Like any other Nigerian I was appalled at INEC's failure to launch on Saturday's NASS elections. I watched Jega speak then I calmly called the hotel I had booked for a training and all the participants and made new plans. I wrung my hands and I took a deep breath. I listened to the feedback from facebook and twitter.
I didn't like what I heard and I know I'm being my usual I'm a communications somebody busy body but I cant help analyzing impact of communication. Its my job.
Nigerian's are human beings so expressing outrage and disappointment is expected. However when the few people that have spent months mobilizing people online to vote or even campaign for candidates spend a crucial 48hr communication window calling for sacking and probes then I worry.
For me its simple. If you have decided to mobilize voters participation or even campaign online for a candidate your major goal is that people no matter what must vote. They must also mobilize others to vote.
When a disaster like Saturdays fiasco occurs and there is the possibility of regrouping to vote in 48hrs the message should be prioritized thus.... No matter what happens, whether natural disaster, logistic failure or mischief my fellow Nigerians we must vote. No shaking!
Wasting a podium you have built when numerous Nigerians are looking to you for clarification (some web users simply get news and spread faster than others) on multiple confusing, distracting messages when there is precious little time to process is counter productive to the change we want to see.
Interestingly the supporters of the incumbent President simply because they don't want to link their candidate with INEC's failure were least vocal about heads rolling and resigning. This of course in communication terms linked to votes is to their advantage intentional or not. They are doing the right thing.
So if you signed up to crusade for voting commit to the end. People went to jail and died to fight for this democracy. Typing from our blackberries, GSM phones and laptops is a luxury bought with the blood of Nigerians. Let us not let them down. Being an activist comes with responsibility. I wont go as far as saying it is irresponsible not to commit to the end but then I'm not saying it isn't either :)
If you are actively campaigning for ANY camp, I beg of you focus the message on voting. Any other focus from you will influence people to sit at home. There is time enough for probes and consequences in 3 weeks time. Don't hurt your candidate. Mobilize the followers to vote. Turn the setback into a strength communications and campaign wise. The goal is to get votes. You will lose votes when you subliminally communicate throwing in the towel with the process and focusing on probes.
If you are in neither of the above camps please consider the mess this country is in now. It will get worse. It gets worse every single day. Is it NECO exams were barely 10% pass English or hustling at a job that cant pay your bills that is worth apathy?
You trekked great distances, stood under the hot sun,volunteered your cars for INEC logistics only to be disappointed and discouraged by INEC's failure and I beg that we do this all again.
Lets mobilize this movement between now and Saturday 9th April when we turn out to vote again.
With this set back it will require all of our efforts to get the turn out we need for Nigeria's transformation to work.
I personally am convinced this is our last chance to get it right as a Nation. It wont be magic but it will be the necessary start and strangely I believe this will be the case in varying degrees no matter who wins. We are not the same kind of followers we used to be.
If I were in the campaign advisers teams Id get my Oga's to reach out to the followers with this message. That should have been done 30mins after Jega's speech. Social media is lightening fast. Flexibility and decisiveness in prioritizing communication goals in crisis could make or mar campaign goals..
Be calm. No matter what happens, whether natural disaster, logistic failure or mischief my fellow Nigerians we WILL vote. No shaking!
First we must vote. We can do this. We must.