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On MTV Choose or Lose, Entertainers Discuss Issues Ahead General Election

By Chuks Nwanne
20 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
AS Nigerians gear up for the rescheduled general elections, which will now hold on March 28 and April 11, top showbiz stars took time out to discuss burning issues facing Nigeria, as well as encourage voters, especially the youths, to exercise their civic right by participating in the process. Created by MTV Base, the Choose…

AS Nigerians gear up for the rescheduled general elections, which will now hold on March 28 and April 11, top showbiz stars took time out to discuss burning issues facing Nigeria, as well as encourage voters, especially the youths, to exercise their civic right by participating in the process. Created by MTV Base, the Choose or Lose platform aims to encourage citizen voter participation ahead the polls.

    Hosted by Oreka Godis, the roundtable session, which was recently premiered on MTV Base and Silverbird TV, had artistes such as 2Face Idibia, Sound Sultan, Banky W and Yemi Alade, as well as TV personality Ebuka, activist Omojuwa and journalist/writer Stanley Azuakola and featured stimulating debate from these key opinion formers as they address vital and topical issues in Nigeria. Some of the issues touched during the session include education, power, leadership and healthcare.

   Away from their usual entertainment mood, the stars aired their opinions and concerns about the election, while offering suggestions on how to make the best out of the opportunity. Aside from the discussions, the platform was also another opportunity for the influential artistes to reach out to their fans on the need to be part of the process and make right choices.  

   The roundtable is part of MTV Base’s special election campaign Choose or Lose, which encourages the youth to go out and vote for candidates they believe will make the greatest impact in the development of the country as well as their future. The campaign, which rolls out on TV, digital and social media platforms, features celebrities as well as members of the public as they underline the important message of youth participation in the electoral process. 

    Among notable personalities that have already lent their voice to the campaign include Ben Murray-Bruce, Banky W, Ebuka, Sound Sultan, MTV Shuga star Emmanuel Ikubese, Davido, Falz, Reminisce, Emma Nyra, Solid Star, Oreka and Omalicha.

    “It is impressive to see the passion with which these key opinion formers engage with, and discuss the issues that are important to Nigerian youth. Our hope is that our Choose or Lose campaign will serve as the catalyst for greater youth voter participation,” Alex Okosi, the Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa, noted.

    Expounding the rationale behind the initiative, which is targeted at young people, Okosi informed that the campaign was first initiated in Nigeria in 2011 during the last election, with a key message, ‘Choose now who governs you.’

    “The campaign is an opportunity for us to encourage young people to go out, vote and participate in the election process. It is also a channel for us to articulate the issues and concerns that the candidates need to take into consideration when thinking of the youth electorate.”

   On use of entertainers as discussants, he explained that, “We decided to bring these entertainers to the roundtable because we believe they are influencers that have a loud voice amongst the youth of our country. They are people who have a strong understanding of what is going on in the country and where they think the government should be headed. And our selection wasn’t just entertainers; other panellists included Omojuwa, who’s an influential blogger, socio-economic and political commentator, environmental consultant, social media expert and mentor. We also chose other influential personalities from other walks of life to ensure a balanced and informed debate.”

   According to Okosi, aside from the roundtable sessions, MTV Base plans to engage candidates during the campaign period. This, he noted, will help voters in making their choices. 

   “Our TV special with President Goodluck Jonathan, Choose or Lose: President Goodluck Jonathan went live on Friday (13 February) and we hope to facilitate conversations between other political candidates and young people, so they can ask them face-to-face the questions they would like answers to.”

  On the encouraging participation of young people in the build up to the 2015 elections, Oksi said, “there’s undeniably more passion this time around, but I think young Nigerians have always been interested in the election process. Now especially, there are more opportunities to speak out particularly with the growth of social media platforms. This is certainly an important time to be heard and we hope this campaign will serve as a catalyst to encourage more involvement by the youth.”

   He continued: “ Choose or Lose is our umbrella campaign that we are running during this period. The campaign has different strands such as audience engagement via social media, the roundtable discussion and then the TV special with the President.  We hope that all of these can encourage more participation in the election process,” he said.