‘He Stares At His Timeline’ A #SocialLeague Story By Abigail Anaba That Captures Nigerian Twitter


He stares at his Timeline, a smile playing on his lips. He certainly is achieving what he set out to do and the feeling is orgasmic. He had promised them he would change the narrative. He is god, whatever he says he will do.

He clicks on the tweet and views the activity. It has not even been 30 minutes but he already has a tweet reach of over a 800k from about 300 retweets He should make a screen grab and mail it now. He smiles as he sees the so called opposition getting riled over his tweet. It often amuses him that they can’t see they are a great help to him. In fact, he is yet to decide if they are not more help than those who latch on his every tweet.

His mind flips back four years. He had just lost his job and was standing under the bridge at Ikeja, hoping that someone in the crowd gathered pontificating on Nigeria’s issues would buy the Guardian for that Tuesday so he could borrow and read the job placements section. If only he had not succumbed to the temptation of stealing from his employer, better still: if only he had known how to cover his tracks. They had been four involved in the deal but only he had been axed.

He was distracted by one of the debaters postulating about the disadvantages of the removal of fuel subsidy. He had heard talks about this but could not understand what the fuss was about. The government was right anyway but the people did not know this. What if there was some way of letting people know? Information dissemination was big money. His last boss was into communication and that is how he bought his big car, big house and married the babe with the big tits. He had about 3,000 followers on Twitter. That was more than all the newsletters his boss sends out in a year.

He tweeted at the Ministry of Information handle and received a follow back. After a few DMs he knew he wasn’t getting anywhere. It must be an aide tweeting for the HMI. He had to reposition. He then saw one of his tweets go viral and it was one calling out a government agency for not supplying water. That was when he realised what powers he has. The best way to get people’s attention is by attacking them. He made himself into a one man opposition squad latching on the fuel subsidy removal brouhaha tweeting what the people on the streets think and following up with blog posts. In just a month, his followership doubled. He then saw one of the tweeps he admires unfollow everyone on his Timeline and he just knew that for him to really arrive he had to ensure that his followers to followed count was at the ratio 1:100 for starters. He woke up one morning and unfollowed all but 50 people in his followed list. And then he started tweeting against the information ministry. As expected, the Minister of Information invited him for a meeting in Abuja. He stopped searching for a job.

He gets a DM notification and clicks on it. One of the Minister’s aides wants to know why he sent out only one tweet. He ignores the DM. All these twats that are trying to justify their pay. He will place a call to the minister himself later. This government is making too many mistakes and if they wanted to retain his services at creating counter narratives, they’d have to pay more. His only annoyance is that he doesn’t have that much of a bargaining chip. All he and the other Social Leaguers had going for them is the claim that they had played a crucial role in bringing down the last government, but he knows that claim won’t stand strong scrutiny. They had to find something else to negotiate with.

He gets another DM notification. This time it’s a fellow Social Leaguer asking him to join the WhatsApp group chat. He hated being told what to do. He had been reading their chats in that group without contributing. He has been doing better than most of them and he is not unaware of the fact that there are cliques within their league. One group is presently trying to work out something directly with the Presidency- a deal he has already sent in a bill for. They were even offering to work for free for three months to demonstrate what they can do. Idiots! He will continue to use them until he finds other suitable people. All the people he trains in this business eventually form their own group offering social media services. If only he could land that job as a Minister’s aide. But for now, he had to work with his own group within the group…just four of them with a combined follower count of almost half a million. They were the ones who made things happen.

He can’t even work with the opposition right now. He had been too involved in opposing them during the last elections – things had got too personal. He only has two options, find a way of getting a government appointment or set up an NGO. He is getting tired of this tweeting business, too much competition and you don’t even know when private conversation will be munched and put in public space which means he can’t even speak freely in private when he disagrees with certain policies. He is tired of acting to be dumb so as not to annoy his employers.

Another DM. This one is longer. He clicks on it. This he must respond to immediately. One of those girls he has a thing for is finally ready to play ball. She wants a meet. But it can’t be tonight. He has to to get those his Niger friends to send him that mixture. He recalls the first girl he dated and lasted all of three minutes. Years later, she found him on Twitter and tweeted about how he doesn’t last long. He has been thinking of how to change that perception as his more recent girlfriends didn’t have longer tales to tell either. This is his chance. His friend had told him how coffee, ginger and lime is a strong aphrodisiac but he would rather the Niger guys did it for him. Tomorrow night he will try it out. He will also have time to set up video recording so he can watch it later before he decides how to leak it. He picks up his phone and replies her DM.

(Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this series are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

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