SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS USED BY NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT

The global social media can be said to come into limelight by Friendster (2002), LinkedIn (2003), MySpace (2003), Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), and Google Plus (2007), amongst others. In Nigeria, according to incumbent-governmental affairs, the year 2011 was the birth of social media as championed by the (then) president to announce his presidential reelection. Albeit, his core contender—Muhammadu Buhari— has been living in this world of social media since June 2009. In September 2009, Buhari asked on his Facebook page, “Do you want Buhari to run in 2011?”

With the adventure of the (then) sitting president into the world of social media, several ministries did follow suit; perhaps they thought if the president can take the lead, then we should not be caught waiting. Hence the influx of governmental ministries into the world of social media.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, joined Facebook in 2012, and can as well be followed on channels which includes Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Google Plus. The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture joined Facebook in the year 2012, and can also be followed on Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram.

The National Assembly is not lagging behind in this race of raise—of gaining advanced notice from people that cannot be viewed from a stone’s throw. The Assembly has a Twitter handle (@nassnigeria), also followed by the Senate arm (@NGRSenate), and the Senate president; Bukola Saraki can be followed @bukolasaraki. Other senators with Twitter handle includes, Gbenga Ashafa (@SenGbengaAshafa), Isiaka Adeleke (@IsiakaAdeleke1), Babajide Omoworare (@jideomoworare), Shehu Sani (@Shehusani), Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce), amongst others.

The grains of gains in Nigeria’s social media is not free from stains. In 2015, this so-called assignment developed into a proposed ‘Social Media Bill currently being debated in the senate seeking to restrict Nigerians from “criticizing” political and public office holders’.
(Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/12/buhari-tells-senate).This bill was sponsored by the senate majority leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’ Allah “seeking two years imprisonment with an option of two million naira fine for Nigerians who post abusive statements on social media.” The bill has already been passed for second reading. In this case, who shall be the judge of what becomes abusive?

With many unsmiling attacks from the populace to this bill, Mr. President has already distanced himself from the bill, and has said that,

“…the principle of the bill was inconsistent with democratic ideals free speech enshrined in the constitution of the land. He added that he had sworn to protect and uphold the dictates of the constitution and would not in any way go against it.”

As the Nigerian people await the end-result of this faintly executive-legislature fiasco, it cannot be an understatement to assert that social media, which crept into governmental social life, has find a comfortable abode in the hands and hearts of a reasonable number of government parastatals.

The importance of this media to the government has been enhancing the larger percentage of the people (so long they have the facility) to be vast in the happening of government activities. It is not every one that can have access into a public meeting, and now with the use of social media platforms, larger number of people have been able to participate in gatherings that added more voices.  – Ola Olamakinde, Nigeria

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