Honestly, it will have no major effect on the actual votes to be cast but all major political parties are devoting a chunk of their campaign resources to these medium.
To give themselves a sense of acceptability, they rate their popularity among the electorates based on how many times their news or items mentioning them were retweeted or how many clicked like on their Facebook pages.
In other to beat each other to it, the ICT department of these candidates go extra mile to create online polls and put their candidate as the leading candidate to beat. Their e-warriors take this to town and bandy it like aphrodisiac in the presence of a celebrate monk.
At the wake of 2023 political party primaries, the supporters of Peter Obi, took to Social media, bullying people with the sole aim of dominating the social media space.
If you disagree with them or remind them that Obi was part of the Dubai team of PDP that claimed PDP won 2019 Presidential Election, based on the back end server of INEC, insults they call “wotowoto” were hauled at you and if you don’t have the staying power, you abandon the space or you avoid any post that will paint their god in any human fallible color.
Once these threats get out of hand, Obi gets off his high horse and visit the celebrity that was “wotowoto-ed” or declare that he is not responsible for the rude behaviors of “angry Nigerian youths” who want change.
But now, other candidates have come up with e-forces worthy of meeting their online challenges, they are calling for issue based campaign.
The attempt to manipulate social media perception, got to a ridiculous end last week, when the campaign DG of a candidate claimed that his candidate has an already guaranteed 15 million votes from Social Media.
It is believed that this is the projected result by Obi’s team and social media would be used to announce this figure, before INEC would have tabulated the results from all states of the federation.
Okupe forgets that Social Media, is not a constituency and users are not homogeneous but have different motivating factors to be on social media.
Before this bogus claim by Okupe, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP had stated that over 90% of Northern voters are not on social media.
A rudimentary research using the Nigeria Digital Data 2022 report by datareportal, shows that there were 32.90 million active social media users in Nigeria as of January 2022; equivalent to 15.4 per cent of the country’s total population put at 214.1 million in the report.
According to the data, Facebook and Facebook messenger had 26.10 million and 4.05 million users respectively; Instagram had 9.05 million users; YouTube had 32.90 million users; LinkedIn had 6.30 million members; Snapchat had 9.50 million users and Twitter had 325.4 thousand users.
Though the national population census has not been carried out since 2006; but the current population of Nigeria is 216,687,552 as of Thursday, July 28, 2022, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data, which was also published on the National Population Commission (NPC) website.
However, the Nigeria Population Projection and Demographic Indicators-State and National, published by the NPC in 2020, stated that the country’s total population is expected to be 216,783,381 by 2022.
Based on the projection analysed by The FactCheckHub, North Central has a population of 31,613,217; North-West has 60,150,348, and North-East has a population of 30,541,872 people.
Though there is no publicly available data which provides the estimate of social media users based on region or according to states of the Nigerian federation, a report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) titled “Telecoms Data: Active Voice and Internet per State” shows that a total of 145,851,496 Nigerians were active on the internet in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the data, Northern states account for 68,531,602 of the population of internet subscribers in the country. North Central records 27,476,820 internet subscribers, while North West records 26,912,492 internet subscribers. North East, which had the lowest subscribers in the region, records 14,142,290 internet subscribers.
What these data do not show, is how many of these internet users have PVC, Card carrying members of a political party and how many internet accounts are owned by a person?
It is a known fact that an average Nigerian internet user, has an account in at least 3 social media platforms.
Against this backdrop, it is doubtful the claim by Doyin Okupe that his principal, has guaranteed 15 million votes from Social Media. Also questionable, is Atiku’s claim that over 90% Northerns are not on Social media.