49 is an elegant coffee-table book that tells an engaging visual story of the Election Planning & Monitoring Committee (EP&M) Directorate of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the All Progressive Congress (APC). It includes letters from the Presidency, speeches by Party Leaders, infographics, and electoral mappings. It displays the ambitious planning and highlights some of the backstories of the intense 49-day campaign that led to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB).
49 features a stunning portrait of the backstory of a campaign that people do not usually associate with an African election. Elections in Africa are usually synonymous with rigging and violence but that is never the full picture. The insights from this book provide an opportunity to see beyond the damaging single story of an African election. It showcases planning, strategy, hard work, teamwork, big data, technology and provides hope for an electoral process that although marred by a few hiccups, has great potential for the future.
Lukman Olanipekun, the lead photo-journalist behind the project lives to capture the truth about our political and social circumstances through simple yet iconic images. The rare images from 49 also highlight the role of bright young staffers in the situation room of the campaign. Rarely do we hear or see the back room of a campaign but through contributions from other amazing photographers such as Bayo Omoboriowo, Jesse Yakubu and Novo Isioro, 49 provides a glimpse of a human-centered story with unsung heroes from across the country. It is noteworthy that the presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari visited the situation room, which really boosted the morale of those young staffers. He’s also the only candidate that toured all 36 States of the country.
The book captures the technical part of running a directorate. It includes info-graphics on training, meetings held, 150 relentless staff including the call center volunteers, the analysts, the tech team, legal and research team’s asides the directorate, who dedicated their time and had sleepless nights just to achieve a seamless campaign and election process. This was just one directorate out of 13 directorates that were working round the clock to ensure victory was attained.
This book attempts to build reference points for future elections. It challenges and inspires us as a nation, to re-imagine our democracy as a system that is to be better designed and inclusive of talented young people and future leaders. We owe it to ourselves to be intentional about building institutional memory within the political party system, as this will help reform our political parties while setting a standard for excellence.
As Nigeria marks 20 years of uninterrupted democracy, there is a need to engineer what the next 20 years will look like.
Simi Fajemirokun- Project Director
Enjoy the read and explore the insights provided in this essential piece of history. Be sure to look out for the excitement in the air when we won, it might inspire you to join the next campaign.