News / Africa

Social Media Play Big Role in Nigeria’s Elections

Young people use Twitter and Facebook to ask candidates about their policies

Multimedia

Audio

A vibrant and tech savvy youth population is influencing the electoral process in Nigeria. The oil-producing West African nation is holding much anticipated legislative, presidential and gubernatorial elections this month.

With the growing penetration of Internet and telephone technology, the electorate has embraced social media platforms that are becoming increasingly popular around the world. In fact, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, nicknamed “The Facebook President,” first announced his candidacy on the popular social networking site.

Statistics show that more than 90 million Nigerians own mobile phones and millions more have access to the Internet.

Many Nigerians have used the new technologies to ask the various candidates about their policies, said Tola St. Matthew-Daniel, a Nigerian graduate student in Paris. St. Matthew-Daniel has been involved in a campaign to get Nigerian youth involved in the elections – by using social media to get them to register to vote.

Activism and mobilization of the youth

She recently worked with a coalition of youth groups to organize the first presidential debate to speak to youth issues. Social media are “a game changer,” she said, that have allowed candidates to engage their voter base like never before.

“You had them tweeting about what happened at a press conference…. They uploaded pictures; they commented on things like the weather…. It is something that they are using to stay in tune and in contact with their voting base,” she said.

Fad or revolution?

Many election watchers across the continent realize that social media is not just a fad but a genuine revolution. That may be one reason why media like Facebook were embraced by President Jonathan and his main challenger, Muhammadu Buhari.

African politicians, said St.Matthew-Daniel, “use it to refute misinformation…make campaign announcements…. I think they realize that it’s a new reality.”

Social media are also being used to monitor the electoral process in real time.

“People are turning Facebook and Twitter to give firsthand accounts of their different experiences at polling centers. “People are paying attention to it.” said St. Matthew-Daniel

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid