By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Political parties in Nigeria are resorting to the use of the new media platforms over traditional media in engaging the electorate, the International Republican Institute (IRI), has submitted.
IRI Country Director, Sentell Barnes expressed this while speaking at the All Progressives Congress (APC) External Communications and Social Media Workshop which opened in Abuja on Friday.
“The report of an IRI Political Party Assessment conducted after the 2015 general election suggests that only the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC have clearly separated the responsibilities for internal and external communication; while none of the parties have a written communication plan and strategy.
“Though the report observed that political parties are resorting to the use of new media platforms over and above the traditional media channels, it is interesting to note that none of the party reviews the content of its website to reflect it ideology, aims or address strategic party issues.
“We are convinced that strong party-based communications provide vital avenues for public participation and connecting leaders and elected officials around common programs,” IRI Director stressed.
Speaking further, he said Nigeria witnessed a remarkable political change nearly two years ago when for the first time in its political history, an opposition political party defeated a government whose party has held power for over 16 years.
“Many factors may have been considered as responsible for the feat but one which I consider prominent among them was the practical effort at communicating the party manifesto to the public,” he posited.
Mr. Barnes explained that IRI has been in Nigeria since 1998 supporting the development of political parties through strengthening of internal party processes, promoting the inclusion of marginalized groups and assisting parties develop pragmatic communication and campaign platforms.
“Our Supporting Political Party Development program is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with support from the American people,” he added.
The Director pointed out that the program is expected to explore the communication channels that the party can use to strengthen their links with citizens by developing communication policies that will promote dissemination of party-based information through effective coordination of internal and external of the party.
“The Institute will be ready to partner with you in the implementation of the recommendations reached at the end of the workshop as well as other initiatives that will promote effective communication of the party,” he assured