Media expert and political commentator, Chude Jideonwo, talks YOUNG Magazine through his successful media campaigns and shares his thoughts on the #Nottoyoungtorun campaign and the way to actually make a difference in Nigeria.
You may recognize Chude’s name from his insightful political commentary on social media or you may have come across his latest book: How to Win Elections in Africa. Most people, however, know Chude from his work with media powerhouse, RED Media and the successful presidential media campaigns that helped put three different presidents in power: Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria, 2011) Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria 2015) Nana Addo (Ghana, 2016).
“All three media campaign projects were unique in their own way,” Chude says, “the Jonathan campaign, which was our first, was just a PR job. It was so much fun! It was after that campaign that we decided that this was something we actually wanted to do and we created a sort of template we could apply in the future. The Jonathan campaign was centred around hope. We based our campaign around the hope Nigerians had for the future. Everyone was hopeful and excited at that time. That was why we chose T.Y Bello’s, ‘We are the future’, as our as our theme song. The Buhari campaign, on the other hand, was run with undercurrents of anger and frustration. It was a tense period for the nation. We used a similar approach in Ghana because, just like in Nigeria, all the people wanted was change.”
Chude is of the opinion that while the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign is very, very important, the problem with Nigerian politics is not the age of the people but the age of the ideas.
“There have been young political candidates before: the likes of Orji Kalu, Donald Duke and El-rufai. The #Nottooyoungtorun campaign is doing important work by bringing down the barriers of participation in Nigerian politics. This is important in every human endeavour. Everyone should be involved in the process but that is not enough to solve the problem of bad governance, we need to know the problems to solve – liberty, equity, freedom, opportunity. Young people in government is not going to fundamentally transform the character of our democracy.”
“[My book] is important for our nation building and important for the vision of the future that we all have”. I had no intention of returning to Nigeria after my fellowship at Yale but I did because I have a vision that I know can transform Nigeria and there was no way I could do it without being here.”
Chude’s new company Joy, Inc. which he launched last year, wants to use teaching and media products to mainstream the science and research on human flourishing, resilience and positive emotions to transform the culture and build a new generation of Africans focused on the greatest happiness for the greatest many.
He says, “If I can make people happy, that’s enough, that’s mission accomplished, but if i can really transform this society, in spite of government, and it is possible, if we can do that, oh my goodness, that will be something worth being alive for!”