President Jonathan, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) popularly called President GEJ – a combination of the first letters of his names – has 22 other Twitter accounts posing as his but this comical one stands out.
In his first tweet on Monday, he appeared real. “Less than 2 weeks to an election that will finally make me the real president of Nigeria, I opened a twitter account. Please follow me,” the user tweeted.
Many close observers of the election quickly followed hoping to get regular updates from the president considering the other accounts are not usually updated. Followers soon began to disembark after it began to post comical updates.
In subsequent tweets, he promised to take questions and give his followers prizes like “oil block” and shares of big government companies. Shortly after the African nation cup qualifiers match with the Super Eagles and the Ethiopian national team the user updated: “I didn’t go to the National Stadium to watch it. The chairs there are not comfy- you know… Don’t be fooled by Buhari who went there. The man does not know the difference between corner kick and penalty.”
The identity of the person behind PresidentGEJ’s tweets has not been revealed but it bears the image of the president and claims to reside in Aso Aso Luck as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Although it tweets are comical, the user sometimes gets offensive, referring to itself – the incumbent – as “dumb” and his opponents and their supporters and “goats” and “fools.”
Kunle Adetiba, an online media expert said this buttresses the unreliability of some social media instruments. Due to the expanded usage of the social media platforms in Nigeria, most of the politicians seeking offices rely on them to broadcast messages to their fans, apparently, because of its next-to-zero cost, compared with the traditional media.
Although the reach of the social media is extensive, Mr. Adetiba said close to half of the information spread on some of these media are not verifiable and cannot be trusted.
One of its recent posts, @presidentGEJ attacked Atahiru Jega, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for asking voters to stay behind and witness the announcement of results in their polling units.
“Jega is wrong. Voters cannot witness vote count. That is unconstitutional. And I know what is. I signed it,” it updated.