The social media engagement report by Abuja based digital research and communication outfit, Grand Plan has rated Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former presidential candidate, Gbenga Olawepo Hashim as online most engaging presidential hopefuls in the country.
The quarterly report, which was released over the weekend also revealed that, apart from the advocacy of Southern Governors Forum demanding for zoning to the south, presidential hopefuls from the region are not doing enough to engage the populace, unlike their counterpart from the north, who are aggresively communicating with the people, noting that the top four (4) most engaging presidential hopefuls are from the north.
The social media engagement quarterly report by Grand Plan is the aggregation of social media engagements of political leaders in the two major political parties, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), especially those seeking to take over from president Muhammadu Buhari after his second term in office.
In a statement by the Executive Director of Grand Plan, Mr Abdulrazaq Hamzat, social media engagement report pays special attention on the online activities of political leaders in Nigeria and the quarterly report is the combination of the monthly social media engagements of potential presidential hopeful in the country.
“Aspirants from the northern part of the country occupied the top 4 spots in report, while those from the south are trailing, indicating low online public engagement by aspirants from southern part of the country in both ruling APC and opposition PDP”.
“The low engagement level of politicians from southern part of the country is strange, considering the growing advocacy for power shift to the region, especially by Southern Governor’s Forum”, Hamzat said.
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and a former presidential candidate, Gbenga Olawepo Hashim are the two most engaging political leaders in Nigeria for the past three (3) months.
Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged top, while Gbenga Olawepo Hashim of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) came second in the quarterly report.
Since the commencement of the monthly social media engagement report 3 months ago, Atiku Abubakar has won the top position twice in August and September, being the only one aspirant to do so, while Gbenga Olawepo Hashim has won the top position once, in the month of July.
Atiku Abubakar has a convincing lead, with 460,000 engagement in the last 3 months, while Gbenga Olawepo Hashim has 328,400 engagement.
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki emerged third in social media engagement in this quarter, with 292,500 engagement despite falling to 4th position in the September report, followed by Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who emerged 4th with 141,000 engagements in the quarter, as well as emerged second most engaging for the month of September.
While Atiku Abubakar, who emerge top mostly focused on social activities and engagement all through the quarter, Olawepo Hashim on the other hand, mostly put searchlight on governance issues, ranging from economy, national unity, security, foreign affairs, job creation, education etc.
Also, Vice president of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Chairman of Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi and other presidential hopefuls from the south trailed their northern counterpart.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo emerged most engaging presidential hopeful from the South, with over 109,000 engagements, followed by Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State with 52,400 engagements, both of whom were trailing Gbenga Olawepo Hashim and Gov Yahaya Bello in the ruling party.
A glance at Olawepo Hashim’s online page in the past three months will prepare readers for real engagement on key governance issues affecting the country and the direction his government would take if elected can be easily deduced and adequately engaged.
The same cannot be said of other presidential hopefuls.
Following ban on popular micro blogging platform, twitter few months ago, Nigerian politicians have become more active on Facebook and most of them have made the platform their preferred medium of communication with the people and this report is based on Facebook engagement.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, with over 2.8 billion users. It is also by far, the most popular social media platform in Nigeria with over 65% control.
While there are over 104 million internet users in Nigeria, only 33million of them are on social media with Facebook, having over 30% of the total internet users and more than 95% of social media users, with its over 31 million Facebook users in Nigeria, some of whom also uses other social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapechat, tiktop etc.
Data on each of the candidates’ were realistic because “Facebook represents the broad spectrum of voters who will vote in 2023.”
Increasing engagements imply voters’ growing interest in the candidates while a decreasing result reflects voters’ disenchantment.
Contrary to popular belief which claimed that suspended microblogging platform, Twitter is the platform for youths in the country, available records show that, Facebook still remains the dominant social media platform for young adults.
65 percent of Facebook users are under the age of 35, which means that they fall under the age demographic of Millennials and Generation Z. It is also important to note that, between 25 to 34 year olds accounted for 32.5 percent of Facebook users, whereas just 2.9 percent of users were aged between 55 and 64 years old.