Political Advertising and Smear Campaigns
Political advertising is a crucial element in the political life of every nation. This is so because it holds the key to effective sensitization and mobilization of the citizens of any given polity. As a crucial political tool, it has often been used and abused by the political class. In Nigeria, the intensity of abuses in electioneering political advertisements has become a worrisome development. In the light of the above observation, this paper sets out to review political advertising practices, with particular attention to smear campaigns in the country’s political history. Adopting the content review method of research, the paper traces the etymology of smear campaigns in Nigeria, explores its taxonomy and examines the various dimensions of it; including probable causes. The study argues that the smear campaign is not an alien concept in Nigerian politics, neither is its practice peculiar to the country’s political class. It concludes that smear campaign is a necessary political evil, and recommends, among other things, an urgent restructuring of the country’s political landscape, as that will go a long way in ushering a new era in which political advertising practices would be devoid of ethno-religious, regional and frivolous sentiments.