By Davies Iheamnachor
LESS than four days to the governorship and House of Assembly elections, the two major political parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have intensified their campaigns and strategies to win the polls in Rivers State.
Amid the violence and enormous challenges confronting the two parties, they have painstakingly resorted to drawing up strategies and travelling to the nooks and crannies of the state wooing the electorates.
Over the years, politicians never had time to take campaigns to the people at the rural communities and even when they did, it was without seriousness. However, this time, the candidates have deemed it necessary to go down to the grass-roots for votes.
Currently, the PDP and APC are locked in serious campaigns ahead of Saturday’s polls. After the presidential polls, the two parties are on edge moving about for support.
Campaign strategies being adopted by the two parties include ward rallies, door-to-door, mouth-to-mouth, the use of religious leaders to woo worshippers and moving market visits.
The candidate of the APC, Dr Dakuku Peterside, his running-mate, Honourable Asita and their Greater Together Campaign Organisation have travelled to over 312 wards in the state in their ward rallies. The team has succeeded in making itself relevant in all the wards in the state.
The PDP has also adopted this approach and is touring all parts of the state.
Ward-to ward rally is one of the tactics that the APC and the PDP have introduced again into their campaign system. Through this approach the two contenders have travelled to the wards that make up the state. They use this medium to ask questions about the communities as well make campaign promises. In their visits to the wards, they ensure that the crowd is actively mobilized to represent the strength of their support in that area.
The candidate of the APC who has concluded a tour of all the wards in the state has boasted that he has immense support in all the wards.
The PDP Candidate, Barr Nyesom Wike through his Campaign Council introduced Door-to-door campaign. This tactic is targeted at meeting families in the communities.
The APC too has also adopted this strategy. Door-to-door is put on ground for the party leaders in each ward to perfect. The leaders use this medium to meet with the families in their wards to tell them the need to vote for their candidates.
Similarly, the mouth-to-mouth or person-to-person campaign as called by both parties is used to get to individuals. The parties are ensuring that they speak to individuals in each community before Saturday.
Religious leaders in the state are indirectly being used as campaign channels by the two parties. Although, the campaign of both parties started from the church, the candidates have intensified their visits to the churches in the state seeking for endorsements from the men of God and support of the congregation.
In an unusual manner, the candidates and their deputies are also going to markets to canvass for votes. Some traders have expressed surprise that politicians now enter the same markets with them.
To make the campaigns sink deeper, Dakuku and Wike now speak all the languages that exist in the state. They do these to gain the attention of their listeners. Before going to any ward, they ensure that they know the language of the people to be visited that day. This is to get the crowd directly in their own language.
Presidential Polls Score
APC: 6, 238
PDP: 1, 487, 075