As Nigeria’s general election approaches, presidential candidates have embarked on the customary practice of releasing a manifesto. But do these manifestos really matter, seeing the general opinion that there is an established distrust between politicians and the public? Manifestos hardly have any effect on the undecided sect of voters, as being in this categorization shows that these groups of voters are likely unswayed by politics. They will also probably ignore party programmes.

Why it matters 
A contesting party can use a good manifesto as a battering ram against other opposition parties during the campaign season, although it can come back to haunt them in case the contesting party does not meet its promises. 

  • Manifestos can also show a party’s direction of travel. For example, in 2015, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election with a campaign phrase of “CHANGE.” 

The big picture 
Political analysts in Nigeria who digest manifestos have continually re-echoed that much more than declaring election promises to Nigerians, voters would be more persuaded by an actionable plan including the “whats and hows” presidential candidates would deliver their campaign. 

  • In recent years, Nigerian politicians have derailed from the campaign promises in their manifestos. President Muhammadu Buhari’s manifesto promised to make the country’s currency (Naira) equivalent to a dollar. Today, $1 is approximately over N650 in the parallel market.

On a general note, manifestos have significantly lost their importance, as many politicians have repeatedly performed below the standards of their manifestos. Besides, some candidates are campaigning without a manifesto and seemingly gaining popularity amongst the voting populace. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.