In build up to 2023 general election in Nigeria, politicians across the country are engaging the populace on various social media platforms especially tech giant, Facebook, to sell their candidature to the people and Grand Plan Communication, a new media, baseline research and communication outfit, that has been monitoring their online engagements and the issues they are discussing has published a new report for the month of August.
In the latest report by Grand Plan, former Vice President, Alh Atiku Abubakar emerged most engaging political leader in Nigeria. The former Vice President overtook President Muhammed Buhari and Mr Gbenga Olawepo Hashim in online engagement, both of whom were most engaging political leaders in Nigeria for the month of July, 2021.
This was contained in a report released on Friday by Grand Plan in Abuja, Nigeria.
In a statement by the Executive Director of Grand Plan, Mr Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the monthly social media engagement rating is to keep tab on the online activities of political leaders in Nigeria, especially those identified as potential presidential hopeful for 2023 that may seek to succeed the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari.
In the month of August, Atiku Abubakar recorded 317,500 engagements on his Facebook page, followed by former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki who recorded 198,300 engagements and Gbenga Olawepo Hashim, who recorded 160,800 engagements.
Olawepo Hashim came second, after President Muhammed Buhari in the month of July and in August, he slipped to third position in the overall rating.
However, despite slipping to third position in the overall rating for August, Olawepo Hashim still remains most engaging political leader in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), while Alhaji Atiku Abubakar remain most engaging political leader in the country aswell as in the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
According to Grand Plan, 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.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world with over 2.8billion users. It is also by far, the most popular social media platform in Nigeria with over 65% control.
While their are over 104 million internet users in Nigeria, only 33 million 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, Snapchat Tiktalk etc.
Data by Grand Plan showed that, President Muhammed Buhari, who emerged most engaging political leader for the month of July, slipped to 4th position, going three steps back, while Atiku Abubakar who was in third position in July, went two steps up to clinch top position for August.
According to data released by Grand Plan, Atiku Abubakar overtook President Buhari and Olawepo Hashim, both of whom were ahead of him in the July edition of the report.
Other political figures, including Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Chairman of Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Elrufai and others are still behind in social media engagements”
Grand Plan explained that, “President Muhammadu Buhari, who was on top in July with over 296,000 engagements saw his engagements go down to 96,700 in August and on the other hand, Olawepo Hashim who came second in July saw his engagements rose more than double, from 98,000 in July to 160,800 engagements in August, but still couldn’t stop Atiku Abubakar and Bukola Saraki from overtaking them both.
While opposition figure, Atiku Abubakar’s july engagement rose by more than 600% in August, Bukola Saraki’s rose by more than 400%, that of Olawepo Hashim also rose by more 100%, being the best from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
“Atiku Abubakar’s last 8 posts recorded the 317,500 engagements, Olawepo Hashim’s last 6 posts recorded the 160,800 engagements, while Bukola Saraki’s last 19 posts recorded the 198,300 engagements”
” On the other hand, the engagement of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State went down by more than 100% in August”
Executive Director of Grand Plan, Abdulrazaq Hamzat said that, increasing engagement imply growing interest in the candidate while decreasing engagement signify disenchantment.
Hamzat also explained that, contrary to popular belief that claimed suspended micro blogging platform,tweeter is the platform for youths, available record shows that Facebook still remains the dominant social media platform for youths.
According to him, 65% 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 25-34 years old accounted for 32.5% of Facebook users, whereas just 2.9% of users were aged between 55 and 65 years.
Grand Plan observed that, while most of the 2023 presidential hopeful were discussing general social issues that is not connected to governance, Olawepo Hashim maintained his policy based discuss, while Bukola Saraki focused on party politics.
“Olawepo Hashim focused on issues of anti corruption beyond 2023, nation building and making the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) a party of ideology”.
Grand Plan monthly social media rating of political leaders in Nigeria is released last week of every month.