THE EKERE-BRAND AND AKWA IBOM ELECTORATES
By Amanam Uko
In Marketing Management, there’s what is known as Perception. Perception makes you prefer a brand/product over its competitor because over time, you have been told its superiority by family, friends, media and/or the company in both massive and subtle ways.
You have an impression about this in your subconscious to the extent that no matter what happens, you can’t change your mind unless you have been disappointed or had a strong conviction that the brand/product can no longer serve your need(s).
According to Al Ries and Jack Trout, in their book, 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, it says that, “marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.”
Coming back home, no truer fact have been stated in the Akwa Ibom political scene than a situation whereby the people now believe that the present administration has failed woefully.
The administration which claims to have a human face, seeks to rough the governed so hard as to introduce anti-people policies, increase hardship and the Economic Team, if any, lacks the capacity to be proactive in their thinking. What has the common man done to deserve all this?
Here comes a saviour. There is no gainsaying that the brand – Obong Nsima Ekere, stands out in the competition. This is because, for some time, the Ekere-brand has influenced the electorates and their perception early enough to establish that position in their minds ahead of 2019.
It’s certainly clear that the perception is based on what is on ground. The certainty is that the Akwa Ibom electorates have formed their own perception based on experiences.
This arises from the reality that Ekere’s performance, in a short period of time as Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has surpassed expectations. This has helped to shape those perceptions.
Obong Victor Attah, on Sunday, July 23, 2017, during the thanksgiving service of Ekere and his family at the Methodist Church Nigeria, Ikot Abasi, said the NDDC boss had done the state proud.
“This thanksgiving is not just ordinary thanksgiving. You can see the outpouring of support for a man who has successfully restructured NDDC. Akwa Ibom people are very proud of him. Akwa Ibom people say Nsima Ekere has brought a lot of joy and hope to the people,” he said.
Like Shakespeare wrote in one of his epic books, Julius Caesar, “when beggars die there are no comets seen but the heavens themselves blaze the death of Princes. In some dynasty and royalties, when kings are born, they are celebrated.” That was not the case when His Excellency, Obong Nsima Ekere was born. He was just like any other child. He, like other children, learnt to crawl, walk and run.
He has grown to have a Midas touch in every endeavour he has ventured into. He started as a Real Estate Developer and Property Administrator, he made success of it; he entered into Power Sector Development, and he made success of it. As the Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom Investment and Industrial Promotion Council, AKIIPOC, he made a huge success of it; while as Chairman, Ibom Power Project Implementation Committee, the ripple effect is still being felt. As former Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, his role in assisting the State Governor in general administration, policy development and execution, was a resounding one that is yet to be surpassed.
Now, Ekere has accepted to the yearnings of the good people of Akwa Ibom State to lead them as Governor come 2019. In accepting his nomination as the APC Gubernatorial Candidate, he said: “Akwa Ibomites have spoken. They have spoken with one strong voice. They’ve told me to carry the flag of our party and represent them in the next gubernatorial election. This is a historic mandate. It is an honour and a duty I don’t take lightly. I will lead you with a purpose. I will lead you to victory… Now, we’ve got a state to rebuild and I am ready if you are. The journey begins now!”
His hard work has set him apart to the envy of many detractors who only see in him a threat to their comfort. But there are others who have had the same benefit but could not make anything tangible from it.
Looking at the kind of goodwill the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State had at the inception, all that remains shattered because the size of the state treasury, our collective patrimony, does not correlate with the size of what is on ground.
There’s no need here to detail the many broken campaign promises that have accumulated throughout this period. In fact, the people have lost count.
Research in Marketing Psychology provides intriguing insights into why broken campaign promises “hurt so bad.” These broken campaign promises, just like we fall in love with brands and suddenly get disappointed, the effect has been described as “negative expectancy disconfirmation.”
Akwa Ibomites are pained and angrier that the brand, more than three years gone, has failed to perform and live up to its claims.
Many did not only hopped on, but led the Udom Emmanuel’s bandwagon. The role played by his former benefactor, Senator Godswill Akpabio cannot be overemphasized. Today, they have experienced the expectancy disconfirmation effect. In fact, the perception of the common man on the streets today shows disaffection towards the current governance style in the state.
The voters, ahead of 2019, most likely, are ready to make amends so as to avoid the most painful stings of disappointment. They are looking forward to another option – The Ekere-brand.
The Ekere-brand forms a strong perception in the minds of the public. Akwa Ibomites have learned to trust again. Great leaders do not only require the ability to take bold actions, but the willingness of the people to allow them win without having to make wild and unrealistic promises. That’s where Ekere comes in.
On the morning, after the gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State, it would be rewarding to wake up with the feelings that as Obong Nsima Ekere wins, the change is ONE we can truly believe in, own and be part of.