Twitter, Facebook now NASS leadersâ€™ diaries
Since the inauguration of the eighth National Assembly, the newly-elected Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have created an unusual excitement on social media.
Immediately after the March/April general elections, Saraki, an avid social media user, promised that he would not quit Twitter, which he described as the best place â€œto feel the pulse of Nigerians.â€
In the last few weeks, the Senate President has kept his promise by engaging his colleagues and the public on national issues. Also, immediately after he was elected, he changed the profile photographs on his Twitter and Facebook pages to reflect his new status.
Before many people became aware that he had delivered his acceptance speech, Saraki had uploaded the text on Twitter and Facebook while started an online debate around the key issues raised in the speech had commenced.
The text of the speech reads in part, â€œModern democracy is built on the principle of separation of powers. It will be my responsibility to protect the independence of the legislative arm of our government in the overall interest of our democracy. However, I will pursue this duty with the understanding that our autonomy must be embedded within the collaborative framework that allows government to function more effectively in bringing the greater good to the greatest number of our people.
â€œOur quest for autonomy must not lead us into pursuing an adversarial relationship with other arms of government, especially the executive. Our oversight duties must be constructive, supportive and productive, believing that while we all have different roles to play, we have a common responsibility to the people of Nigeria.â€
As of 4pm on Wednesday, slightly over 24 hours after the speech was published, 869 Facebook users had commented on it. Another 705 shared the Facebook version on different channels.
Hundreds of Twitter subscribers had also retweeted or favourited it.
Saraki has found in Twitter and Facebook a new diary. Also, his post-election activities are documented on the two leading blogging platforms.
The former Governor of Kwara State posts both texts and images, informing his followers about, for instance, the number of photographs they packed into the photo albums he has created.
In a Facebook album tagged â€œPictures from the first day of sitting of the Senate of the eighth National Assemblyâ€, created on Wednesday, he posted 33 photographs showing the activities in the upper chamber.
While resuming duty on Wednesday, Saraki introduced three hashtags through which he wants the public to relate with his team and share their expectations with the Senate. They are #8thSenate, #SarakiNass and #OpenNass.
Dogaraâ€™s Twitter handle is also full of activities. He took to the platform to appreciate those who reached out to him after the keenly-contested election.
The new Speakerâ€™s rise to the House leadership has increased the number of his followers on Twitter. The figure, which was in the region of 4,500 before the inaugural sitting, had increased by approximately 50 per cent on Tuesday evening.
Quoting a report by unfollowspy.com, a Twitter statistics monitoring tool, Dogara said he had gained 2,264 followers while losing six others.
He is followed by many of his colleagues, including Femi Gbajabiamila, who contested the speakership with him.
Statistics from both Topsy.comand Google Trend, online tracking platforms, indicated that Saraki and Dogara was the most discussed individuals in Nigeria between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Saraki, for instance, topped local Google search on Tuesday, with over 20,000 searches conducted on him. On Topsy.com, he was mentioned in over 25,000 tweets from Tuesday to Wednesday.
Dogara followed Saraki as the second most searched individual on Google Trend on Tuesday. He has also enjoyed an unusual visibility on Twitter.
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