Nigerians often roar at the utterance of audacious statements by public figures. When Buhari threatened to ‘treat young Nigerians in a language they understand’, the Twitter section of the nation blasted the president till he actually reminded the people that he has the final say.
Emi lo kan and City Boy: The PR strength of Tinubu’s campaign [Pulse Editor’s Opinion]
Owning the mistake and creating a brand message out of the slogan, in addition to media support, has landed Jagaban a sort of swag to boost his campaign
When Tinubu, in his feelings, made it known that the presidency is his right, the usual uproar erupted online. However, Tinubu has been able to spin the negative interpretation of ‘Emi lo kan’ for the good of his campaign.
'Emi lo kan' is Yoruba. In English, it means, 'It's my turn.'
A crisis well handled...
Again, this writer reiterates that Tinubu spoke in his feelings. When dropping that would grow to be the hot tagline of the 2023 elections, he was airing his grievances at the fact that he had laboured for the people he now looks to for support and endorsements, as he runs for president: ‘It is my turn,' Tinubu said.
Naturally, we all feel hurt when energy we give out is not reciprocated.
However, Tinubu’s feelings crashed him on Twitter street; a 'drag' arena that he is definitely used to, where the name of politicians go through daily woto woto, due to the incessant struggles of citizens.
The first rule of PR scandal is to own it, and it shows a clear thought process behind the move.
But like previous rendezvous, this drag soon ended as the Tinubu campaign did the best crisis management u-turn from the situation. Proudly, the candidate would shout ‘Emi lo kan’ at his rallies; and would be received with hails rather than abuses. Ergo, he owned it.
Moving round Lagos and observing new outdoor media on Tinubu, the tag line has been adopted as his campaign slogan. Many media houses have also written in defence of Tinubu’s stance. Owning the mistake and creating a brand message out of the slogan, in addition to media support, has landed Jagaban a sort of swag to boost his campaign; so much so that musicians are already releasing potential soundtracks for Tinubu's campaign.
Youngins might soon love Tinubu: Here's why
Effortlessly, Peter Obi enjoys the support of young Nigerians. But that's a significant result of voter fatigue, and anger towards members of 'the establishment,' which is a slogan for Nigeria's political elite, and a circle that has ruled Nigeria since independence.
Like Buhari in 2015, Obi's 'non-corruptible' brand resonates with young Nigerians, and he continues to ride its coattails to ascending scales of importance.
Hence, one of Jagaban's PR strategies is to make him more relatable to Obi's audience, filled with millennial and Gen Z digital natives, who are pop-culture-obsessed post-internet babies. They are a generation that has learned to love things by being fed with those things: be it music, movies or catchphrases.
There is a reason why TikTok works to promote music to them. There is a reason why 'Soro Soke Werey' and 'Werey Dey Disguise' have been popular slogans for them over the past two years alone. There's also a reason why #hashtags works, to track their activities.
The reason is simple: 'Fear of missing out' is a currency of digital relevance to this generation. Once anything can be put in their faces, and it gets circulated enough to induce a fear of missing out, it becomes popular and it gets adopted. They also unintentionally accept and popularize those things.
Jagaban's team is doing a lot of social media work by using tools like TikTok to create up close and personal content of him.
Social media increases the amount of exposure a brand receives and increases traffic on whatever they are selling. Social media also helps to develop loyal fans and generates leads. Social media is the ideal medium to humanise a brand.
A good example can be drawn out from Jagaban's return to Lagos after his win in the APC primaries. A viral TikTok video was created using YCEE's hit song 'jagaban' as the soundtrack.
Riding off the back of the hit song so loved by Nigerians, Tunubu's PR team were able to humanise and ease the view of the APC presidential candidate. Every media professional knows that the best way to get into hearts is to evoke emotional feelings. Hence, if you loved YCEE's 'Jagaban,' you'd probably watch Tinubu's video a couple of times; and even catch yourself smiling at some point.
That's because content is king, as they say. In itself, 'Emi lo kan' is filled with copious doses of entitlement, which doesn't sit well with young people, who hate to see presidency, be treated as property. Yet, they are uttering the statement, because it's fun.
Now, people are singing the praises of Tinubu’s services, and his ownership of what he believes he deserves. At a time where savagery and rawness is much appreciated by the younger crowd, Jagaban's emotions have earned him lovable points with the ruthlessly realistic audience; a very grounded segment of voters.
Also, riding on the emotional values of fair-play, many Nigerians are drumming support for Tinubu’s turn. It is therefore important that young people stay aware of media strategies hinged on emotions while consuming 2023 campaign content and messages.
On May 31, 2022, Nigerian singer, Brymo took to his Twitter to voice his opinion about the upcoming elections. He also noted that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the best candidate for the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria based on his antecedent as Lagos State Governor.
In Brymo's opinion, that was sufficient for him to be President. The Headies-winner also noted that we have voted conservative people into office in the past, and that it has hurt the country because they lacked the requisite intellectual density to run a diverse country like Nigeria.
In response to a Twitter user, Brymo wrote, "Yet… he’s the one with a plan, we all know that… Let a city boy be president for once!.. never met the man, or any one who represents, or is acquainted to him, or even his relations and political affiliates - and if we stopped trying to kill them off for being old."
He then continued, "About having a Plan; You live in what town ?.. I live in Lagos.. Yh! City Boy.. It is like lagos moving into aso rock, it is guaranteed to work!.. even if looting is rife it’ll still be the best presidency yet.. On God!"
During the APC Presidential Primaries at Eagles Square, 'City Boy' became a trending topic on Twitter NG. Nigerians used it for humor, condescension and support. But it trended, and became part of the zeitgeist.
The goal of PR isn't to win elections by itself, it's to influence perception in favour of whoever engages it. Right now, it feels like Tinubu's PR team is doing just that. There is still a lot of apathy towards Tinubu due to his age, being a member of the establishment and due to his entitled use of 'emi lo kan,' and rightly so.
However, catchphrases related to him are starting to resonate, and this is how perception is changed. He is cooler than he was just three weeks ago. In 2015, we saw how a good PR campaign can influence a presidency.
RED Media created a campaign around Buhari, which rode off the clear instances of corruption during the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. They also created a narrative of 'change,' while Buhari visited the Redemption camp to be blessed by Pastor E.A Adeboye, took pictures in all of Nigeria's major traditional attires and used a Pastor as a his running mate.
Tinubu night still has voter apathy to contend with, but a good narrative might further endear him towards the electorate, who might be swayed by his antecedents over the current elements that breed apathy towards him.
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