious advertorial from the Jonathan’s stable: reads: “Loud from the APC Camp! ‘ I was 25 years old when Buhari was head of state and now I’m 50 plus and he still wants to be President. I don’t understand that…. I don’t understand that at all. I call on all young people of Nigeria to take their future into their hands and ensure that they vote for a new generation of leaders”

To justify Jonathan’s transformation agenda, PDP sponsored this entertaining advertorial which states: “They say Goodluck is clueless. But under his administration, so many positive FIRST’S have been recorded. Here are a few: Nigeria is for the 1st time, the largest economy in Africa; For the 1st time in over 3 decades our railways are functional and carrying  thousands of passengers and freight per day; This is the 1st time any government has embarked on a wholesale remodeling of all our airports since they were built; This is the 1st time we have reduced our imported food cost astronomically from 1.1 trillion Naira in 2009 to 448 billion Naira in 2014; The 1st successful power sector privatization, transparent and hitch free. Many other regimes were afraid to take this bold step because of the cabals; Our electricity generation reached its all time peak of 4500 megawatts for the 1st time in 2012; For the 1st time 90% of farmers have access to fertilizers in one click using their mobile phones; 1st Cassava bread was launched and now available in shops; 1st made in Nigeria vehicles by a private company (Innoson vehicle manufacturing) in August 2014 due to Goodluck’s automotive policies; 1st ever federal government support for the entertainment industry (Nollywood) with a N300 billion intervention fund; 1st time since indigenization decree in the 70’s that government has used policies like the Nigerian content act to empower Nigerian businesses to participate actively in the oil and gas; 1st Almajari schools (now over 100 of them) in northern Nigeria for educationally disadvantaged children; This is the 1st time we have over 35 percent (the highest ever) of women appointed into government – 1st lady supreme court judge, first women cadets in our army, first female pilots, first female petroleum minister etc; 1st time the United Nations Conference for Trade & Development, UNCTAD, would for 2 consecutive years name Nigeria as the first destination for investment in Africa; 1st electoral reforms in Nigeria. For the 1st time Nigerians can actually say elections is about one man one vote – Goodluck made it possible for your vote to count.” This is a story of noiseless unassuming visionary leadership. Re-elect Goodluck Jonathan for a 2nd term.

PDP in an unconventional war advertorials also averred, “Don’t politicize Boko Haram…. It’s a global challenge!” The advertorial further quoted David Cameron, Prime Minister, Britain, in The Telegraph, October 3, 2014 as saying, ‘…if our grandfathers were fighting the cold war against communism: I’m afraid to say, this struggle, against Islamist terrorism, this is the struggle of our generation.” There is also another one that states: “Do not allow this DICTATOR take us back to the era of doom and brutality, stating reasons why IBB unseated Buhari.”

From Jonathan’s stable also came: “The Generals versus Democracy! Nigerians Beware…. Coup Plotters are Talking Coup Again. When Coup Plotters talk about Coup, Nigerians should resist them. BUHARI talked about coup on Monday, February 12. OBASANJO, his boss, also spoke about a coup from Kenya on Tuesday. Mr. Failed-Third-Term-Bid (OBASANJO) has been threatening that President Jonathan should not return. We ask: Is OBASANJO God? We would have dismissed the utterances of these two army generals, but we recall that they are tested coup makers. Obasanjo was a key player in the 1975 that overthrew General Yakubu Gowon and General Buhari overthrew President Shehu Shagari in 1983!”

In a reprisal attack, Nasir El-Rufai, APC governorship candidate for Kaduna State published an inciting advertorial on Jonathan’s government which states: “This is NIGERIA today. Unemployment, 16 killed at NIS stampede while trying to find work; Security, over 31,000 Nigerians killed since 2011 due to insecurity across the country (Council on Foreign Relations); Chibok Girls, 219 girls still remain missing over 313 days after being abducted; Pension Scam, N24b stolen from Police Pension Board by corrupt officials (EFCC); Electricity, only 3,000 MW produced in December 2014, Nigeria averaged 4,500 MW in 2009 (Transmission Company Nigeria); Pardons, presidential pardons for individuals convicted of mass corruption; Fuel Subsidy, over $6.8b stolen from public funds in fuel subsidy scam (Parliament Report). ”

Also, another APC advertorial dared PDP by painting a graphic picture of a bleeding PDP that has destroyed Nigeria’s international reputation with the advertorial which states: “World’s Verdict on Jonathan: ‘Nigeria under Jonathan, squandered oil wealth, and breeds corruption.’- Senator Hillary Clinton; ‘Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affecting all levels of government under President Jonathan.’- US State Department; ‘Jonathan’s government incompetent, callous and very corrupt,’- The Economist; ‘We shouldn’t have waited for a practically non-existing government to give us the go ahead before mounting a humanitarian effort to rescue those girls.’- Senator John McCain; ‘Jonathan’s record on corruption is a disgrace.’- The Guardian UK; ‘Mr. Jonathan, who leads a corrupt government that has little credibility.’-New York Times.”

Also, another mighty blow came from the APC advertorials which states: “On Election Day, do your duty to Nigeria. VOTE OUT the Commander-in-Chief who did not know he needed to meet the parents of the kidnapped girls of Chibok until he was told by a 17-year-old Pakistani girl. Nigeria deserves better than Goodluck.”

There was also a humorous APC advert which showcased the difference between them and PDP. It reads: “EXPOSED!!! The Actors of June 12, annulment are behind February 14 annulment. The objective of the cabal is so-called Interim Government. They are bent on not having elections as shifted to March 28 and April11. They pretend that there were security concerns though INEC was ready to conduct elections. Their next step is to stimulate violence all over the country in order justify March 28 annulment. Dear Nigerians, in the mighty name of Jesus, they will not succeed. All our Christian brothers and sisters who love Jesus, should say ‘Amen’. We invite all lovers of democracy, all lovers of freedom to denounce the action of the annulment cabal. We call on all patriotic Nigerians to avoid violence not to fall into their trap. Nigerians want elections, PDP does not want elections and Jonathan wants to remain in power permanently. Nigerians must resist this annulment cabal.”

The provocative and entertaining advertorials from the two campaigns are endless as the battle for the soul of Nigeria rages. Nigerians must surely get more doses of the advertorials with the postponement of the general elections to March 28 and April 11.

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