Adebola Williams – The Election Genius in Africa Every Politician Covets
“He is the man with the golden touch. Everything he touches turns to gold.” Adebola Williams is the “he” every politician in Africa is talking about.
These are the words of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, which he stated publicly about Adebola Williams, who helped him clinch victory. Adebola has so far helped three presidential candidates win elections. But who exactly is Adebola Williams and what is his strategy?
At only 32-years-old Adeobla Williams has an impressive resume as a youth leader.
Adebola Williams is a young media entrepreneur from Nigeria, turning just 32 years old this coming March. Since he was young, he desired to be on television, and at the age of 17, his dream started to take shape after he landed a job on Nigeria’s NTA Network co-hosting a youth program named “Youth Talk.” By the time he was 19 years old, he started producing his own program called “Nigeria International.”
(Watch: Adebola Williams speaks at WASH Gala, where he charged attendees and diaspora Africans to take on the work of building and shaping the African continent at home and abroad).
Williams first political campaign is for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2011, Williams began working with StateCraft Inc., a political communications company belonging to former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan. Williams says he agreed to work for him because he seemed to appreciate the importance of youth participation in national matters, such as elections. While campaigning for Jonathan, Williams presented him as a mindful and all-inclusive leader who paid particular attention to the African youth community. Jonathan won the presidency.
Adebola Williams switches teams and campaigns for Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria.
In 2014, Williams left Goodluck Jonathan and joined the campaign for Muhammadu Buhari, an opposing figure during Jonathan’s campaign. Williams stated that he switched loyalty primarily because he felt that Jonathan’s administration had fallen short in many areas, and that he needed to be voted out of office.
Now campaigning for Buhari, he again presented him to the African youth demographic as a down-to-earth and humane leader. Through his political communications agency, he photographed and posted to social media numerous photos of Buhari engaging in various youth-related activities. This resonated well with African youth to the point where the majority associated him as their preferred candidate. Buhari won the presidency in 2014.
After multiple solicitations, Adebola Williams’ opts to work with Ghana Presidential candidate, Nana Afuko-Addo, the eventual winner.
In 2015, Ghana held elections, and following Williams’ growing popularity and success, the main presidential contestants rushed to recruit him for their own campaigns. With due analysis, Williams chose to go with Nana Akufo-Addo.
Once again, Williams’ intention was to make Akufo-Addo identifiable with African youth. He says he marketed him with everything that easily resonates with youth and is likely to attract votes; examples include focus in music and art. Akufo-Addo went ahead to win the election.
Williams says his strategy has mainly consisted of focus on the African youth demographic. He notes that, throughout the world, the youth have been shown to have power in determining the outcome of elections. Sadly, leaders usually don’t have a proper strategy to include them in either their campaigns or in their plans for government. As a result, youth feel left out and have actually developed apathy for elections. Others have developed hate for politics without even understanding how they work.
As things are right now, it is evident that Adebola Williams has discovered a successful model for campaigning to the youth. The question is, can his model be successfully replicated outside Africa and has Adebola Williams garnered enough attention to attract politicians from the rest of the world?