Nigerian presidency is wide open as mobile internet could disintermediate old political structures

Comment: Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso do not have national political structures like their APC (Tinubu) and PDP (Atiku) counterparts. My answer below on why you shouldn’t ignore Obi and Kwankwaso as technology has reduced information asymmetry [‘occurs when one party to a transaction has more or superior information compared to another’] which made the local structures very powerful.

This is not to say that structures are not important, my point is that disintermediation [“reduction in the use of intermediaries”] is evident, and voters in general now have access to more information about candidates, to make decisions independently, free from the influence of consolidators and political brokers.

Technology will create disintermediation that old fashioned political structures may not matter much since information asymmetry will be reduced due to the ubiquity of smartphones and mobile internet connectivity in Nigeria . The Nigerian electoral market is becoming more perfect with the reduction of information asymmetry (everyone gets the same information about candidates and can make decisions unlike in the past when people relied on emirs, obas, obis , village chiefs, etc. to guide them).

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As digital systems penetrate, the influence of political brokers, consolidators, etc. will fade, since these citizens now have access to the right information on the candidates and make decisions.

Yes, you can have Party Presidents in all Local Government Areas. But if you don’t have the message for the citizens, the president won’t stop them from finding out who has the right messages. In the age of the pre-mobile internet, these presidents were the conduits for reaching out to voters. They used their positions to influence how these voters vote.

Today, don’t rely on these old-fashioned structures. You can have them – very vital – but if you don’t have the right message, you will struggle. It’s like in football where some clubs have zone manuals – defending in zones and attacking in zones. You get a village chief, and with him you have politically cornered everyone in the village. Just like the game zone in football which does not guarantee wins, having these village chiefs when the citizens can get the information directly will cause dislocation.

With your phone today, there’s no information you can’t reach. Many Nigerians get the right information and can make decisions independently. And they also have the channels to express those feelings, recruiting and influencing others, not just relying on what the experts tell them. So a small party with the right message could be a threat because technology can create disintermediation with the old structures that we have seen in Nigerian politics.

Of course, that doesn’t mean a competitor doesn’t need to build the old structures. My point is that these structures will not win elections unless they bring great visions for Nigerians because mobile internet will help voters find out who has the right messages!

Obi, Oba, Emir, etc. could influence in the past as custodians of information; today sabi wetin dey youth.

Comment on the LinkedIn feed

Comment: America, whose democracy we track and whose people have the greatest mobile internet connectivity, has never produced a president in the world outside of the two major political parties – Democrats and Republicans. Why is this so? The structures available to both sides are not accessible to anyone outside of both sides. Without the structures that the APC and PDP possess, no other party can win the presidential elections in our beloved Nigeria.

My answer: I think you are not making a good comparison here. If I ask you for Joe Biden’s party logo, you’ll have a hard time. They have reached near zero information asymmetry where you don’t even need logos or emblems to know the candidates. How do you know them? Their policies or what they stand for. So it’s personalized and not “party-ized”.

That is what I am saying. Nigerians will start paying attention NOT to the party but to what the candidates offer them. Interestingly, small parties in the United States have nothing new to exploit. But in Nigeria, there are still opportunities as we have not reached political saturation or a steady state in our evolving democracy.

{In the late 1930s, African Americans primarily voted Republican. Later they became democrats because democrats used the right to vote etc. to attract them]

Mobile Internet can move us from party to party. This is the message.

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