Several African nations, including Nigeria, are notorious for being less than democratic. Classifications of African regimes most commonly range from ‘authoritarian’to ‘hybrid’. This indicates that our governments tend to be dictatorships at worst and failing democracies at best.
But there is good news. We can turn things around using avenues that are widespread and easily accessible to all of us. In political theory circles, social media is considered the modern equivalent of the party newspaper, a means of choreographing collective action.
Although some claim that the impact of technology on the success of social movements has been exaggerated, this is not the case, as access to and usage of social media was another major deciding factor in the potential success of several recent social movements.
For example, social media avenues provided the end of the Jammeh government’s communications dominance. Furthermore, the Gambian diaspora used social media to promote their primary interest of removing Jammeh: #JammehMustGo. We can do the same thing. Although we may not need to go as far as to oust our entire government, we can use Facebook, Twitter and the like to push for more representation and transparency.
Social media plays a large role in emphasizing the fragility of the state. An informant during the overthrow of Jammeh stated that a protest which was shared broadly on social media “showed Gambians on the ground that Jammeh was so beatable after all”.
This is the same way that we can harness social media power to eliminate the issues that plague politics here in Nigeria as well. We have already taken the necessary beginning steps in doing so by using social media channels to expose corruption.
The #WhatIsCorruptionToYou campaign launched on Twitter in 2017 received a large number or responses, sparking a necessary conversation about what delineates foul play in Nigerian politics.Let us continue and expand the conversation through likes, posts and retweets until we have established the kind of government that we Nigerians deserve.
Funmilayo Adetokunbo A-A, a political and International Affairs Analyst, writes from Somerset, England, United Kingdom.