AN APPRAISAL OF PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY OF PRESIDENT MOHAMMADU BUHARI’S 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL BID
Woluchem, Nwoburuoke and Amadi, Richard Nlemanya, Ph.D
Department of Mass Communication, Rivers State University

Port Harcourt, Nigeria
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ABSTRACT

This study examined the public relations strategy of President Mohammadu Buhari‟s 2015 electoral bid with a view to finding out how the strategy helped in achieving the electoral victory of 2015.
The study was anchored on the social judgment theory and was a descriptive survey that employed the use of the questionnaire and interview guide to elicit data. The population of the study was 26 respondents. The study found that public relations played a major role in Mohammadu Buhari 2015 electoral bid and that the strategy made the voters to see his opponent  as a villain while he was being positioned as the messiah that will save them from the villain among other things. The study therefore recommended that political parties should always engage the services of public relations experts in the electoral activities and political aspirants should consider providing internet hotspots for the voters to connect with them online through the information they provide about their activities and future promises Key words: Election, Public Relations, Strategy, APC, and PDP.

INTRODUCTION
The return to democratic rule by Nigeria in 1999 brought fresh hope to Nigerians in their quest to reclaim their electoral power and franchise as citizens after experiencing several years of military rule. President Olusegun Obasanjo came into power in 1999 and held sway till 2007 when he left office and handed over to late President Umaru Musa Yar‟Adua. The sudden demise of Yar‟Adua instigated certain political intrigues, as to the right of then Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to succeed him. The members of Nigerian Senate then rose to the occasion by invoking the „Doctrine of Necessity‟ which enabled them to resolve that Dr. Jonathan should become the
acting President and later substantive President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
Several other issues in the polity, including the right of President Goodluck Jonathan to do a double tenure even though he had sat as President for two years in the joint ticket he had with his predecessor, created a lot of problem among politicians from various geographic blocks in the country. The All Progressive Congress (APC) came about as a result of the amalgamation of Congress for Political Chance (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), part of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and New People‟s Democratic Party (NPDP) in the wake of the 2015
general elections in a bid to wrest power from the Peoples‟ Democratic Party, (PDP). The APC, which eventually ousted the then ruling People‟s Democratic Party, became a mega political party due to the large followership of the amalgamated parties at the regional levels. The PDP led by the then President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was touting its campaign slogan of „Transformation Agenda‟ while the APC hammered on its „Change Mantra‟. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was famous for his declaration that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and that nobody should rig the 2015 elections for him.

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