Social media may yet change governance in Africa

Social media may yet change governance in Africa

I have recently had to answer many questions from friends and contemporaries, seeking to understand why I decided to join social media and expose myself to potential fire from young Nigerians. This is mostly because people who have known me for a long time know me to be a rather quiet person.

But the reality is that over the last months, I have learned that the positives of social media participation far outweigh the negatives.

Social media is where young people, the bulk of Nigeria’s population, gather to share their thoughts, often venting their frustrations with the inefficiencies of the country.

I may not always like what is written about me; indeed some commenters could be very insulting. Our society has always been one where older people expect a lot of respect from younger people, so the relative equality of voice that social media provides may shock newcomers to the platforms.

Overall, social media has allowed me to listen a diverse array of Nigerian voices without filters.

I am going to guess that colleagues in public service may see social media as a threat, and indeed seek to censor social media networks. But I think such an attempt would be a mistake.

Instead of censoring social media, governments need to see them as an opportunity to listen directly to their constituency. The conversations on social media represent a gold mine of data and reference for performance. The reality is that leaders can test opinions using social media, and more importantly, can generate and collate ideas and solutions from their constituency by putting their thoughts out in social media.

Not all ideas on social media are good, and leaders sometimes leaders have to make tough decisions which are unpopular. Indeed that is the point of being a leader, being able to filter through multitudes of voices to make the right decision. However, it is good to see social media as a resource. A 24-hour focus group, which can yield fine ideas for every political leader.

Leadership can only improve where there is an active participation of the led. The active participation of young people on social media, and the continuous interest in how the nation is governed can only lead to improvements in government. I am personally more conscious of my public actions of late, because my presence on social media means I have to give an account of my actions – a responsibility which is self regulated simply because I am aware of the access that the platforms have how provided.

I am now spending most of my free time reading, writing and engaging on social media, and learning. The responses surely is providing feedback which is helping me to make decisions, including my recent scholarship competition.

In the last few months, what I have learned is that this social media rise is happening across Africa. That can only be a good thing. It is very possible that this generation will change the future of Africa because of the availability of more information.

However, young people also must learn to be patient and strategic in the use of their social media. Driving change will need a continuous push and pull on the leadership. If the pressure is not consistent, the leaders young people are seeking to influence will become dense and disregard social media voices as noise, without action. To drive change through social media, the key qualities young people will also need to learn are consistency and doggedness, because politically, that is the only way to survive.

Social media is a powerful organizing tool in perfecting and protecting our democracy moving forward. Together we can ensure dignity for all Nigerians by combatting corruption, creating economic opportunity for our youth and securing our communities. I look forward to continuing my engagement and listening to Nigerians (yes, even the critics!) as we strive for a brighter future.

Tagged with ,
This post was written by

65 Comments on "Social media may yet change governance in Africa"

  • oj says

    If the pressure is not consistent, the leaders young people are seeking to influence will become ‘SENSE’ and disregard social media voices as noise, without action.

    did you mean ‘nonsense’ in the sentence above? very Good article BTW

    • Ali bdulkadir says

      The word is ‘dense’ which also means ‘stupid’ informally. I agree absolutely, this is an informed write up on the importance of the social media in our quest for better governance.

    • very positive step from an epitome of a democrat.Turakin Adamawa

    • OSYTA.N. says


    • ArsenalMan says

      dense, not sense my dear

  • Prince Oke Oluwarotimi Michael says

    I wish other leaders will join the social media soon. Thank you so much sir. A leader must be able to take all the positive and negative comments and must be so humble enough to respond without any ill feelings.

  • tajudeen says

    Wonderful write top…

  • You are obviously right…. But how we wish other leaders also understand it the way you did..

  • Yahaya jamfalan says

    Great mr Atiku. I’m really inpired by your strugle. I read ur book which tells much about your life and background from childhood to Villa in Abuja. Keep on socializing with on fcebook, twitter and bog. We follow ur footsteps where you got it right.

  • Yunus Jnr. says

    Thank God you understand the power of #SocialMedia. May Goa help Us

  • omotola says

    Sir, you are indeed a grate man because you are always seeking for the best of the youth in Nigeria. And u really worth to be the next president. I will start to campaign for you as from today. Atiku Abubakar 2015. Come BBM, facebook, twitter, etc.

  • Cox it can change d Idea of youth and also Drive them to a good Governance….

  • Shiaki Andenum says

    You happened to be the most viable politician in this country, and we are glad to have you read from people’s uncensored thought about you. And we sanction your not ethnic and non religious politics, pls keep it up,

  • Aliyu MB says

    Am very delighted, and I belive Atiku Abubakar is the type of leader that nigeria is in need, I pray for Allah (swt) to see him through his ambition.

  • Adebiyi Rashidat. says

    This Į̸̸̨Ƨ̷ a nice one Alhaji Atiku,Į̸̸̨Ƨ̷ media ΨȊ̝̊̅ℓℓ make the youth 2 understand U̶̲̥̅̊, and please continue the good work.

  • With due respect sir u r very ryt, and I must say, I am very glad n impress wit d very 1st tym I new u were on twitter of wich I followed up 2 b sure it was not our numerous imposters durin d Don jazzy n recharge card issue, it take sincere people such as active political icon expose them self out 2 face any form of cretique n fires 4rm d public.
    You ve also done well in the act 2 encorage education in the country, may God continue 2 bless u. May u live long to enjoy all d goods u ve planted..

  • Aliyu lawal saulawa says

    it is a quite interesting improvement on the side of our elder statesmen to read the out cry of the youth and their need in their various constituencies but how far have you gone on impacting on their life most especially on their constituencies?tell me how many projects were and when have you spire headed and execute how many youth empowerment program have you initiated and being benefited by any youth that is not in your cabal?
    We have many intellectuals youth in nigeria that need support to become some body but how many have you mentored.polics is were you spend your billions to get what you desire but you dont spend millions to change the lives of real voters pls think and expand your wealth it will profit you many ways.PUBLISHER HAJJ-UMRAH MONITOR MAGAZINE KANO.

  • Abdulkareem Yakubu says

    Well said. We hope and pray that our leaders will come to terms with the reality. Just as you rightly observed, some of the comments from the youths on this platform (Social Media) can be ‘irritating’, but as a leader, you have to tolerant. We are behind you and praying that you achieve your aim of ensuring the sustenance of Nigeria’s Democracy.

  • Kurfi Abubakar says

    Social media not only helps to expand the democratic space but also serve as a rallying point for mobilizing youths to demand for good governance and accountability from their leaders. Any politician who ignores social media in this dispensation is doing so at his own peril…It is good people like you are realizing this and making the best use of it…
    My advice to you sir; is to use this vehicle to identify individuals and groups who legitimately have the potential to help this nation as it struggles towards political extinction; coalesce these groups into one giant union; support them financially and otherwise for the overall development of this nation.

  • Enoch Joseph says

    Actually we are living in an information age,I once learn from a nigerian scientist engineer Phillip emegualli that ideas and information can eradicate poverty but not money.from what uyou are saying your excellency, social media will help promote good governance in Africa through the billions of information we can get from the internet.your excellency we hope you will not desert us when you finally become our president like the current tenant in Aso Villa who who went in to thin air when nigerians foolishly voted for him.As the coordinator of Inspirational youth for change initiative I am sensitizing the youths in Nigeria to take their destnies in their hands to stop all this incompetent leaders from becoming our leaders.

  • Mr FORMER vice president, You actually trust with what you write, but we will not trust you on your action again. You have cheated us, cheated the north and the youth in general. Nigeria is not Adamawa state. Many people suffer during your tenures, and you came out boldly with no shame to form another political party, who do you want to fool?

  • chinedu simon says

    ok with all due respect sir i greet you and i regard you have seen your work and the great things i know you really want to do as a leader sir you have done much at first and we all here me and other great nigeria who srongly have faith you because we know you will do more but i have a request to make sir with all due respect sir i would like to work with you am pleading just give me the chance and see the best i can be ok sir thanks and hope to hear from you soon sir well sir am chino but some politicians call me the wounder boy well hope to hear from you soon.

  • Sali Dauda Mohammed says

    Sir, You are one of the few elders I have seen for the first time positive about what Youth think is the features weapon of change, we salut this big bold step and we are counting on you to help us share on the burning issues conceerning us.

  • Very interesting & educative but some people will out of sentiment still make rubish of u. Keep up the good work Turakin Talakawa

    • We nigerian want someone like u in power, atleast we can share our promblem, or anything we observe dat is not good about ur government on social media. I thing dis is a welcome development.

  • Barr. B. J. Bulama says

    Great piece sir. I can’t agree any less that ‘social media may yet change governance in Africa’. The decision to make yourself amenable to young people via the social network is most welcome. The Obamas of this world took advantage of the social media, particularly the Facebook and it worked for them. I salute your courage for always daring to be different in this part of the clime. That is what endears you to young people like me. Keep it up sir. Indeed the benefits, as you will later find out far outweighs the negatives. You have touched many young lives (like mine) in a way you probably don’t know. Your strongest constituency is the youth – they are the future of Nigeria. You are therefore in the right place sir.

  • Ahmed Adamu says

    Nice write-up, the young generation of our time have a unique privileged that has never been enjoyed by previous generations. Anytime I browse Google to search for a quick information about something, or I go to online library or online database, or communicate instantly with someone who is thousands miles away from me (being that communication educative or social) I realize how lucky we are as the youth of this generation. Life has never been so easy than it is today. Ten years ago, I have never imagine I can communicate to a person called “Atiku Abubakar” who I always reckon to be the most charismatic Nigerian leader. But, now from my house I can comfortably exchange views with Atiku Abubakar. This underline the power of internet and social media. Social Media is a tool of communication that can help ensure accessibility to leaders and transparency for their followers. The modern democratic system is one way or the other influenced by the emergence of social media. we have seen how social media was largely responsible for the emergence of an unlikely person as the president of a great nation. Equally, the social media was the major catalyst for the so called “Arab spring”. Whichever way, the power of social media can never be underrated. That is why the Nigerian 2015 election is no doubt going to be influenced or determined by social media. Nigerians are ones of the most active social media participants globally. Therefore, their choices and decisions will be informed by the kind of candidates they associate with in social media. Social media in Nigeria is more powerful than any other communication medium, and it spread more than in any other African country (or maybe in the world), because social media is the only medium through which Nigerians access information and news concerning their country, this is because an average Nigerian does not have adequate access to social amenities like electricity, television, satellites etc. Meanwhile, social media sites are portable, cheaper and convenient to access even by the poor citizens. Finally, like Atiku Abubakar advised, we should learn to use the media for good.

    • Yahaya Danladi says

      The Icon have spoken the truth. Hope other leaders will understand that.


    Well said your excellency,the fall back in terms of moral decay of our youths is also as a result leadership failure, bedevilled by corruption. As a muslim we know that Allah will give us leaders that befits our character. The problem of this country is both bad leadership and followship, we all have family responsilities, we know what best practice to administer in the affairs of our families, why can’t we apply same in governance.Your excellence you have every opportunity to better the lifes of this aggreved youths,by way of scholarship or skills acquisition training. These youths see you as a direct beneficiary of good governance, but fail to provide same to them,you build schools they cannot afford, while they spend between seven to eight years to get a degree from universities that teachers are always on strike. Phahaps you forget that one day you will answer the ultimate call and will be accountable for service to humanity as a leader, the falling security challenge we have in the North today is due to poverty and illiteracy, nobody with a good means of livelihood be will engage in senless mission, but an ideal mind they say is a devils workshop.As a Northerner, you know what is means to look in the eyes of an elder and insult him, what is the reason for this? Your excellency, you owe us a duty to correct the ills and evils of our society, you need to know that your duty is not only to your immediate family, but the society at large. I salute your courage for joining the social media, this will give you a clearer picture of how our youths regard their leaders.ALLAHRENE, EVERY SOUL MOST DIE, YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE, I BELIEVE YOU CAN!

  • aliyu aliyu says

    Bravo Sir, it pleases me to see that you are really in touch with the times and the youth not many leaders can boast of that you have continued to renew yourself and by keeping up with the trends and finiding new ways to connect with the youth that goes along way to show what you are made of may the almighty crown your your efforts and perseverance SIR we are proud of you!

  • ebenezer says

    You did well to recognize this on time.And i bet you, will go far with this your knowledge. Am with you on this.

  • Engaging the Nigerian youth via social media is a good thing. Having accountable leaders would go a long way in building a better Nigeria.

    We would appreciate more past and present public office holders to engage the Nigerian youth via social media and or writing one or two books to give us(the public) a peek into governance.

  • temitope kalejaiye says

    Sir these piece is just d best kip it up

  • Abdulkadir Abdulhamid says

    It has been always so nice for young people to have mentor that has youth focusing activity as a driving force for youth development. In the history of this country Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has been identified as the number citizen that always welcome youth activities and participation.
    reference to your article I can say excellent to you for your write up and Nigeria need a leader like you who can communicate through social media which create more understanding between you and the Nigerian youth. One good thing I notice in you is that you have interest in working around young people which also bring joy and spices in the
    life of youth

    life of young

  • Abubakar danmori mbulo says

    Your excellency,ur ar fountain of wisdom,may Almighty Allah grant u long live ,gud health and fullfill hrt desires.may all de amen dat was said in 2days prayers world wide mean amen 2 ur head desires

  • Theo Orji says

    Atiku will always look and even become more younger by his relationship with the younger generation. Atiku to my understanding is a generous both in money and ideas.

  • OSYTA.N. says

    I know some enemies of progress will try to rubbish this beautiful article from turaki, or even politicize it the way they normally do but I know the message this piece carries can never be rubbished or thrashed by any one or people… keep the good work up TURAKI we are always behind you sir.

  • Salami says

    You are absolute right sir! Social media is a good medium to receive and disseminate information. As for your critics, they may be saying the right thing as you may not be right always. You remember the adage that says two good heads are better than one!

  • femifaks says

    Being a naija young man in early 30s,living in Cambridgeshire but actively following Nigeria’s politics, attending political forums in UK and campaigns actively on social media for a while now. Have learnt social media is the future. Take a look at what online petitions do here in U.K. and in the U.S. and you find the reasons why l said so. Government attention are gotten by actions on the social media now, even decisions of the parliament are taken as a result of online campaign (recent decision of Bank of England to have a woman on the next issue of £10). These reasons alone will convince you how powerful tool the social media is.

    Respect the fact that you took notice of this Mr Atiku, even though a bit late, just hope other proficient politicians in the great state of Nigeria realises this soon and start listening to the voice of the people, using it to know what the needs of the people and also using to get feedbacks and reactions of people on policies or action taken in the affairs of the state.
    And as you mentioned earlier, some might be negative but it takes the great thinking of sensible man like yours to know that the road you are treading on is shady when everyone around you is just agreeing with whatever you say and being a yes man.
    Great article Mr Atiku, you just earned yourself a follower today and stay blessed.

  • seun says


  • I love reading through your websites. With thanks!

  • Alkali Baba Monguno says

    Mr. VP I wel come you to social media

  • Muhammed says

    Nice Turaking Adamawa, May Allah continue to guide you to the Right path, I need the scholarship.

  • Adeleye Albert says

    A good article from Turakin adamawa ‘ a defender of democracy” .This is also an eye opener for our leaders to get feedback from Nigerians who daily monitors their performance as regards the mandate given to them. We hope our leaders at all levels will be more conscious of their public actions and be a good example for the Nigeria youths to emulate.

  • Woooww..a wise decision u av made ¶ sincerely hope ds s nt a camouflage? write up all d saame sir

  • Dayo says

    Lucidly beautiful, socially compliant, unstoppable success

  • seun says

    This is very positive, great. Wisdom is key for leadership to grow. The social media present us with lots of information that can be a means to an end. Thank you sir

  • Benjamin Sekpe says

    having to drop my comment here isnt just bcus of the fact that i really appreciate ur efforts for the artile but that ur have done that on social media is quite impressive.u are an inspiration.

  • is ok,but i want to work with u,i am fro Bayelsa state

  • ibrahim says

    Its a pity that our leaders are just discovering social media. Things are well ahead of them. please sit up.

  • michael says

    who else see all the *typo errors*? starting from paragraph 3,4 till the end….. got tired of reading when i started seeing the errors………….the youths dont like seeing errors from our leaders……starting from the **typos**

  • Thank God our leader have finally discover the power of the internet especially the social media.

  • Sim Mangga says

    Your Excellency, “Allah shi ja zamani” You’ve made the right decision and you are very right that the social media is very useful and is the only way the very masses / voters that the leaders desperately wanted our votes durig elections can express their views, hoping the very same people we elected will stumble across it.
    It is very clear that once they’ve recieved our votes after compaignig (the period of time that we are humans and they will listen to us) we only get a chance to see them only on TV and o more untill when the time for “TAZARCHE”
    I totally agree with your Excellency, this article is true and very educative.
    My only cocern is that there may be less than 5% of Nigerians that will have access to the internet,

    Your Excellency, your ideas must be taken to every corner of this country and we need patriotic Youths to go out and preach to all the Nation.

    What we need in this country today is leaders with human hearts and can feel for fellow humans,
    how can anyone justify the poverty in this country?

    We are willing to support and stand by people who are ready to unite and make Nigeria great, not just by saying it or pretending but in truth and Spirit

    God bless Turakin Adamawa, God Bless Nigeria

  • murtala garba says

    We have seen how social media change the way Arabs were governed by monarchy and now democracy. we have seen how social media were used to fight corrupts leaderes. It must be used in Nigeria to effect changes.


    I must thank you first for finding time in writing this mind kicking article……..but one funny thing about our leaders is that they remember what to do when they are out of office.

  • I read this piece a few days ago, and was truly impressed. Well, aside from a few typographical errors, it really passes down the message which it intended to.

    I’ve been on Social Media for more than a decade now, even longer than when we knew it would one day be referred to as Social Media. I’m really disheartened with the way most young people choose to use the powerful medium of communication. Nudity, pornography, and idle gossip have taken over where enlightenment, information, and integration should be.

    It’s not hard to trace these anomalies among the youths on Social Media to the origin of Social Media itself, which is the Western world. With the growth of Social Media, we, as Nigerian, need to build our own Social Media platforms which will uphold our ideals, cultures and norms, shielding our youths from the influence of negative foreign ways of life and living.

    Another major failure of Social Media among Nigerian youths is seeing Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nairaland, et al) as the solutions to our problem. When a Public Servant steals N1billion, we talk about it on Twitter till it is “trending”, then all of a sudden, we’re satisfied. We do not go as far as sending a simple email to the EFCC to demand action. We read about Constitutional Amendments which we are not comfortable with, and we rant about it on Facebook just to see 100 comments, but we do not make any effort to contact our Representatives and Senators to repeal those amendments. Sometimes, we even sign online petitions, which are not recognized by our laws, except in cases of recalling erring Senators or Representatives, yet we do recall none.

    We need to understand that Social Media is an avenue to meet, contact, and communicate with people with like minds, and similar ideologies in order to take ACTION offline. The term Social Media itself is Means (MEDIA) to Associate (SOCIALise). But people do not associate just for association sake, we associate to DO something.

    Let’s use Social Media to DO better, and let’s create our own platforms, else we’ll just be chasing our own tails.

    Nejeeb Bello
    for BAR BARIC.

  • Optimistic Musa says

    very positive step from an epitome of a democrat.Turakin Adamawa, Sardauna Ganye

    Grease to your elbow.

  • Salihu Aliyu Abuja says


  • Banji says

    A great and succinct article.

  • Ladi says

    This is a beautiful write-up, I look forward to see more of it.

  • Anti-Corruption says

    Atiku Sir you are are very corrupt individual.How can we expect more for someone like you whose hands are soiled.

  • Baffa Muhammad says

    May God help us.(Ameen).

  • ejims05 says

    Leadership is all about adding value to the lives of your followers. And until Nigerian leaders realize that they’re elected by the people to serve, make concrete positive impacts, add values to their lives and determine to leave behind lasting legacies, then Nigeria and Africa as a whole is going no where. Thanks for sharing this with us, Mr. Atiku Abubakar.

  • Hmmmmm, if this is not mere politicking for youths’ vote then I say well done. I have been reading you online and I daresay that my perception is shifting to the positive. However, I must say that I disagree with your asking young people to be patient with their so called leaders who, unfortunately, are impatiently stealing the resources of the nation with impunity, thus robbing the youths of their future. With leaders that are psychopaths in greed and dense from lack of consequences for their impunities, the youths cannot a
    fford the luxury of patience.

  • These are truly wonderful ideas in regarding blogging. You have touched some pleasant things here. Any way keep up wrinting.