Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is on the popular social networking site Facebook. He opened his page to communicate with Nigerians at home and abroad on 28 June 2010. He send regular messages spelling out his vision for Nigeria and responds to comments from his followers. At the time of writing this post, his page has 97,443 followers.
This is how he introduces himself:
My life has always been about service. I am focused on serving my Creator, family and my country to the best of my ability and with your help I aim to be better at doing that.
Today 8th July 2010 he wrote:
From all accounts the Nigerian environment is endangered. Our generation has a duty to stem the tide of degradation that is becoming our lot. Collectively we have to work to roll back desertification in the North, erosion in the Southeast and deforestation in the SouthWest. These along with the clean up of the Niger De…lta's environment are of vital importance to me, for oil and gas will not last forever. When these resources dries up and/or the world finds an adequate alternative, we will have to rely on our environment for survival. As the night gives birth to morning and days to weeks, our programme in this sector will become clear. I would need your support. I want to request that we all look after our environment for it will look after us and the generations that will follow. GEJ
The above message has attracted 1,295 comments. Oluwaseun Adegbiji says:
Well done Mr. President, I think most Nigerians are working toward this except some, who cannot take decision. Please don't just give ideas or make proposals, please sir, try as much as possible to carry out this plannings, if not So many people sayiing carry on, we are with you are the one to tell you Your failure during the short period
Sola Ajisafe writes:
Mr President, the plan to spend N10 billion on the 50 years of our independence is not a well thought out plan and will not add any good thing to your government and the Nigerian people.
Sam Omagha is tired of soldiers who stand behind his president all the time:
Please our beloved president, can you do away with the soldier that stand behind you all the time? For us in diaspora, it's strange because even the most powerful presidents stand alone. Please change this pattern cos we are no longer in military era. Thanks and GODBLESS NIGERIA
Yesterday 7th July 2010 he asked Nigerians to be hopeful about the future:
We must be hopeful about the future. Our history has shown that Nigerians have a strong can-do-attitude and are capable of winning even in the face of very difficult circumstances. I remember vividly one instance that proved to me that the youths of Nigeria can achieve any positive goal they set their minds on. Some of… you may recall the 1989 ‘Miracle of Damman’ in Saudi Arabia when our Flying eagles unbelievably came back from being 4-0 down against the USSR to equalising and eventually winning the game! That same spirit that achieved such an unbelievable feat is still resident in our youths today and is the reason for my optimism. The youths of our Nation built Nollywood from nothing to being the 3rd largest movie industry in the world in such a short time; you helped to bring about this democracy and when I say that Nigerian youths have in them the stuff that greatness is made of, I know this to be true. I will work with you to realise our potential as a great Nation. GEJ
Monday 5th July 2010 he responded to a comment left by a young Nigerian who has an idea for a project to deliver electricity:
Again I spent time reading your comments and yesterday a youth named Toyin Dawodu indicated that he had an idea for a project that could deliver 4,000 MWs of electricity. I believe in the creativity and the spirit of innovation resident in our youth and I want to give Toyin Dawodu a chance to be heard. Toyin, someone f…rom my office will make contact with you regarding your idea. I know I can not attend to every comment or suggestion due to time constraints, but please do know that I read them and they influence my actions. GEJ
This message has attracted 2,350 comment.
Responding to his message, Uchechukwu Benedict Eluwa says that Nigerian youths never give up:
Sir,it is not an over-statement to have said the “Nigerian youths have this never give up atittude”. For me, i happen to be some that never loved politics because of the way it had been played all along. But sir, today, i have a different outlook to politics. Your humble background and personal lifestyle inspires me and millions of youth across the… See more nation, may the good lord who has enthrone you, continually be with you (joshua 1 vs 5) and may all your enemies tremble to confession before you. AMEN. We the Nigerian youths who understands the language of freedom and positive change are in support of you sir. Long live president Goodluck Jonathan, long live the federal republic of Nigeria.
Dipo Darams is a Nigerian student in Finland who wants help so he can use his knowledge to develop Nigeria:
Dear Mr president, i am a Business Technology Student in Finland,on the 19th of April 2009,there was a Finnish-Nigeria Business Forum,which was lead by you sir, and some delegates like Professor Pat Utomi,Prof Tukur,ministers,Bank Managers and Directors, Businessmen,and many other executives of different Firms,i approached them for a Work-… See morePlacement in any of their firms, since i dont want a be a Brain- Drain to the western world,whereby almost all of them are happy to hear about me planning to move home after my studies,so that i can be able to impact the knowledge and skills i have acquired abroad,they gave me their Business and Office cards to called them,when they get back to Nigeria,and i called them for a Placement,none of them cares about my ambitions and plans.WHEN WILL OUR LEADERS BELIEVE IN WE YOUNG UPCOMING GENERATION? Finland is a Non English speaking Country,and its very difficult to get a placement here if you don't speak their language. I NEED A WAY-OUT. Dipo Daramola.
A comment from Livewell Initiative (a project that offers free healthcare in Nigeria):
Mr President, if you do read all comments; what are you doing about encouraging organisations which are filling the gap in the health sector? LiveWell Initiative LWI has offered free healthcare to over a million nigerians in the past three years and it is funded by self-generated income; the latest project was a Free Health Fair which attended to … See moreover 6,000 people in 2 days; giving them all free consultation, free tests and free medicines. Mr President; how may this be taken into the hinterland? There is no global fund and no government fund covering LWI projects; Thank you Mr President.
I read your comments and took them into account in the government's decision to rescind the suspension of Nigeria from International Football. I had a meeting with the NFF today and conveyed my disappointment and those of Nigerians on this page and received assurances that there will be positive changes which will be i…nstitutionalized to make for a better team and better preparations for future events. To Suleiman Musa, Nwanze Francis Uchenna and Ifade Udunayo Peter and the hundreds of Nigerians who appealed to me on this page, I have listened to your voices and those of others and we must now work together to make sure that the NFF and our players do us proud in future events. GEJ
Nigerian blogger and web entrepreneur David Ajao has written a post analyzing Jonathan's Facebook strategy. His post is titled, “President Goodluck Jonathan on Facebook, but….” He writes:
Things seem to be looking very good for him so far. For a page unleashed barely a week ago, he has done tremendously well with followership as he has already attracted 65,783 people at the time of writing.
Although his Facebook messages portray him as a leader with a genuine desire to serve Nigeria, David argues, his decision to join Facebook is a simply a strategy for 2011 elections;
Not only are his brief messages read with rapid attention, but thousands of Nigerians are freely giving their feedback to his messages as well. Much as his messages potray him as a humble man with a genuine drive to serve his country Nigeria, it obvious that this is a calculated attempt to win the heart and minds of Nigerians who are active on Facebook, in a bid to secure electoral victory to continue in the Office of the President of Nigeria after Election 2011. Whilst there is nothing wrong with him standing to be elected or with him driving his way into the hearts of Nigerians, one cannot help wondering if any drastic & positive change can really come out of his party – People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
A man eager to win an election would say or do just about anything, says David in his post:
An objective mind would ask how much a Facebook page launched less than a week ago could have influenced his government’s policies. One can overlook it and understand that a man eager to win a Presidential election would say & do just about anything. After all, then-candidate Barack Obama said so many lofty things when he was seeking election and now seems much more moderate now that he is in the hot seat and drowned by reality. As good as President Jonathan’s intentions might be, some of his recent actions do not leave one convinced that he is out to influence any radical change in Nigeria. How does one explain some of the funny characters he would soon be decorating with national honours?
He concludes his post by saying that only time will tell if his intentions are genuine or not:
Nonetheless, his attempt to reach out to Nigerians directly is laudable. If only he would keep reading as many comments as time would allow, he would surely be on the right path as he would be reading directly from some of the people he is leading. I am assuming he has a mind that can mentally filter out the sycophantic comments though. As to the sustainability or his real intentions, time would tell.