By Fatoyinbo Oluwatosin
Just like the views broadcast media organizations get, tweets are now broadcast channels, with most influencers reaching thousands and even millions via social networks, young Nigerians have continued to drive the national discourse from their smartphones.They’ve become the BIG DEAL, the agenda-setters and whatnot. Tweeps as they are called now set the tone for a lot of happenings and discussions online for national discourse, both for those online and those who are not.
From a screen munch and intelligent conversation about the process of elections and those proffering solutions to what candidates should consider, the conversation has changed and is still changing. Notice whenever the President has an opportunity to address Nigerians how he goes on whining about twitter? That’s proof that it is one social media platform that has taken the lead in driving conversations.
This list is a collation of select tweeps who are bigwigs and influencers on Twitter, in no particular order.
Currently, candidates for the 2015 elections are wooing some of them to hear them out. In the past it was Newspaper editors and Media owners that had such an advantage, but today, online users are now the beautiful bride to politicians in Nigeria.
Some members on this list have already been invited by Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for a meet where he supposedly defended why he wants an opportunity at Aso Rock; state governors have invited some others as well in the past to showcase their projects so as not to get the hammer that comes from the might of 140 characters.
Sources at the Presidency – when I called to find out the online influencers to be used for the 2015 elections for Jonathan – called out the names of more that 70% of the persons I have listed here. In the same vein, sources at the Leadership of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC also tell us that 10 names listed here have been approved by the strategy team of the party being put together by the Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed for further engagements ahead of the elections.
Today I present to you key influencers that will shape the conversation, nationally and in the various states of the federation. Do have in mind that some listed here are members of political parties why others are clearly non-partisan.
Here is the list in no particular order.
Stanley Azuakola – @Stanleyazuakola
The ScoopNg has gone viral as one of the blogs involved strictly in the business of politics and policy. Ever current on recent events, you’ll find his tweets quite stimulating. His funny re-creation of political events of the week is also definitely on point.
Tolu Ogunlesi @ToluOgunlesi
Award winning Journalist Tolu Ogunlesi cannot stop being Tolu. He writes every week for The Punch and those opinion pieces don’t ever ‘dull’.Ogunlesi currently doubles as the West African Editor with the “The Africa Report” Magazine, with countless edition carrying his cover stories. If you are looking for sharp and concise analysis of current events, Tolu’s handle is one to stalk. Well, Twittersphere went crazy recently after he announced his engagement to his heartthrob Kemi and here’s wishing the couple the best as they prepare to walk down the aisle.
Feyi Fawyinmi @DoubleEph
His bio describes him as ‘Daddy Awon Boys Twitter Mentor To The Twitter Mentorless’ – whatever that means. F has about 14k followers and has been referred on some twitter streets as a ‘UK-based APC Boko Haramist’. His timeline flows with many a critique of the PDP administration but with a little biased perspective. His opinion is often sought by his followers and many more and Nigerians always look out for his daily Newspaper review.
Japheth Omojuwa @Omojuwa
Quite an intelligent conversation starter, Omojuwa is hated by some and loved by many. A constant thorn in the flesh of the present government, he has even been accused of being a paid opposition boy. He was among the Twitter delegation that visited Rivers State at the invitation of Governor Rotimi Amaechi. His ability to switch conversation to different topics of interest is quite intriguing. There is no doubt that he is the most controversial name on this list.
Yemi Adamolekun @_’yemia
The Executive Director @EiENigeria, her criticism of government can be at once biting and sarcastic. As chair of the nation’s largest advocacy coalition populated by youths, it is strange that her influence is oft underrated.
Ohimai Amaize @MrFixNigeria
Mr. Ohimai is one of the leaders of the PDP Youth Circuit and also the Special Assistant to the Minister of state for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro. At a pretty young age, he ran the Presidential campaign for Dele Momodu. He is respected and despised in equal measure on Twitter but cares less. His tweets became even more popular recently as he kept the twitter world updated as to the effort of the Military in the North East ‘war zone’. He is one of those youths who is actively participating on governance, rather than staying an armchair critic.
Uche Chuta @Nnabros
Another PDP lover whose opinion is much sought after and who is also actively participating in politics. He seems to nurse the ambition of being Governor of Abia state one day.
Alkasim Abdulkadir @alkayy
Alkasim Abdulkadir churns out concise political opinions and breaking newsbits every week and is followed by many. @Alkayy describes himself as Jack of all Media trades and International Free lance Journalist. His opinion is sought after on Twitter and beyond.
The green and red blood of the PDP runs so strongly in his veins. He cannot stop defending President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP even if he tried and believe me; he doesn’t shy away from engaging anyone who is critical of his political loves.
Kayode Ogundamisi @Ogundamisi
Often described as an attention seeker, a whistle blower and rumour monger, @Ogundamisi’s handle portray a man of many characters. Regardless of that, as assuredly as the sun will rise and set tomorrow, a twitter celeb. The more people hate him, the more followers he amasses. Nice, hey?
Ogundamisi’s handle will come very handy in the build up to next year’s general election. He is also a Facebook boss, amassing up to 14,000 + likes.
Kola Oyeneyin @MrSleevesUp
One of the brain behind GenVoices which has been severally alleged to be a politically motivated movement. In fact, it was said to be sponsored by Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar once. @MrSleevesUp continually reiterates the fact that he is on the side of the people and not any political party.
Babatunde Rosanwo @Rosanwo
The Warsaw based Nigerian tweep is not only into Political twitter; he is a staunched supporter of the All Progressives Congress and follower of General Muhammadu Buhari. He constantly criticize the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP and has always been at the forefront of defending his party, the APC. He was recently in Ekiti to support the defeated incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi during the just concluded governorship election in the state.
Mercy Abang @AbangMercy
With over 24,000 followers, @AbangMercy’s handle engages with them on issues as they happen. Her timeline spews evidence of a top-notch Media-Junkie as she describes herself on her bio and to the political twitterati. Mercy is the brain behind NewsWireNGR and that coupled with her experience as an election observer with both ECOWAS, the International Republican Institute, IRI, and currently on a High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa with the African Union, marks her as definitely one to have massive online influence in the race towards 2015.
Henry Okelue @4eyedmonk
Henry Okelue is not one to shy away from controversy and would say what he thinks regardless of who gets offended by it. He boasts a follower base of 13,000+ . You should watch out for his handle as 2015 hots up.
Ebuka Obi-Uchendu @Ebuka
Boasting a 60,000 + followers, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu is a popular voice on twitter. He is also the presenter of RubbinMinds on Channels TV. He often interviews other ‘Twitter Lords’ on varying political issues on the program.
The wisdom and wit or sugarcoated verbosity – depending on what side of the political divide you support – that flows from this handle is amazing to say the least. He seems to know something about everything, but especially about the transformation agenda of the current administration. Mr ‘Ebube D Patriot’ has been a focal point in the #30percentornothing movement on twitter and is the unofficial spokesman for the Presidency. He is ever willing to explain his position and does not seem to like APC at all. Some have called him a ‘catfish’ but he sure has changed the conversation online.
Chinedu Ekeekee @nedunaija
A staunch Manchester United fan, Nedu keeps the conversation flowing; from attempting a ‘music career’ to intelligent conversation on Nigeria’s political occurrences to arguments and counter arguments about Man Utd. Nedu is however, seen as one of the most liberal and free minded Twitter Overlords. He criticizes all the Parties and as such, people respect his neutrality and open mindedness that flows from his tweets.
Saratu Abiola @Saratu
With a love for African politics, there is no dull moment on the timeline as this daughter of MKO Abiola continually rolls out doses of politics daily.
Gbenga Sesan @GbengaSesan
This handle is not only known for the spilling of current trends in technology, information and communication technology but also for spitting fire on the Government. He lashes out at every perceived injustice and ‘government stupidity’. Sesan will be available to guide his many followers to the ‘right’ choices for 2015.
Seun Okinbaloye @seunokin
Seun is an experienced Journalist who works at Channels Television. Having previously worked at NTA News24, his opinion is highly regarded on twittersphere.
Dupe Killa @DupeKilla
Popularly called Aunty Dupe on Twitter, she is one of the most sought after political Twitterati, she was one of the people at the forefront of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign . She is loved by many for her neutral analyses.
Ayokunle Odekunle @Oddy4real
This handle cannot be separated from controversy. An editor at YNaija, @Oddy4real loves trolling and is often irritated by ‘stupid’ comments about Jonathan’s administration. He definitely leans towards the PDP and has appeared a number of times on Channels TV political programs.
Tunde Leye @TundeLeye
This handle is one of the most politically sincere handles on twitter. @Tundeleye will take anybody to the cleaners regardless of their party affiliations. He writes incisive political opinion pieces every week; talk about consistency. Tunde got married recently too but that is no guarantee he will tweet less.
Chude Jideonwo @Chude
He doesn’t often tweet political tweets but his influence on Twitter and beyond is unbelievable. His collection of essays, ‘Are we the Turning Point Generation’ is still making waves within and beyond the shores of the country. He is the brain behind the popular YNaija media brand.
Demola Rewaju @DemolaRewaju
This is another handle to watch out for. His opinions on politics that cannot be ignored. Recently appeared on Channel TV’s Rubbin Minds to discuss the 2015 elections.
O’seun Odewale @eggheader He is a member of the Canary family and currently the deputy Chief of Staff to the Ekiti State Governor.. Egghead who was formally a student activist during his days at the Federal University of Technology Minna took Activism to Social media.. Known for his ‘On my radar’ tweets reporting events in Nigeria, though he is of the All Progressives Congress, he is another witty young Nigerian to look out for ahead of the polls.