In the past few decades, social media has become a crucial part of elections across the globe. The latest figures from NCC show that the total number of active Internet subscription population in Nigeria has risen by more than 90% to 141.9m (141,959,496). It is also reported by Statista that 43 million Nigerians have a profile on various social media networks, which is regarded as one of the largest for a single country in the world.
However, studies have failed to show a direct impact between social media and election results. But the incredible case of Mark Zuckerberg before the US Senate during the US presidential election highlights how social media can serve as a powerful tool for political communication and ideology distribution.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, once again the social media gladiators have begun drumming support for their most preferred candidates. In total, there are 16 political parties in the race led by APC; the main opposition PDP; Labour Party, LP; and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.
Atiku Abubakar leads Peoples Democratic Party -PDP; Bola Ahmed Tinubu with All Progressives Congress -APC; Peter Obi with Labour Party -LP; and Musa Kwankwaso with New Nigeria Peoples Party -NNPP.
According to data from google trends, it seems Peter Obi is one of the most searched and talked about candidates. All thanks to the “I am OBIdient” movement that has filled the social media space in support of the Labour Party presidential candidate. But analysis of the data shows the searches are coming from the southern states of the country which provides a vivid picture.
Atiku as of June ending had 4.29 million followers on social media ahead of President Buhari’s 4.14 million followers. Vice President Osinbajo ranks third on the list with 3.84 million, Dino Melaye (3.45m) and Bukola Saraki (2.88m).
Others on the list include Shehu Sani (2.62m) Goodluck Jonathan 1.95m, Ben Murray Bruce 1.85m, Jide Sanwolu (1.70m), and Garba Shehu (1.42m) while Peter Obi completes the top 10 most followed politicians in Nigeria with 1.40m.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu has 1.2M, and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso trails with 202.3K followers.
It is important to note that Peter Obi’s media presence is growing rapidly as he got 357k new followers in June. If Peter Obi is to stand a chance come 2023, he will need the support of at least 15 million real voters at the elections, how this will be achieved remains to be seen. From the earlier reported google trend search, Peter’s Obi major interest is coming from the South with the highest internet subscribers but not voters.