Despite the recent noise and chaos in Nigeria politics and government for the past few months, there seems to be a growing new trend of political leaders using social media to connect with people. Unlike the past decade where people don’t have access to top government officials or leaders (except you are a journalist), social media is now making it convenient for both the government and the governed to interact easily.
In the past, the conventional method for political leaders to interact with the people have been through community meetings, town hall discussions and community representatives. The leaders believe that they can understand the needs and wants of the people through this indirect method. Many times most of the said approaches are not effectively used or not used at all due to a number of factors ranging from tight schedules of the leaders, lack of awareness to the people and political beliefs.
The year 2019 has been amazing, as it witnessed the growth of the online community in Nigeria and even the government and it stakeholders have not been left out. Looking at the just concluded election, political leaders interacted with the Nigeria populace using mediums such as Facebook and Twitter greatly. The social media space was the perfect platform to spread their messages since half of the Nation are currently in the online community.
Arguably, The Youths are considered to be the active users of the Internet for social interaction. These group of people are the ones who cannot do without the Internet. Many of the youth are constantly looking for a way to connect or interact with everyone in different part of the Globe. With the youth having the highest percentage in the population of Nigeria, they are the ones with frequent conversation on social media, and the one to be in the future (Future Generation)
This article is focused on how Seyi Makinde, Oyo state governor is using social media to connect with people. The young governor, who has just begun his term few months ago achieved a mountable feat by dethroning a political party in his state. Deploying many approach to his political campaign, Makinde leverage on social media to win the hearts of the people. He was able to create forums and discussion with his people easily and reach out to them gaining many followers and loyalist all-round the state.
This approach allowed him to understand the issues that mattered to the people, instead of working with deliberations and innuendo, like most leaders. Makinde understood what the people really needed and build his entire administration to tackle these problems. The ability to interact and create discussions with his people has allowed the governor to solve the problems of the state and position them well in the world map. Indeed connecting on social media should be an important action of every political leader that want to remain relevant in the future.
Indeed, one outstanding social media step of the governor is having a LinkedIn Account. Most leaders I know make use of Twitter to communicate with people (While they don’t use this well). Makinde uses his LinkedIn page to provide information about his administration, and highlights key developments happening in the state. The platform has also allowed him to engage and interact with professional stakeholders that can one way or the other add value to his state.
As a concerned citizen, I can say much about him because of my interaction with his regular post on LinkedIn. His social media presence has not gone unnoticed as he gains more followers both internationally and locally. Seyi Makinde is a true example of how government has connected with many people through social media making governance more productive and relevant.
This article is not intended to celebrate the governor but to show what his doing right and how this can be adopted by other leaders in Nigeria. Although, many of the leaders may claim to have an active presence on social media, realistically this is not true.
If we have our leaders actively engage in social media, the Nigeria society can truly and really develop. The people would be able to reach out to their leaders, therefore giving room for better policy formulation, actions and decisions by the leaders. The harm that interacting on social media could pose is very minimal. In fact there seems to be no clear damage that government interaction on social media can cause currently.
With this, I call on Nigeria Leaders to try and emulate what the Oyo state governor is doing and improve on it. Social media can be an interesting and new way to facilitate governance since people can be easily reached and influenced making a better society.