Learner’s Submission: Social Media Channels Used by the Federal Government of Nigeria

“It has to be admitted that the advent of Social Media in Nigeria was not well received at first. It was grossly underestimated and generally regarded as “gossip platforms”. But time moves fast and it changes a lot of things in the process. That era has now gone, and a new era has been ushered in. In this new era, virtually everyone now understands the importance of Social Media in the 21st Century. Social Media, without a doubt, has become the news source of numerous Nigerians, so much so that traditional news contents are often stale and are gradually losing their usual value. People no longer depend on traditional news sources to get the latest news in the country, thanks to Citizen Journalism on various Social Media platforms.

And so, upon realising the importance and the increasing influence of the Social Media, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, on May 15th, 2010, opened a Facebook page. He then followed that with the release of a 357-page book with the title: ‘My Friends And I – Conversations On Policy And Governance Via Facebook’. The book is a documentation of conversations between the President and Nigerian citizens, seeking feedback, and engaging Nigerians at home and abroad in what turned out to be a quality dialogue on Nigeria’s development process. CNN reportedly tag him ‘The Facebook President.

The page is consistently updated with government activities and news; and if, for instance, one missed the President’s speech, the President’s official Facebook page becomes his next resort. Media houses also keep tab on the page as part of their duties to keep members of the public informed about happenings in government.

Also, in September of 2014, the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS) launched its official Facebook and Twitter pages. The Daily Post wrote thus:

‘Customs authorities said they recognise the importance of Social Media platforms, their influence on international trade and as such were poised to meet their stakeholders on popular platforms to share information that will facilitate trade and boost the economy.’

With the above analysis, one can see that the importance of Social Media to the Nigerian Government cannot be over-emphasised. This is because the average Nigerian uses internet enable mobile phone, and are equally registered on various Social Media platforms. It follows then that the easiest way of reaching such a people is via the Social Media where feedback is instant!” – Elias Ozikpu – Lagos, Nigeria

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