Since the return to democracy in 1999, elections into democratically elected offices in Nigeria has been that of so much mixed media such as triumphs, rivalry, contentions, as well as system growth. However, one thing remains, democracy has come to stay. Successive government has emerged through elections even though some quarters agree that it has been free and fair while others believe it has been marred with so many irregularities.
Be that as it may, events planners and or managers in Nigeria cannot alienate itself from being a major influencer towards a successful conducting of general elections in Nigeria. Find below a few points on how Event managers can influence elections in Nigeria.
Create voter and Party-centric events
As events specialist, we’ve got factors working for us, such as creativity, experience, goodwill, technical know-how which can be expended without committing so much resources etc. With these, concerted efforts can be deployed into creating events that are specific to addressing, an identified aspect of the electoral process as related to the voter or political party. We can collaborate with a central electoral body such as INEC and or any other critical stakeholder to achieve a set goal. Such events must be seen to be neutral or be known to send messages that do not suggest partisanship or else very lofty aims will be defeated.
Be involved in voter education
One of the surest ways of getting voters to be aware of their rights and other useful information is through voter education. Apart from the knowledge of just going to their polling unit to cast their ballot, there are other essential information that voters should be armed with. For instance, being aware of the provisions of the law as regards how the elections should be conducted.
Event planners come in handy here by using the advantage of having huge followers either on social media and other offline social platforms to engage their audience on an identified area of voter education they consider suitable. The events manager involved must ensure that the information passed are correct and credible and have been verified thoroughly with relevant bodies.
As an event manager, you have sufficient influence on people to make them take a decision in favour of a particular candidate or political party. All your efforts may just become nought when you are found directing voters to a preferred party or candidate. Be neutral all the way throughout the season. What if they are your clients? You may ask. I will simply say think of when the elections are over. You are simply in business for everyone. You should be open enough to accommodate any political party ready to do business with you. But be neutral all the same. Encourage people to vote their conscience and vote wisely considering the parameters provided by the party or candidate.
Don’t sit on the fence
In conclusion, being neutral does not mean you should not be involved in the process you have encouraged people to partake in. Go and vote! and by that, you are fulfilling your civic responsibility and thereby also showing a good example to your followers who are looking up to you to follow.
Mfonabasi Udoh Barry
Mfonabasi Udoh Barry is a Public Relations professional, a communications and social media strategist. He works with DOXA DIGITAL Nigeria