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Power of social media in Nigeria politics

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By Samuel Abimbola

Internet provides more opportunities to shape the political landscape.

Social Media generated new political participation trends and changed political communication patterns. According to Tortorella, social media is an instrument of communication where a large range of websites enables people to interact with one another. These internet are social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and X. Social media provides more opportunities to reach a community, target specific audiences and give chances to interact with users. Social media plays a vital role in allowing politicians and citizens to reach out to one another and provide them with the information they need in a very accessible way.

Media and Politics have always been intertwined in Nigeria, as in many other countries worldwide. The power of information in shaping public opinion and influencing political outcomes cannot be underestimated in a democratic society. In Nigeria, the internet plays a crucial role in shaping the political landscape by covering political events, parties, and personalities. The relationship between the internet and politics in Nigeria is complex and multifaceted. On the one hand, the internet serves as a watchdog, holding politicians and government officials accountable for their actions and decisions.

Nigeria has 156 million internet users, over half the population.

According to the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), as of February 2023, Nigeria had 156 million active internet subscribers, more than half of the country’s population. This means that many Nigerians are now using various internet platforms. These platforms have changed politics and elections, allowing people to engage and share their opinions freely. According to Statista, Nigeria has approximately 32.9 million active internet users. Social media has become crucial for political campaigns and engaging with Nigerians, particularly the youth.

The Internet has helped inform people about the new electoral act before the elections and motivated even non-voters to participate. It has also played a key role in raising awareness about obtaining Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), facilitating election monitoring and information sharing, and allowing for a broader range of opinions in Nigeria and the diaspora. The rise of the internet has led to the formation of more online political groups and pages. These groups and pages provide a platform for virtual meetings from any location, enabling people to express their views and participate in politics.

Politicians have gained popularity through the internet across the country.

Also, the recent election demonstrated the power of the internet. Information was shared, positive and negative attitudes were expressed, and individuals reported election results in real time, allowing for greater transparency and accountability in the electoral process. The Internet has also enabled Nigerians to learn more about political leaders, their past statements, legal cases, political achievements, and records. A centralised government database could enhance this process by providing comprehensive information on every citizen. Politicians across various positions have seen a significant increase in their social media followers, particularly on platforms like X, which has become a popular and engaging platform for political discourse.

On the other hand, the Internet in Nigeria is also often influenced by political interests and biases. Politicians or political parties may own or control media outlets, leading to biased reporting and propaganda. In a country like Nigeria, where Corruption and nepotism are widespread, the internet can be used as a tool for manipulation and Misinformation. This can have serious consequences for the democratic process, as it undermines the public’s trust in the internet and the political system as a whole.

Related Article: Social media becomes news content platform

Overall, the Internet plays a crucial role in shaping the political landscape in Nigeria through its coverage of political events, parties, and personalities. The power of information in influencing public opinion and political outcomes cannot be underestimated in a democratic society. However, the internet in Nigeria is often influenced by political interests and biases, which can undermine its credibility and integrity. It is important for the media to uphold ethical standards, promote transparency and accountability, and serve as a watchdog on government power. Only by doing so can the media fulfil its role as a vital pillar of democracy in Nigeria.


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