About a week ago, a Nigerian based in Indonesia who usually promotes the country and the government of Muhammadu Buhari, Nurudeen Adeyemi made a post on his LinkedIn account about the recent launch of the first ever purpose built hydrographic survey vessel by the Nigerian Navy. The survey vessel was meant to enhance maritime safety in the Nigerian water and the Gulf of Guinea. According to Adeyemi, the new vessel replaces the decommissioned NNS LANA and is scheduled to join the Nigerian Navy Fleet in 2021. In the post, he stated that Made-in-Nigeria ships and boats contributed $3.2bn to the Nigerian economy in 2019 which is 5.9% exports after mineral fuels including oil which contributes $46.7bn which is 87.1% exports.
This piece of news that should ordinarily excite any Nigerian became a tug of war between the poster and his online audience on LinkedIn. However, analysis has shown that the Indonesian-based Nigerian made a post that focused on both the country and its naval forces. The post, according to analysis, paid attention to the country, the Navy and the vessels (See Exhibit 1). The post also has an equal share of positive and neutral sentiments even though the overall sentiment is positive (See Exhibit 2).
Exhibit 1: The link between the words in the post (Source: Adebiyi (2019); Adeyemi (2019))
However, comments that trailed the post suggested Nigerians are divided on this achievement. From excitement, indifference, cynicism to doubt, the emotional responses to the feat varied. Nigerians who commented on the post have shown where they lean as far as the country’s progress and growth is concerned. Ambrose Orogun Sinr was among the first to congratulate the country on the history made. ‘’I have always trusted the Professionalism of the Nigeria Navy. Congratulations!”, he said. Another commenter, Bamidele Lawal who is a Marine Engineer by the check on his profile said “I feel Nigeria as a country should be able to build a survey boat. I see the vessel it’s not more than 20 meters which means more than 6 shipyards in Nigeria including Naval Dockyard VI and Naval Shipyard PH can build a vessel of 20 meters seamlessly. It’s not so good that we celebrate a vessel made in France for Nigeria with all the Shipyards in Nigeria. The question is when this vessel needs to be maintained it would now be brought to those shipyards within Nigeria that we feel can’t build a vessel less than 40 meters.”
Exhibit 2: Sentiment Polarity of the Post (Source: Adebiyi (2019); Adeyemi (2019))
This was followed by another comment from Engr Babatunde Segun who felt wonderful with the news. He exclaimed “This is absolutely wonderful. You never know that such a thing can happen in this country. This is a good step for this administration. If we can invest more in ourselves, the sky will be the limit. Let’s develop our Engineers, many more can come. Private investors can do more than this, not only government.”
A comment from Alexandra Tchomte threw a spanner in the belief expressed in the post. She said “Please, I worked for the Nigeria’s navy. This vessel is NOT built by Nigeria. We should stop misinforming people. Nigeria has the means to build it but our politics are nonsense.” The argument began from there with people going back and forth on the issue.
In conclusion, the post has given rise to a number of questions on the level of belief and trust by Nigerians in the ability of the government to drive the country’s growth and progress.