By: Mohammad Lawal Maikudi, Mayen Etim and Zainab Tanimu: KATSINA, North-West, Nigeria – The gubernatorial campaigns, and political campaigns generally are meant to generate support of the electorate to cast their votes during elections. It is a process of sensitization and mass mobilization by candidates and/or political parties.
In Nigeria, there are four major political parties that field their candidates for the 2023 general elections. These parties include; the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP); All Progressives Congress, (APC); Labour Party, (LP); and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, (NNPP).
The front runners are – PDP with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidate; the APC with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; LP with Peter Obi; and the NNPP with Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso as presidential candidates.
The four political parties also have candidates for the governorship, senatorial, and Huse of Representatives in almost all the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT).
The political atmosphere in Nigeria today is agog with political activities with horizontal and vertical integration, candidates struggling to woo voters to their side using different forms of campaign strategies, appealing to their consciousness and sensibility.
Most available spaces are filled up with campaign posters of various candidates of different political parties. There are also lots of billboards advertising the candidature of different presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives, and State Houses of Assembly candidates, showcasing qualities of the candidates.
In some instances, the posters and billboards are selling the promises of dividends of democracy the candidates intend to deliver if voted into office.
Even though the campaigns seem to be the same, there are candidates who have exhibited some new innovations in generating massive support for their candidature and political parties.
One of such candidates is the Katsina state APC Gubernatorial Candidate, Dr Dikko Umar Radda, Gwagwaren Katsina.
It would be observed that Dr Dikko Radda is the first gubernatorial candidate in the country among the political parties to flag-off his campaign early.
Recall that Dr Radda launched his campaign on December 5, 2022 at Faskari in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State, which was attended by unprecedented mammoth crowd.
Flagging-off the campaign at that material time was to test run the campaign activities and see how best to accomplish them. The crowd generated during the flagg-off signified the acceptance of his candidature by the electorate.
Secondly, Dr Radda went on to consolidate the gains of the flagg-off by segmenting the statewide campaigns into three segments – Daura zone, Katsina Central zone; and Funtua zone. He began first with the Daura zone where he spent 12 days touring one Local Government Area (LGA) per day.
The campaign team had a break before it commenced the second segment which was the Katsina Central zone, where he spent 11 days covering 11 LGAs; while the third segment which is the Funtua zone with 11 LGAs is yet to commence.
Part of the new campaign innovations employed by Dr Dikko Radda is taking the campaign to the ward level. Before now, gubernatorial campaigns were only conducted at the local government levels which only gives opportunity to the candidate to know the challenges and desires of the electorate at the Council levels.
But the new strategy takes the candidate directly to the people for interaction with them in order to listen to their challenges and desires. This will help the candidate plan ahead and formulate policies that will address the challenges and meet the peoples’ desires.
This ward-to-ward campaign approach also enable the candidate to meet traditional rulers and leaders for better understanding and cooperation on ways to move the society forward, especially in the area of peace building, security, education, health and economic development of the state.
Another aspect of the Dr Dikko Radda’s approach is the incorporation of all stakeholders in the party, especially those who contested for the nomination of the Party’s flagbearer, therefore, eliminating political rancour and antagonisms within the party.
From the flagg-off of the campaign, through the tour so far, Dr Dikko Radda has generated more political interest and enthusiasm, hence his approach to gubernatorial campaign should be imbibed by all political office seekers in the land.