By Giwa SHILE
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has made the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari winning the 2019 presidential election much more brighter with its purported slogan, ‘Corruption is better than Incompetence’.
Bello stated this when President Buhari hosted youth political appointees and supporters of his administration to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He described President Buhari as `a very good product’, and his competencies were desperately needed for the progress of the nation, `but we need to go out there and sell him to the people.’
“Public Relations professionals will tell you that at some point, having a good product without excellent advertising is like winking in the dark – you know what you are doing, but no one else does.
“Perception is reality when it comes to politics and campaigning. Perception management is therefore critical in times like this,’’ he said.
The governor stated that all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) must market the `incredible accomplishments of President Buhari and of his administration to every voter’ – and in all the local languages in the country.
He further warned that if the party failed to do so efficiently, the adverse narratives aggressively put out by the opposition PDP and other propaganda machines would dominate the land and shape perceptions.
He said: “If those of us in APC do not sell this winning product very well – “Economic recovery will be mistaken for slow-down due to poor management of the nation’s economy;
“Measures to protect local industries and stimulate domestic production will be mistaken for deliberate impoverishment of the populace via high prices of essential commodities;
“Borrowing for rapid infrastructural development will be mistaken for unwarranted or misapplied debt;
“A tough and progressive victory against a terrorist threat which continues to cost the nation the lives of her brave military and law enforcement personnel will be mistaken for inaction;
“ A difficult fight against old and new forms of insecurity, which is designed to neutralize security threats across parts of the nation without criminalizing whole tribes or populations, will be mistaken for victimization of some and condonation of others;
“Trial of politically exposed offenders using long existent laws which previous leaders were not willing to deploy against cronies and accomplices will be mistaken for extrajudicial measures and disdain for the Rule of Law;
“Social safety nets for the poor under the various Social Investment Programmes and payment of long outstanding obligations to unjustly treated segments of our citizenry will be mistaken for bribery of the populace or vote buying tricks.
“If we fail to take charge of the narrative and persuade people till they see the true intents of this Administration’s policies, we will have a much harder job mobilizing the votes we need to get Mr. President re-elected.
“If we do not put Mr. President’s achievements before our people till they can recite it themselves, they may agree with the shameless PDP that the heartless corruption which it is offering again is somehow better than the alleged ‘incompetence’ of the APC which has accomplished every good thing I listed above.
“In summary, all may be lost if we do not get the Nigerian people to see why they must allow Mr President continue his great work as they go to the polls in 2019.’’
The governor, who was elected under the platform of the APC, however, warned that the party has a huge task before it in the 2019 general elections.
According to the governor, 2015 is about Change while 2019 is about Progress.
He, therefore, advised leadership and members of the APC not to relent in educating and sensitising the electorate on the danger of reversing the achievements of the Buhari administration.
“As members of the APC, we will not deny that our party has a huge task before us in the 2019 general elections.
“The elections will not be a walkover, the PDP will not be a pushover and we ‘MUST’ take nothing and no one for granted,’’ he warned.
Bello, who narrated the achievements of the Buhari administration in the past three years, condemned the 16 years of PDP administration, which he said were generally characterized by low capital investment on infrastructure.
He, however, noted that the Buhari administration had invested in excess of N3 trillion on infrastructural developments, which he described as, the highest ever in nation’s history, and at a time when revenues were generally poor and a recession was on.
He noted that the APC was offering greater inclusiveness for all Nigerians irrespective of tribes and voting patterns.
Bello added that the APC would pay better attention to affirmative action – women, youth and special ability in appointive positions.
“The APC will respect the unspoken but gentlemanly rotationally presidential pattern between North and South which most Nigerians defended in 2015.
“The APC is promising to continue re-writing the age-long negatives which have plagued our nation to positives.
“This is the message we must all take to every nook and cranny of this nation, and from door to door.
“On the other hand, all the crooked PDP is offering Nigerians is ‘Corruption is better than Incompetence’ and ‘Anybody but Buhari’.
“I say they have made our job easy, assuming we are ready to work hard,’’ he said.