Tuesday 28 June 2011

Nigeria: A year of Goodluck Jonathan on Facebook

The coming of the Facebook President

Today, the 28th of June 2011, marks a year since President Goodluck Jonathan expanded his media engagement profile by joining Facebook.

Just about 2 weeks into his new-found catharsis that swept aside the mystique of untouchability that the coterie and entourage of helpers usually enshroud important Nigerians with, I wrote a review of this interesting and exciting development for NigeriansTalk titled Nigeria: Goodluck Jonathan on Facebook

In 11 days he had garnered 100,335 Facebook likes generating thousands of likes per status and just as many comments too.

Staggering numbers

In a year of Facebook social networking President Jonathan has published many Facebook statuses and Facebook notes, acknowledging contributions in his speeches, announcing personal and policy decisions using this as a platform that he apparently controls outside the strictures of officialdom and stifling protocol.

In the numbers game, Goodluck Jonathan has posted 317 actionable statuses, notes or posts up to the 24th of June 2011, his fans have commented on 255 of the posts and accumulated 576,535 in all, the highest number of comments being posted on the 25th of November 2010 where he expressed his loyalty thus:

I was loyal to my leader, the late great President Umaru Yar'adua. I am loyal to Nigeria, I don't claim to represent North, South or a Committee-I represent Nigeria. I am loyal to Nigeria's economy, I don't have accounts or property abroad, ALL my children live and school in Nigeria. I am loyal to my wife and friends. Can those who accuse me say the same? GEJ - 25 November 2010 at 17:06

10,206 people like this and view all 10,386 comments.

That was a very embracing statement that called for the unity of purpose in the entity called Nigeria and the identity Nigerian, it was a point quite well made and should be the gauntlet thrown down to those who snipe and carp at his every move.

It also defined him as a unique public figure Nigerian worthy of the emulation in the virtue of loyalty and pride in being Nigerian.

Getting engaged

One can see how Facebook has become part of the engagement strategy of the president when he said on 03 July 2010 at 08:11 I want to assure you that your feedback and comments on this page are important.

There was a stab at one of the Nigerian infrastructure problems – roads with this on 15 July 2010 at 09:06 “I've read your comments about the state of our roads particularly the Lagos-Benin, Abuja-Kaduna, Onitsha-Enugwu and Yola-Maiduguri roads. I've directed the Minister of Works to speed up repair works and report progress to me. I will not be satisfied with rhetorics (sic) and I will travel on Federal roads myself to see that Progress has been made. Loss of lives and man hours on our roads is just unacceptable and there must be progress. Under my leadership governmental activity must lead to practical results for the people not just on paper.” GEJ

From the AU Summit on 26 July 2010 at 08:23, he said of Nigeria’s role in Africa – “I am at the AU summit and from my meetings with African leaders at the political, business and social levels; it is reaffirmed to me that so many in Africa look up to Nigeria for leadership. And we must provide this leadership. We've no choice. Team Nigeria, of which we all belong, serves as a beacon that lights the way for our African brothers. The only way the rest of Africa will listen to Nigeria when she promotes African unity and brotherhood is if we lead by example.”

Elections, women and the youth

On 06 August 2010 at 06:58 as he forwarded a Supplementary Budget Bill to the National Assembly to cater for the funds requested by The INEC through its Chairman for the body to perform its duties, he suggested that “If on June 12 1993, Nigeria could conduct credible elections, there is absolutely no reason why we cannot conduct an even better election 18 years after.

As to engaging more women in politics, he said, “To demonstrate my belief that women are equal stakeholders in Nigeria as men, I recently appointed Prof Precious Kassey Garba as the first female Chief Economic Adviser to the President in Nigerian history. I hope this appointment as well as the performance of the Falconets at the recently concluded Female U-20 World Cup in Germany would spur women to enter the political arena and run for elective offices in 2011.” GEJ on 23 August 2010 at 08:07.

Soon afterwards, he had a message to the youth too, which he relayed on 25 August 2010 at 07:55, saying, “When we say that the youths are leaders of tomorrow we are really in fact limiting them and fail to do them justice. The human being is in his/her prime physically and mentally during the period of life we all love to describe as youth. And so rather than say the youths are leaders of tomorrow, I am more comfortable in saying that they are leaders of today and tomorrow.”

He went on to give examples of past leaders in their 30s who had lead Nigeria through tumultuous times.

Observations and intentions

With the security lapses and problems we have had recently, there are many who would seek the real action behind these words, “My fellow Nigerians, as I have said on this page and in public several times, the life of every Nigerian is the greatest of value to me. Your security is of utmost importance. The oath I swore to on the day I took office as President compels me to do what is proper in the interest of our country and citizens, therefore, I will use every constitutional power I have to protect the well-being of Nigerians and the Nigerian nation.10 September 2010 at 16:34

On the 15 September 2010 at 11:00 He posted the “Declaration of Intent For The 2011 Presidential Race.” On the 50th Anniversary of Nigeria’s independence he addressed the nation in a speech titled Building on the Foundations of Unity and Progress posted 01 October 2010 at 15:15 then touched on the matter of the Abuja bombings on 04 October 2010 at 11:00.

The pervasive world of the reality television genre did not escape the notice of the president as he sent congratulations on 18 October 2010 at 21:00 to Nigerian, Uti Nwachukwu who had won the 2010 edition of Big Brother Africa All Stars in South Africa.

Technology and polls

Advancements in technology usage as Total Radar Coverage of the Nigerian Airspace Project (TRACON) reported on 22 October 2010 at 16:57 made for hearty news about Nigeria not being left behind.

Typical of people who have engaged in the social networking space, the president launched a poll on 23 November 2010 at 23:55 to identify issues of concern to Nigerians, listing the following topics and off the 5,277 votes the distribution was.

1.: North/South dichotomy – 2%

2.: Corruption – 41%

3.: Power – 38%

4.: Insecurity – 7%

5.: Over dependence on oil – 5%

6.: Ethnic/Religious tensions/Indigene/Settler dichotomy – 4%

7.: Some other problem – 4%

Many of these issues had appeared in exchanges with the president over his Facebook engagement.

A commitment to educational development came on 22 December 2010 at 08:43 with a budget allocation to education three times that of defence.

When he was nominated as the presidential flag-bearer for the ruling party on 14 January at 18:19 he gave an address accepting the honour.

Knowing his Facebook onions

Into the New Year, the president was fully engaged in the electioneering process, the voter registrations, the campaign trail in which encountered tragedies, the elections, the signing of crucial bills and the Freedom of Information Act, his inauguration and the addressing of contemporary issues at home and abroad.

The President cannot be said to be digitally naïve, rather, either through his direct activities or those of his staff working in his stead, he seems to have a finger on the pulse of the nation and so it begs the question as what actions he is taking to address the matters that concern Nigerians all as we all expect him to perform well with the responsibility bestowed on him.

President Goodluck Jonathan does appear to have a really large and engaged following, far of the frivolities of the celebrity and deep in the seriousness of government and that can change Nigeria for the better.

Looking ahead

With the volume of data that he receives none of which I have attempted to review for the simple reason that Nigerians have not mastered the art of brevity, concision and the precise in getting to the point, I would suppose there are other eyes filtering the content and bringing the useful insights, ideas and inspiration to the President who occasionally mentions by name the contributors and commends the usefulness of their ideas.

As another year is tagged onto this Presidential Facebook odyssey, I doubt the volume of traffic will reduce, but for the many of us already overwhelmed with traffic from those we do know and engage with, this Facebook profile might just have the cursory glance and maybe subscribe via the RSS feed and that is just about enough.

One can however safely say, President Goodluck Jonathan is your quintessential Facebook savvy politician, very few others carry the kind of profile he has and maybe that is a good thing for representative and accountable government in Nigeria starting with the man at the helm.

This assessment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Facebook activities is published on NigeriansTalk and my blog http://akinblog.nl

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