Adebola Williams is a young Nigerian media entrepreneur. He is just over thirty years old. His impact has been so tremendous that Nana Akuffo-Addo, the Ghanaian president, publicly referred to him as “the man with the golden touch. Everything he touches turns to gold.” Williams has helped three presidential candidates clinch victory through a series of strategies, which has not gone unnoticed. But who exactly is Adebola Williams and what is his strategy?
From an early age, Adebola Williams had a desire to be on television. His dream was fulfilled at the age of seventeen years when he got a job of co-hosting the youth show ‘Youth Talk’ on Nigeria’s NTA Network. He further went ahead and started producing his own show called ‘Nigeria International.’ He was nineteen years old by then.
In 2011, through StateCraft Inc., his political communications agency, Adebola Williams began working with Jonathan Goodluck. He is the former Nigerian president. Jonathan’s team had reached out to him seeking his help in developing a communication strategy for the election campaigns. He said he was impressed by the act of Jonathan, appreciating the importance of having the youth participate in matters of national importance. They went ahead and organized Jonathan’s campaigns which eventually culminated with his victory.
Presidental Election: Humanizing Buhari
While he was working with Jonathan, he felt he was the leader that Nigeria needed. The fact that he had extended a hand to the youth meant a breath of fresh air and a break from the norm. He, therefore, presented him as a mindful and all-inclusive leader who deserved leadership. In 2014 though, Adebola Williams switched loyalty and started working with Muhammadu Buhari, the then opposition leader. In his opinion, Jonathan’s administration had failed the credibility test in many areas of governance. It, therefore, needed to be sent home.
While working with Buhari, he again presented him to the youth. Through his StateCraft company, they took photos of Buhari during various activities and shared them over social media. They also spearheaded a social media campaign selling Buhari to the youth. Through this process, Buhari was presented as a ‘humane’ leader with whom you can easily connect. His image was ‘softened’ to the point where the youth could easily identify with him. Buhari won the elections in 2014.
The following year, Ghana was holding elections. The main political parties in the presidential race approached Adebola Williams seeking for his services. He had to first analyze the state of affairs in Ghana before making a decision on whom to support. His analysis led him to settle on Nana Akuffo-Addo.
In his words, Adebola Williams said, they wanted to present Akuffo-Addo in a way that resonated with the youth. Anything that easily identifies with the youth, such as music, would be ideal to present him. Not only that but also in a way that prompted action, which would be to vote for him. Akuffo-Addo won the election in 2015.
Adebola Williams: Uncovering the Power of the Youth
In many other elections throughout the world, the youth has always had been the key in determining the outcome. In Africa, the population pyramid clearly shows the youth’s advantages in numbers. Unfortunately, during elections, candidates barely reach out to them. This could either be because they’re not internet savvy or simply because they think they are reaching them while they are actually not. Issues affecting the youth are therefore left unattended. Leadership positions are also not availed for them. The youth are notably used by politicians with evil motives to cause violence and uproar during elections.
A culture of apathy has formed amongst the youth as a result, with many staying away from elections and politics in general. If you were to do a random survey of political views on Facebook, it would reveal phrases like ‘I hate politics’, ‘it’s a dirty game’, and ‘politics sucks’.
It is evident that Adebola Williams has tapped into a niche. Through his media agency, he has reached the youth in a way many others can’t. He has further presented to the world what many election candidates, businesses, and even large corporates may choose to ignore, either knowingly or unknowingly. But whether they seek for the input of the youth or not, one thing that remains is that the youth has a power that you can’t just ignore. So does social media and the internet.
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