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2015: Limits of propaganda and threat appeal

Published by Daily Times on Mon, 09 Feb 2015

Alexander IfeanyichukwuThe 2015 general elections will remain one of the most fiercely contested in Nigeria for a long time to come, furthermore they further elevated the use of propaganda, fear and threat appeal in the opposition partys desperation to snatch power at all cost.For any critical observer, a clear pattern has evolved in the way and manner the two leading political partiesPDP and APC have approached the campaigns. While the PDP with President Goodluck Jonathan as its standard bearer has emphasised more on its achievements in the last six to four years, the same cannot be said of the APC.The initial campaign of the APC which showcased the beautiful pictorials of the various development projects in the APC controlled states have suddenly given way to a campaign of castigating and denouncing any and everything the PDP at the centre may have achieved.This obvious deviation from its earlier approach can only signal a wrong approach by the APC campaign managers who succumbed to the quick reminder from the PDP, what they were showcasing as achievements by APC governors especially in Kano, Rivers and Kwara, were essentially accomplishments by these governors before their defection to the APC.Unfortunately, this painful truth seem to have caught the APC campaign machinery off guard, as the party has resorted to more aggressive use of the unpopular propaganda, fear and threat appeal.All that seem to emanate from the campaign office of the APC is informing Nigerians of schemes to truncate the election, imagined plan to elongate the tenure of the Presidency and most recently reminding Nigerians of certain phraseology, like unpatriotic elements, this is Nigerias season of anomie, and call on the electorate to kill PDP before it kills us, all as part of the sustained threat capable of causing panic.Our history is replete with delusions created by crowds at political rallies organised by political parties leading them to adjudge their candidates winners before the actual election is conducted. When such turns out differently, then violent reaction is easily encouraged. The post 2011 experience is still fresh in our memories.The moment a political party veers off from canvassing for votes based on the issues of the day and rather focuses attention on the wrongs of opponents without necessarily proffering better and realistic alternative, it descends to the unpalatable use of unconventional approach, usually propaganda embellished with the condemnable act of threat appeal.The adoption of the fear appeal which is clearly an attempt to arouse fear in both the electorate and opponents is targeted to divert behaviour through threats. This is condemnable at this stage of our democracy and the attacks on the campaign train of an incumbent president, is a wrong signal for our democracy.Often, those who adopt fear and threat appeal use them as a defensive mechanism but studies over time have revealed that the results are usually mixed.While this election, in the perception of the APC presents it the biggest opportunity to clinch power at the centre, adopting fear and threat as instrument of persuasion should not be encouraged in the present circumstance.It is getting clearer by the day that between the two gladiators in the presidential race, one is a much sober and amenable to democrat than the other that thinks use of force in whatever form is acceptable in as much as an end is achieved.But history has shown from generations that the fear and threat appeal always end in failure for those who have trusted it because they usually do not know when they overdo it.Reality is that with just days to the elections, Nigerians are getting a clearer picture of who the true democrats are and the pretenders are unleashing their fangs against the same people they seek to serve.Can the APC return to the issues that will benefit Nigerians, please
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