As part of activities marking the 41st Annual General Meeting of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, the body today held an International Seminar, with the theme “Political Advertising, Perception Building & Voter Education”.
The seminar which was held at the Sheu Musa Yar’adua International Centre, Abuja, is an effort aimed at voters’ education and knowledge-based electioneering that should translate to informed voting at the polls in the coming general elections.
Explaining why the body decided to organize the seminar, AAAN President Bunmi Oke in her welcome address said: “Right now we need to let people know how important it is to develop advertising and in particular to build awareness through the use of professionals, to ensure we all vote for the best candidate come 2015.”
She added that the body decided to play this important and critical role because “AAAN is actively involved in the activities of national development and hence have to play the critical role of providing the electorates with choices through political advertising which will help in building a successful democracy.”
The seminar which was endorsed by INEC and APCON, was graced by dignitaries such as the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, Director General NBC, Emeka Mba, BON Chairman, Abubakar Jijiwa and others.
Guest speaker at the seminar was the renowned political advertising expert, Craig Smith from the USA. Smith was the director of state Operation for Bill Clinton for President in 1992, and also the Political Director of the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. He also handled political campaigns in over 20 countries.
Smith in his key note address stated that Political advertisements should be exclusive to professionals. According to him, Political advertisement should be issue based and not mundane things, adding that effective political advertisement is one which combines art with the procedural method of science.
In his remarks, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega stressed the importance of building a positive perception of the electoral process in Nigeria. “We in the Commission recognize the profound importance of building the right perception of the Nigerian electoral process among the electorate. This is why we are leaving nothing to chance in our effort to improve the level of voter education and civic sensitization about the process. We know that poor voter education partly, if not substantially, account for some major challenges we experienced as a country in past elections,” he said.