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CRA urges government, businesses to monitor new variant of populism amongst the youth

One of Africa’s leading Public Relations and Communications Consulting firms, Chain Reactions Africa has called on government and businesses in Nigeria to keep an eye on the rising wave of a new variant of populism amongst the youth as it could upend both government and businesses.

The rise of this new variant of populism has been described by the organisation as challenging for governments and business all over the world and the present administration in Nigeria and businesses must make diligent efforts to study it and understandit. The consulting firm made this disclosure during the public presentation of the distillation edition of its periodic report, known as, the Neuroscience of Nigerian Youth Trends and Culture Report fittingly themed, “Aramanda” at a colourfulceremony held in Lagos on Wednesday at one of the cinema halls of the iconic EbontLife Place, Victoria Island.

Speaking on this variant of populism described as “popumoblism”, Adekunle Dixon Odukoya, Group Strategy Director of the consulting firm sited many examples of this variant of populism from across the world beginning from the Arab spring, the recent pension protests in Paris; the demonstrations that rocked Tel Aviv in Israel, the Black Lives Matter, the EndSARS protests and the highly divisive character of the toxic narratives which pervaded the air during the recent 2023 elections in Nigeria manifestations of this variant of populism.

The event was well-attended by notable multi-sectoral industry stakeholders, top government functionaries; corporate decision makers; prominent personalities in the Nigerian marketing communications industry; and the media. The Governor of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat were represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosoand his counterpart in the Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende respectively.

Also speaking at the event, Managing Director/Chief Strategist, Chain Reactions Africa, Israel Opayemi, explained that the report has been titled, ‘Aramanda’ to typify the baffling character of the mystique surrounding behavioural evolution within the youth population which he says can be perplexing for government and businesses unless intentionally studied and understood by those responsible for policy and business decision making in government and on the side of businesses.

“What this distillation edition of this report is about is to present to stakeholders what we have been studying for a number ofyears, which is that we have been tracking trends within the youth population not only in Nigeria but across Africa. Youth Trends and Culture simply point to the emerging believe system, the things that the young the people are doing now and the way they behave. So, we have been tracking these behavioral patterns as a consulting firm. Our trend spotters, cultural anthropologists, neuroscientists and strategists have been tracking behavioural patterns, distilling them into data, and this is impacting businesses and governments and to some extent upending them,” Opayemi explained.

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“Why are we tracking trends? Why are we tracking culture? There is a saying that culture will eat strategy for breakfast. No matter how intelligent the people in government are, unless they understand the emerging trends and cultures within their own jurisdiction, then their policies are bound to fail, and this is what we are doing to help the Nigerian government, to help the respective State governments to be able to understand the trends that are emerging in the society and in the continent so that government is able to plan policies that are in line with these trends’’.

“We are studying the trends and we’re saying to brands as well as government to study these things because once you study these trends you can never go wrong.  This is how the youth are now thinking and for as long as you can understand how they think, then you will probably be able to know the type of shirtsthey would love to wear and produce them. That’s the same thing we’re saying to government. Unless you have people who are helping you interpret culture, people who are helping you interpret trends, then it might be very difficult,” Opayemi counselled.

In his remarks the representative of the Lagos State DeputyGovernor, the Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Hon. Mobolaji Ogunlende affirmed the importance of the youth population in the society saying, “we have to bring the youths into the ecosystem. We have no choice.  The youths have a major role to play and they are already playing that role. But the government and business institutions have to recognize this new reality; it can be mind-boggling, it can be confusing, but it is what it is, and it is all about accommodating each other because a lot of what the youths are saying is, engage us, be there for us, we want to know that you are hearing us.”

The distillation edition of the report also focused on five other key trends namely “Afriverse” which captures the rise ofAfrocentric consciousness amongst Nigerian youth; “E Go Better” which captures the resilient character of the Nigerian youth in the face of doing business in a challenging economy like ours; Orisa Meta which captures the preoccupation of the Nigerian youth with Metaverse and the realm of alternate reality where they see the world like an orderly utopian state of nature;“YouManity” which refers to the growing preoccupation of the youth with self, a trend which has spiked a boom in what is now called the “The New Me Economy” exemplified by the growing consciousness of Nigerian youths with health and wellness, Spa business, beauty and care business amongst others,

This special distillation edition of the Youth Trends and Culture Report is the third Chain Reactions Africa has released since 2014 when it first launched the initiative to help government and businesses understand the under currents of behaviours within the population in Nigeria and Afirca. 

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