The Consequences Of APC Losing The Social Media and Blogosphere War

By Mohammed Bello Doka. 
Propaganda is an act of misinformation, disinformation, one-sided and biased reportage targeted at an individual, entity, or a government. The major aim of propaganda is to make its target appear bad, tarnish the target's image, etc. 

When the state becomes the target of propaganda, such a state looses public acceptance, became subject of ridicule and eventually faces uprising against it people leading to chaos and destruction thus destroying the basic fabric of the nation, city state or an entire state. 

Recent example of the use of propaganda to incite the public against its government can be found in Qaddafi's Libya, Hussain's Iraq, presently in Iran,Syria, Russia and Ukraine and elsewhere.

The Nigerian government has been a victim of a coordinated and organized propaganda warfare as well, most decisively from 2015-2023 when the then ruling PDP unexpectedly lost power to the then opposition APC, now the governing party. The PDP unleashed its propaganda machine against the party, the government, and individuals that govern the state and the result is continues disregard for constituted authority, outright abuse of law and democratic principles among others. 

It was during this time that the“ Fulani herdsmen" narrative was created and given prominence by the mainstream media and proliferated by the social media. Another major propaganda is the cloning of President Buhari, the Islamization agenda, amongst others. 

To a large extent, the propaganda worked in shaping public opinion against the government, to an extent that even public servants withing the party were infected in one way or another by the propaganda tactics, the effect of which can be clearly seen during the Presidential primaries of 2022 of the APC and even the general election in 2023.

Campaigns seized to be issue-based and became polarized along religious lines, pastors became politicians and dishing out predictions for prophesies and all sot of religious and ethnic cards became the other of the day. 

One will be tempted to ask why does the propaganda machine of the PDP gain so much influence and prominence to the level it got?

The answer is simple, the governing APC seems not to care about the challenges posed by propaganda, often in the form of fake news, its media handlers are mostly ill prepared for the job and most of them are only interested in the power struggle rather than theRead more. job and above all the President's I don't care attitude towards the effect of propaganda towards the success of his government.

The result was catastrophic for the party, and it almost cost the party its majority position, with many high-level members leaving the party and echoing the same sentiments captured or found in the opposition's propaganda drive. 

To avoid this and many other unforeseen consequences, the party must rise to face this daredevil challenge with all sense of seriousness. 

Social media, for example, played a very crucial role in the proliferation of fake news and organized propaganda against the government and the party; thus the government must devise anti propaganda mechanism, first to checkmate then to respond to propaganda in a matter of minutes. An hour is too long a time in propaganda warfare, and with social media, a lot of damage can be done in an hour that can never be repaired in a year. 

Another critical issue is the government and the Party must organize its media handlers, social media inclusive in fact the most important.

The opposition propaganda machine is more united and more organized that is why when fake news is dished out, there are many hands to make it go around. And when a propaganda is to be circulated, all major PDP and Obidient handlers will be posting the same narrative in a different version over and over again, thus creating a sense of Nigerians are saying this Nigerians are saying that because so many voices are saying the same thing, so social media algorithm will definitely favor such narrative, and it will be on top of every news feed and search engines thus making it trend. 

Also, significant the APC media handlers should avoid the use of overrated personalities who have little or no idea about social media warfare to handle its propaganda machine, the age of social media has given birth to new experts in propaganda, information gathering and sharing. Thus, the government should focus more on using competent social media influencers to handle such delicate tasks, but first thing first the APC must reorganize it media room, create a situation room and handsomely reward its handlers. 

Finally, the APC and the government must be willing to fund the activities of its handlers as other parties do. So far, the activities of APC social media handlers have been voluntary, as a matter of fact, no critical media function left in the hands of volunteers should be expected to provide any meaningful result. The media is an expensive venture and the party must see and handle it as such. 

Mohammed Bello Doka is the National Coordinator Tinubu Media Team and Publisher Abuja Network News.

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