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2015 Elections: Buhari takes campaign to Facebook

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has deployed the use of major social networking sites, to worm his way into the hearts of the electorate.

Checks on Facebook on Thursday showed that the retired general had begun keeping up with the use of the social service with a view to attracting the support of the younger generation.

Although many online analysts might argue that Buhari registered his presence on social media late, his followership has begun growing in leaps and bounds.

Since he emerged the flag bearer of the opposition party, rarely a day goes by without a fresh update on his Facebook page. He now boasts a following of over 150,300 people who subscribe to his online posts.

However, Buhari’s online standing is a far cry from the influence President Goodluck Jonathan wields there. Jonathan, who signed up for Facebook in 2010, has a flowing of over 1.7m people.

But in his latest post following the emergence of his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari stated that he had begun settling down to strategise with the APC vice-presidential candidate in the build-up to the election.

The former head-of-state noted that he would create time to read through the comments and observations of his fans via his Facebook page, as he moves to dislodge Jonathan from Aso Rock in 2015.

“I take note of every comment, suggestion and feedback you give me. Please keep them coming. Thank you for your support,” Buhari wrote on Facebook.

The APC presidential candidate promised his Facebook fans that he would work with all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic backgrounds to “help make our societies more compassionate, more just, and more equitable.”

He has also reached out to Nigerians suffering what he described as “senseless attacks” by the Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

“To my long-suffering fellow citizens who have borne the brunt of these almost daily senseless attacks, I say help is on the way. Terror must and will be defeated. All it requires is the political will, uncommon courage and unrelenting determination, and victory will be ours,” Buhari added on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Jonathan has yet to actively engage Nigerians via his Facebook account, like he did months preceding the 2011 general elections.

But in his recent engagement with his fans, Jonathan stated that he would not renege on his efforts aimed at making Nigeria a reference point in the comity of nations.

The President claimed that Nigeria was witnessing a revolution in the railway sector, adding that his administration’s desire to link the nation’s commercial and administrative capitals was receiving global affirmation.

“This forward march to progress will continue, with your cooperation, until Nigeria’s infrastructure, be they roads, schools, airports or hospitals, are listed as amongst the best in the world. And by God’s grace, this will happen in the not too distant future,” Jonathan stated on his Facebook page.

Jonathan explained that he had been humbled by his ratification as the sole presidential candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

“I am humbled by this affirmation and, by the grace of God, I will never let you down even as I promise to build on the progress already made. May God bless you all and may He also bless our Motherland, Nigeria. Forward Nigeria!” he added.

Further checks online showed that no authentic social media accounts could be traced to Vice-President Nnamadi Sambo. But Osinbajo has since signed up for the micro-blogging service, posting his first tweet on December 10.

Although he has yet to react to his emergence as Buhari’s running mate online, the law professor hailed the retired general’s candidature when he was elected.

“I congratulate General Buhari on his victory at the primaries. That was well deserved. We see better days ahead,” he had stated following Buhari’s emergence.

Stating that he was looking forward to having a good time online, the former Lagos justice commissioner’s engagement with avid users of the micro-blogging service in the last eight days has earned him 5, 600 followers.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Kwara Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Dr. Bukola Saraki, argued that the majority of the lawmakers who failed to win return tickets were those who placed “Jonathan above the nation.”

Saraki stated that he believed the lawmakers in the 7th Assembly could have done a better job, if they had been “a bit firmer and tougher” on their oversight functions.

“Hope senators coming in the 8th Assembly will learn from what is happening in the 7th assembly. Senators who put GEJ above the nation now have no return tickets,” Saraki said.



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