Social Media, Youths And The Government
A discussion document presented by Ifeanyi Aniagoh, SSA on Social Media to Gov Willie Obiano of Anambra State at West Africa Bloggers Conference held at Berkely Hotels, Lagos, Nigeria on January 22-23, 2016.
I wish to express my deepest appreciation for the invitation to address such a distinguished gathering, I am honoured and humbled to be part of this important and timely event.
Social media is a means of interaction among people in which they CREATE, share and/or exchange information and ideas via virtual communication.
IF YOU ARE NOT CREATIVE, DON’T GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I am continually excited about what social media experts have achieved and provoked by what is still possible.
THE SKY IS BIG ENOUGH FOR ALL BIRDS TO FLY.
There are estimated 60 million active internet users in Nigeria, making it the largest internet population in the continent.
Obviously, it is amazing that with a click, one passes information to thousand folds of people in a second. This is the power of the social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS TRENDING AND REMAINS THE FUTURE OF COMMUNICATION.
Social media has given people, especially the new generation which is very IT savvy, a new and effective instrument to come together for issues they believe in.
I am a living testimony. Social Media is the revolution of our century.
It takes just a moment’s reflection to realise that some of the recent social transformations in West African history were empowered via social media platforms.
Prior to the deregulation of the Nigeria telecommunication sector in 1999, which is probably the first in West Africa, very few people had access to computers; and the lack of sufficient technological infrastructure such as internet and mobile phones constrained communication within the society.
Few years upon deregulation, social networks spread like wide fire in Nigeria through West Africa.
Many, the rich and poor, educated and illiterate, young and old, Muslims and Christians now enjoy the services of social media.
But the youths are the major players in the sector, as we are being tagged the digital age.
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE AND SHAPE OUR SOCIETY. THE POWER TO CONTROL WEALTH AND WELL-BEING.
The power of social media has contributed greatly to the development of Nigerian Youths, West African populace and the entire African Society.
An example is my dear State, Anambra where I serve as the Senior Special Assistant on Social Media to the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano.
I rose from pressing my phone at home to serving the people at the Governor’s office.
I GOT THERE BECAUSE I WAS INTERESTED IN RESPONSIBLE USE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA POWER.
Social Media has kept youths more informed and up to date; it has opened up channels for job vacancies, which has improved our employment situation, thereby pulling many out of the quicksand of poverty.
The Social Media is gradually enabling Anambra youths to more effectively put pressure on how Ndi Anambra are governed.
Today, social media has taken the front burner as a means of educating and receiving feedback from the populace, hence serving as the vital link between the government and the governed.
It has also given Ndi Anambra a far cheaper platform and opportunities to freely express themselves, hence the government hearing directly from the masses.
YOU CAN BECOME AN ADVOCATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
But all these positive impacts of Social Media wouldn’t have been possible if the government of the day is averse to happenings in the cyberspace.
In Anambra, the government runs an online live programme known as “Anambra Scorecard”, a guest programme where the led engage their leaders directly and unedited from any part of the world. This happens on Facebook.
THIS CAN HAPPEN IN LAGOS! THIS CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE!
On Twitter, Anambra State Government has launched “ #TweetAnambra ”, a daily 2 hours of constant tweets aimed at sharing the events of the day to the Twitter community.
ANY YOUTH CAN DO THAT… FOR ANYONE, FOR ANY STATE!
On WhatsApp, the government has a Grassroots Network of 32,600 persons through which Ndi Anambra are directly informed and feedback received for improved efficiency and better service delivery.
WITH YOUR PHONE… YOU CAN CONTROL THE OFFLINE TRENDS AND CHANGE STREET DISCUSSIONS.
Similarly, on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, Anambra State Government maintains significant communication channels resulting to its trending status since the swearing-in of Chief Willie Obiano as the governor in 2014, a man who has within a short time unexpectedly transformed the State via very laudable achievements.
PERMIT ME TO SHARE HIS MAGIC:
Through his “4Cs Approach” of “Continue, Complete, Commission and Commence”, Governor Obiano has continued to service all inherited liabilities while starting new legacy and people oriented projects.
He has broken the common jinx of abandoning projects by succeeding governments amidst the badly biting economic situation.
In security, Anambra maintains its lead in crime fighting with new Security Cars and Equipment as well as trained and battle ready community vigilante services.
TODAY… ANAMBRA IS THE SAFEST STATE IN OUR DEAR COUNTRY NIGERIA!
In Health, renovation of over 30 General Hospitals which is happening in phases, partnership with US-based Rise Clinic and the ongoing development of word class model hospitals with helipads in the 3 senatorial zones makes Anambra State Africa’s next Centre for Medical Tourism.
In Education, Anambra State’s policy and incentives remains a model for other States. Today, Anambra maintains the lead in National and Regional Examinations as well as local and international school debates.
In Agriculture, Gov Obiano’s agricultural revolution has wowed all. With influx of several agro-investors, the State which now enjoys Anambra Rice is set to become a major exporter of agro products in the nearest future.
Thinking Infrastructure, with 3 new modern flyovers, Gov Obiano has changed the skyline of the Capital City, Awka while completing the longest bridge in Anambra which leads to the oil deposit at Aguleri Otu.
Same developmental strides are being witnessed in Industrialization, Trade and Commerce; and Oil and Gas sectors of the State.
Focusing on key development enablers such security, electricity, roads, etc, Gov Obiano has made Anambra State, the first choice investment destination in West Africa. In less than two years in office.
Social Media plays its part:
Through cyberspace the people are rightly informed about these feats giving them reasons to be happy, prolonging their lives and making them proud of their State wherever they are;
Through Social Media the people contribute to the democratic process, constructively engaging the government and effectively participating in policy development;
Through Online Platforms the government access direct feedback from the governed.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE THESE PLATFORMS… THESE ARE QUALITY TRAFFICS!
To encourage the positive use of the cyberspace, Anambra State government facilitates a monthly Social Media Hangout, a new initiative offering the opportunity for online influencers to key into Gov Obiano’s commitment to youth entrepreneurship by means of nurturing competent future leaders for global challenges.
Also, plans are on ground to commence Social and Digital Media Education as part of the deliverables in the new Anambra Youth Project.
Aside, the wealth creating opportunities begging for exploration in the cyberspace, Social Media could be a powerful tool for the promotion of human right and dignity; sustainable development; a vital avenue for disseminating information which has the capacity of bringing about freedom to a greater number of persons.
THIS IS POSSIBLE ONLY WHEN WE USE THE SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSIBLY.
Through the power of Social Media, the October 6, 2013, lynching and setting ablaze of four students of the University of Port Harcourt in Aluu, a suburb of Port Harcourt (the Aluu 4) was brought to the forefront.
The January 2012 #OccupyNigeria protest and also the role it played in pushing the issue of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to the outside world.
And not failing to mention, the greater role it played in indicting Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherland.
RESPONSIBLE USE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA MADE THESE FEATS POSSIBLE… MORE CAN BE ACHIEVED!
Perhaps there will be no better time for youths to use the social media in our development than now, when everyone seems to be marrying digital technology.
When the youths engage themselves to the responsible use of the social media, its abuse will become a thing of the past.
YOUTHS CAN BE IN CHARGE OF THEIR DESTINIES… VIA SOCIAL MEDIA!
Evidently, Social Media has gradually become one of the important means of influencing the society and the influence is based exclusively in its social aspects of participatory interaction.
As Social Media gains more popularity and scope, its impact on individual’s political and cultural perceptions cannot be underestimated as it practically influences the way individuals interact, communicate and make decisions on social, cultural and political issues in today’s world.
GOV OBIANO UNDERSTANDS THIS, HENCE HIS APPOINTMENT OF AN SSA ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
While appreciating the successes of all bloggers and Social Media influencers, I urge us all to help the youth sector.
We have the power, we are the computer age. We have the number!
We can end youth unemployment and all youth-based social vices.
BY MINGLING AND SHARING IDEAS, SHUNNING PORNS AND GOSSIPS, WE CAN CHANGE OUR WORLD WHILE MAKING MONEY AND CREATING JOBS.
We are the force; Social Media is the power… Let’s use it responsibly.
SSA on Social Media to Gov Willie Obiano of Anambra State
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