There is an ongoing altercation in the Nigerian social media space which I am certain that virtually every Nigerian on the various social networking platforms is aware of. These numerous rants and arguments mostly revolve around social media being or not being a tool for winning elections, and this propelled me to write this article to ensure that things get elucidated.
From my standpoint, no one is right or wrong based on the notion he or she has about social media and the impact it has on the Nigerian elections. In this case, people overestimate and underestimate the power of social media.
Indeed, the social media is not a polling unit but the reason why a considerable number of people opine on this is that there are people who expend much of their energy in showing their loquacious and ostentatious nature about their preferred aspiring political office holders on the social media, but in reality, would never go out to use that similar energy to vote during the elections, or may not even possess a Permanent Voters Card (PVC). If you are such a person who is known for praising his or her candidate online, it would be best if you do away with the hypocritical nature and go out to vote for that preferred candidate.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Votes, not social media will determine who wins the elections. Social media is not a polling unit. You can’t sit at home tweeting, and be expecting a miraculous landslide victory for your candidate. It is indeed appalling that when their preferred candidate fails to win, some of them go to social media to rant that the election was rigged in favor of another.
Another problem which I have with some social media political campaigners is how they are cocksure certain about their aspirants emerging as the victor during the elections. Having utmost optimism about your candidate being successful isn’t bad, but at least, one should first cross-examine the political realities to see if his candidate has gotten enough massive support.
Moving on, it is also a pure fallacy for someone to rant that a majority of social media campaigners do not possess a PVC and wouldn’t go out to vote during the elections. Whatever mental apprehension anybody has about that is a prevarication.
Social media, if used positively, can be used to gain massive political support for a candidate. By selling your candidate convincingly to the populace, you can grab their attention and sustain their interest in your candidate, and this will eventually culminate in their voting for him. People underestimate the power of social media in this aspect.
It is dismal that some Nigerians do otherwise. Instead of promoting and drawing support to their candidate, they go about defaming other aspiring political office holders they do not like. This should not be the case.
Everyone knows that social media, like the mainstream media, can be used to educate and convince people to get their PVCs and vote during elections. So, the medium of communication plays a huge role in ensuring political participation.
Social media may not be a decider for an election, but it is in part, a major driving force for winning an election.