During the last general election held in Nigeria on 23rd, February 2019 to elect the President , Vice President , The House of Representative and Senate. A factsheet on the 2019 General Election revealed that there were 84 million registered voters out of which 72 million voters collected their Permanent Voter Cards.
Discovered that, Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Facebook and Twitter tend to provide news faster than most news channels today.
The number of internet users in Nigeria keeps growing every year. Statistics show that more than 90 million active users of the Internet will come from Nigeria in 2019. These fantastic numbers will only increase the popularity of social media networks.
In 2018, Nigeria had 92.3 million internet users. This figure is projected to grow to 187.8 million internet users in 2023. The internet penetration amounted to 47.1 percent of the population in 2018 and is set to reach 84.5 percent in 2023.
Internet usage in Nigeria
Nigeria is one of the most populous countries worldwide. In the most recently measured period, there were almost 50 million mobile internet users in Nigeria, and mobile phone internet usage is particularly popular.
Thus, it will be wide of the mark to say that role of social media in politics in Nigeria has been inevitable over the years, but in 2015 social media attained a major feat based on the number of online interaction, online communications, numbers of user-generated content ( infographics, videos, Gifs, Articles..) and how social media ( Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) was used so effectively by Nigerian users during the elections is what inspired this article in the first place also to understand the impact of social media on the Nigerian politics.
At first, a good number of the population were reluctant earlier. But they became active as internet-savvy Nigerians were so involved in the trend of news during the pre-election, election and post-election stages, it helped them keep up with more information before going out to vote for their favourite candidates.
In addition, all the aspirants for different public offices escalated their campaign by taking it to various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram e.t.c
The study shows that Twitter was the most active and popular platform as the medium became the key ingredient for the success of most active political parties and candidates who participated actively in the elections.
Using the hashtag #NigeriaDecides INEC was able to monitor social media posts and engage the voters, without leaving out the #GEJ VS #GMB which generated thousands of conversation on various social platforms.
It is glaring that the extent by which voters are active on their social profile has seen a drastic increase in last few years.
Young politicians of Nigeria have adopted social media because they know that is where today’s youth is. Thus, advocating the role of social media in political campaigns to a great extent. Social media has influenced politics and it has also increased the interest of Nigerians in politics.
Even though politicians for their campaign still use posters, cut-outs, fliers, and personal rallies to reach and win over voters but with the social media changing the picture Politics in Nigeria, political parties are becoming more engaging and realizing that social media is the only way to reach out to the youth.
Here is the good news about social media, the message has become more important than the messenger.
But then, It’s one thing to tweet about a political event or post a missive on Facebook, but the impact of those civic actions is often minimal unless that energy is transferred to the real world.
The last held election has proven that “ population is not power for Nigerian youths as long as our people are poor and uneducated because majority of voters are not technologically savvy. The (middle class, low class) status. Most of Elites and technologically savvy Nigerians don’t exercise their civic right as expected.
Social media can only shape narratives but it takes more than social media to change a nation.
What are your thoughts?