The People’s Democratic Party, the Osun state’s main opposition party, has increased its level of deploying attacks campaign strategy while abandoning engaging the electorate on issues and needs that are important. This was revealed in the non-governmental organisation’s most recent report on campaign monitoring in the state.
The sixth report of the monitoring states that political parties and their supporters deployed more attacks than acclaims and defenses, though defensive messages outweighed the acclaimed ones. Specifically, the ruling party aligned with defenses and acclaims than attacks as its strategic communication approaches while the main opposition party largely deployed attacks as a strategy.
“As observed in the previous weeks monitored, attacking the personality of opponents and their political parties remains a strategy deployed by the political parties, though the ruling party has drastically reduced its attack strategy if we consider what was observed in week one of the monitoring. The ruling party remains the only political party that has significantly engaged the public across the campaign issues in the last six weeks. The party has discussed what he has done in the areas of health, social programmes and workers’ salary, welfare and employment more than telling the public what it intended to do differently if elected for another four years. The main opposition party, on the other hand, has relatively engaged the public by discussing issues and needs within agriculture, security and economy more than other expectations of the public.
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Also, during the week, opposition parties condemned some policies of the ruling party (e.g., salaries and pensions, roads, education) while the ruling party issued rejoinders to defend itself. This, we believe, is a feature of democratic political contests in as much as the condemnations and the defenses are evidence-based and backed. Having a discussion on local government autonomy by the main opposition party shows that its campaign is being directed to the grassroots. Despite this, issues that cannot influence the potential voters’ decision on July 16, 2022 also appeared in the communication infrastructure of the political parties this week.”
The report further notes that as campaigns get hotter and the election day draws nearer, political thuggery or violence and vote buying keep appearing in discussions of political parties and their supporters. We therefore urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to partner with security agents in the state with a view to ensuring lives and property of voters are protected on the election day.
“We also urge the INEC to convene meetings of political stakeholders in the state where issues relating to vote buying and violence alongside the legal penalties for offenders will be discussed. In addition, as election draws nearer, we specifically suggest that the two main political parties convene meetings among their media teams and handlers, and enlighten them on the need for decorum and strategic issue-based campaigns across their online platforms. This, we believe, will reduce the toxic political atmosphere being observed in Osun online-sphere,” the report notes.
Download the full report here