Youth Networks on Facebook and Twitter During the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria

In this study I used secondary sources of data to examine how Nigerian youth
formed socio-political networks on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter,
and how these media influenced the 2015 general elections. I purposively selected
four Facebook accounts and four Twitter handles of politicians, political parties
and news agencies. The Facebook accounts were those of Goodluck Jonathan,
Muhammadu Buhari, Channels Television and Sahara Reporters. The Twitter
handles were those of Femi Fani-Kayode, Doyin Okupe, Rueben Abati and Nasir
El-Rufai. The Facebook accounts and Twitter handles were selected based on
their number of followers and likes. I performed an archival study of posts and
tweets between 1 January 2015, when the election campaign started, and 30
April 2015, when all election results were declared by INEC. I also purposively
selected five posts and tweets each from the Facebook accounts and Twitter
handles, from among myriad posts and tweets, according to which had the highest
number of replies on political issues from 1 January 2015. All data obtained were
analysed using descriptive analyses. The findings showed that not all followers
of political parties and politicians on Facebook and Twitter are their supporters.
Moreover the platforms raised the consciousness of Nigerian youth during the
2015 elections in the area of constructive and destructive arguments directly
with politicians, which gave birth to new socio-political movements of followers
and antagonists. The results also showed that youth networks helped to shape
the 2015 elections in terms of exposing and preventing insecurity and fraud. I
concluded that social media play a potent role in galvanising Nigerian youth for
political discourse, conscientisation and education, which in turn can facilitate
effective transformation of electoral processes in Nigeria.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol15 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa