Professor Peter Esuh of the Department of Marketing Communications and Applied Rhetoric and Head, Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday, warned Nigerians against the rhetoric of guns and inducement in its electioneering processes.
According to the professor of Marketing Communications and Applied Rhetoric, politics devoid of guns and monetary inducement would enable a professional persuader to dissipate efforts in persuading other persuaders for votes.
Speaking during the 86th Inaugural Lecture of the university on the theme: “Persuading the Persuaders: A Rhetorico-Semiotic Direction to Marketing Communication, Prof Esuh maintained that for votes to count, the electorate must be persuaded to act.
Giving proof of use of financial Inducement for political offices, Prof. Esuh added that in a study he carried out on the 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria, it was revealed that both the PDP and the APC spent billions in excess of what is permitted by law.
He highlighted the dangers of monetary inducements in politics and their impact on governance; he advocated for a more people-driven political leadership.
He said: “Marketing communication process is more of a transaction than just interaction, such as persuasion may occur either in the pre-purchase behaviour, during-purchase behaviour or post-purchase behaviour, including accidental purchases.
“In the context of the political products, Nigeria defiles the marketing communication maxim that you can only sell a bad product once. This perhaps is because the Nigerian political system is yet to allow votes to count.
“The moment you eschew rhetoric of the guns and the rhetoric of Inducement (money and “belly tricks”, the professional persuaders will have a lot to do to persuade the persuaders for votes.”
He recalled that in a certain community, during the October Anambra State governorship election rejected some financial inducement in exchange for votes.
“This is an indication that the Nigerian political consumers are beginning to activate their persuasion prowess and that calls for intense marketing communication strategies to convince them.
“A time will come when we get it right and the political product like other marketing communications offerings will be chosen on the ability to be presented among evoke sets as a better bundle of benefit. Remember, you can only sell a bad product once.”
He added that coming home, the 2014 governorship aspirant advised Akwa Ibom people to reject the commission to serve as brand ambassadors for evil-minded politicians in the state in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
The Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel in a goodwill message acknowledged Prof. Peter Esuh’s contributions to the development of the state and declared the don a great lover of the state who was ready to sacrifice personal interest for the development of the state.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Idongesit Etiebet, lauded professor Esuh for developing the Lucifer-Serpent Model of persuasion where Lucifer used the Serpent as a brand ambassador to persuade Adam to disobey the instructions of God.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyaudo Ndaeyo, in his remarks, extolled the extraordinary scholarship of Professor Esuh and his contributions to knowledge.
He reaffirmed the recent position of the university’s senate that the university, in its vision to unbundle the Communication Arts Department to a robust and global brand, has conferred on the department the status of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies with seven specialised departments.
The VC congratulated Prof Esuh for achieving such a feat in his tenure and for his steadfastness and passion for academic excellence.