The role of social media in governance cannot be downplayed in the 21st Century. It can make or mar a government, destroy or pummel its reputation and at the same time serve as a perfect engagement tool with the citizenry.
However, it seems various governments in Nigeria at both the central and state level are yet to fathom this fact.
President Muhammad Buhari was on an official visit to Lagos and of course, it was the trending issue last week. For the President, the visit may have been a success offline but online, it was a disaster.
Information and counter information was flying all over social media especially on Twiter. Tweets and counter-tweets from the President’s Twitter handle showed a total lack of co-ordination of the social media President’s social media team. They resulted in making clarifications. These social media handlers of the President further sank a bit of goodwill some Nigerians had for the President.
First was the picture of supermodel Naomi Campbell with PMB that appeared online. The only question on the minds of many Nigerians was What was she doing with the President?
Instead of the social media handlers of the President to control the narrative and the social discuss, they left Nigerians to conjure all sorts of opinion before they reacted.
The backlash was further fueled by Campbell’s tweet that she was invited by the President.
She later deleted the above tweet and tweeted another to align with the President’s clarification. Sadly, the damage had been done!
Was a pleasure to meet His Excellency The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to the launch of Eko Atlantic. HERE FOR ARISE FASHION WEEK pic.twitter.com/Wme3BRGvp3
— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) March 30, 2018
For the sake of clarity, President @MBuhari didn’t invite Ms. Naomi Campbell to any event during his 2-day visit to Lagos State. They only met at the Eko Atlantic City while Mr. President was touring the project, and she requested to take photos with him.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) March 30, 2018
Who is lying now? Me sef go like Naomi Campbell for the night. Hey Buhari if you finish Abeg pass Campbell come my side. Me sef na tax payer. And we go follow enjoy the tax. pic.twitter.com/GCXD0Xrvgc
— Duru Chibuzor eric (@DuruchibuzorE) March 30, 2018
The dust was yet to settle for the Naomi Campbell episode that the one of whether PMB toured or commissioned the Eko Atlantic City emerged. This pitted the Lagos State Government and the Federal government against each other.
Recall that in 2013, Goodluck Jonathan, Bill Clinton, and Babatunde Fashola have commissioned the same Eko Atlantic City.
What happened? The Lagos governor, @Akinwunmi Ambode had tweeted that PMB took a tour of the Eko Atlantic City and he officially commissioned the project.
The tweet has now been deleted.
Again, the Presidency had to come out to make clarifications that PMB did not commission the City. But the damage had already been done.
President @MBuhari did not commission or launch Eko Atlantic City. His visit was a tour, as part of his 2-day Official Visit to Lagos State, and the plaque he unveiled was to commemorate the visit to the site. https://t.co/DaYE1MdWDa
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) March 31, 2018
Folks handling @NGRPresident 's itinerary are beyond inept.
Is it that NONE of them were alive in 2013 when @GEJonathan commissioned the very same Eko Atlantic that @MBuhari just commissioned?
Why do they insist on ridiculing the man? As for Buhari, come on, do better man. pic.twitter.com/ELhshVcvTp
— Mr. Aye Dee (@MrAyeDee) March 30, 2018
Truth be told, the president does not know what he did at Eko Atlantic city. Whether commissioning or launching the guy doesn't know…. All that he knows is that he was at Eko Atlantic city and was in company of Naomi Campbell
— nsikan john (@nsajo) March 31, 2018
Clear your doubt, it was a visit pic.twitter.com/d7ki0cpDf8
— Dabibi Lasbury (@lasbury123) April 2, 2018
APC and Buhari have lost it. It’s now one faux pas per day. Honestly. We were discussing the Lagos misery on Thursday. Friday was Naomi Campbell. Now, Saturday, we have Eko Atlantic City controversy on our hands. Everyone just all over the place.This Buhari govt is in a shambles!
— Fisayo Soyombo (@fisayosoyombo) March 31, 2018
We know that it is not PMB or Ambode who are handling their social media accounts. However, the lack of coordination, especially from the centre, is very obvious. It will be nice to ensure that due diligence is carried out before any tweet is sent by any government social media handles.
Hopefully, the President will take note of this and better coordinate its social media team. But truth be told, the President’s visit to Lagos was no doubt a social media disaster!
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