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Public Speech And Ihedioha’s Campaign Message

Nigeria's House of Reps Deputy Speaker,  Emeka Ihedioha

By Dr Austin Uganwa – People’s Democratic Party governorship candidate in Imo state, Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha Thursday, 5th of February, 2015 concluded his campaign tour to 26 local councils of the state. Some of the elements that demonstrably and strikingly fascinated the crowd during the tour included   the message code, language structure and the lively but insightful style of presentation.

Evidently, not a few Imolites believe that Ihedioha’s campaign message structure is manifestly rich in flow, sequence and penetration instructive of a politician who has the right message for a fitting audience, using the correct form of presentation. Besides, for every policy of his major rival, Governor Rochas Okorocha, Ihedioha’s campaign message has a conspicuously robust alternative.

Globally, message structure, contents and power of delivery are key ingredients that make electioneering campaigns thick. Their proper application by candidates seeking elective positions do not only make such candidates stand out of the maddening political crowd but more importantly deepen the support base of such candidates thereby enhancing their victory chances.

In the Unites States for instance, amiable Abraham Lincoln who became the first US President on the platform of the Republican Party in 1860 reached his political pinnacle in spite of certain reverses on account of power of speech. From his first public speech to the people of Sangamon County March 9 1832 and his last public address, reply to a Serenade April 11, 1865 he displayed a rare reservoir knowledge of American issues. Lincoln who gave classical definition of democracy as “government of the people for the people and by the people” was described by   Henry Ketcham “as a man of wit, humour, passionate oratory and inspiring leadership”.

Similarly, John F Kennedy who was US President in the early 60s and Bill Clinton who ruled between 1992 and 2000, defeating incumbent President George Bush had a matchless political success on account of issue-based campaigns and oratory prowess. Barak Obama’s political pre-eminence gathered rare momentum following the unique and profound manner he presented key note address during the 2004 national convention of his National Democratic Party.

The uncommon display of speechifying coupled with his moving message at the convention to the admiration of his party faithful and indeed other Americans ballooned his political career into becoming the first black American president. Clinton’s wife, Hilary has also had her own lofty and enviable space in American politics because of her power of speech

During the First and Second Republics, the great Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of defunct NCNC, NPP; the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo of AG, UPN and the revolutionist, Aminu Kano of NEPU,PRP loomed large and held sway in the political firmament because of the rationality in their message and their towering command of speech making

For many Nigerians, It was indeed delightful watching Zik, Awo, Aminu on the soap box during political campaigns and major national events speaking with unequalled eloquence, forceful and with intensity. Their voices rose and fell proportionally and uniformly. This development intrinsically endeared them to many and accordingly attracted many political fans to them.   As a result, shouts of Zeek, Awoooo and Aminu usually rent the air each time any of them appeared in any public gathering.

The likes of Chuba Okadigbo, Fourth Republic Senate President; Chief K.O Mbadiwe, Second Republic Adviser to President on National Assembly Affairs; Senator Uba Ahmed, national secretary to defunct NPN; J.S Tarka, leader of the Middle Belt during the First and Second Republics also belong to the group of great politicians who excelled in the art of issued based public speaking.

Like these great politicians of yore with great and unique message to sell, Ihedioha’s campaign message has the trappings of issue-based, people-oriented, revolutionary approach. His message structure   interestingly comprehensive with a ting of sequence flows from the thesis to the anti-thesis and finally the synthesis.

At campaign rallies Ihedioha would first of all present the thesis, the programmes being embarked upon by his opponent, Governor Rochas Okorocha. Shortly after, he would establish the anti-thesis; the many flaws, conflicts, predicament, frauds and deceits inherent in the programmes being put in place by Okorocha. Consequently, he would then provide the synthesis: the alternative programmes he has designed to move Imo forward when elected as Governor.

The inviting things about his campaign message include the segmentation and the flow. He usually takes his key opponent on sector by sector in the most unambiguous fashion. Take education as a case study. Under thesis he identified Okorocha’s so called free education policy. Then under anti-thesis, he believes that it is not properly run in the areas of provision of facilities, tools, science equipment and staffing. These according to him have resulted in free fall of education standard in the state.

With proven statistics he establishes that out of 548 secondary schools in the state, Mathematics and English teachers are grossly inadequate, with each subject boasting of less than 120 teachers. The same according to him applies to Physics and Chemistry with lower than 130 instructors respectively. Imo students performance rate in external examinations has accordingly dropped down to 46 percent from 75-80 percent prior to Okorocha’s administration.

The trend has also infested Imo State University as most of its departments, including Law Faculty have been recently de-accredited by the National Universities Commission resulting from inadequate education tools and staffing.

Ihedioha’s synthesis towards tackling the education crisis is simple. His idea which according to him, a framework has already been prepared is to bequeath to Imo people qualitative free education that will shore up fallen standard of education and enhance ruined value system evident in the school system.

On health sector, Ihedioha observes that the hospitals in the state are in dire need of drugs, facilities, technologies and consultants. He expressed disappointment that Imo state boasts of only three medical consultants. He wants to correct the anomalies by administering integrated health care system that boasts of adequate health facilities. He also pledges to provide free primary health care services.

During the campaign tours Ihedioha demonstrated in clear, digestible and understandable language that he has profound knowledge and full grasp of the issues bedeviling the state and therefore   has evolved well-based solutions to the gaps and crises evident in the following sectors: employment and wealth creation; agriculture; industrialization; infrastructural development; cultural and value system ; urban renewal and several others which he has encapsulated into his seven-point agenda.

He indicated the tendency to reinstate the 10,000 youths employed by Ikedi Ohakim administration and sacked by Okorocha at the wake of his regime as an initial measure to get substantial number of youths out of the heavily congested labour market. He intends to stimulate empowerment and skills acquisition programmes as critical avenues to stem unemployment and create wealth.

On agriculture, the mainstay of Imo economy, his plan, according to him, is to embark on massive mechanization such that the state attains food security and ensures exportation of excess farm produce as a composite path for economic growth.

Dr Uganwa, wrote from Owerri


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