MPAC “Engage!” Campaign
2019 Elections: Engage! With the Candidates.
Monday, 3 December 2018.
It’s time to Engage! with the candidates. There are many important issues confronting the Muslim Ummah, and Nigerians in general and you or your organization can play crucial roles to highlight these issues and get the candidates interested in them.
Communicating with Candidates
Elections at all levels of government often help draw public interest and media attention to specific issues. During campaigns, candidates focus their attention on issues they believe are of greatest concern to the voters. This is where you and your organisation can be most successful. By demonstrating that a diverse group of voters care about a particular issue, your organisation can help push Muslim specific issues to the forefront of public debate. Take the issue of hijab in Lagos State public schools as an example. This is the best time to engage candidates from various political parties vying for offices on that specific issue. Ask them about their views on hijab in public schools and ask for their commitment to secure and preserve Muslim rights to express their religion, including in public schools. The hijab may not be the front-line issue in your state or area, but there must be an issue that is close to the heart of the Muslim community or as a Nigerian, an important issue you wish to see taken care of by the candidate if elected. Early communications during a campaign can also help lay the groundwork for a strong relationship with the candidate and his or her staff after the election.
Some Tips for Communicating with Candidates:
Be specific about what you want a candidate to support or oppose.
Work as an individual or at best, in a coalition. If the issues involve non-Muslims, be sure to seek and include allies from the non-Muslim community in your coalition. Provide candidates with detailed information about the coalition, its members and the specific issues. Be sure to include easy-to-understand charts, numbers and statistics that candidates may find useful when discussing the issues publicly.
Provide personal stories. Candidates like to personalize their messages and talk about real people. Offer to help candidates locate individuals who can testify about their own experiences and how important the issues have been to them.
Invite candidates to address the coalition or your mosque, organisation. Be sure to create an event that meets the candidate’s needs, your coalition’s needs, and is conducive to media coverage.
Lastly, keep your call brief and to the point.