SOCIAL MEDIA AND GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA
Since the advent of the social media, there has been a lot of arguments for and against it’s ills/benefits.
We have read about the negative happenings that originate from the social media in relation to personal relationships, business and governance.
To every good side about a thing, person and innovation; there is oftentimes than none a corresponding opposite and detrimental aspect, do we now say social media hasn’t been useful? Or do we argue about how important and beneficial social media is when it comes to governance?
When I hear people highlight the social ills of social media; I can only laugh because they are not seeing or have rather refused to see the big picture.According to statistics over 75% of internet users are on social media, now that’s a huge percentage of the world population to be ignored.
The benefits associated with social media and governance shouldn’t be ignored or frowned against when it has to do with improving the lives and policies of a country and it’s citizens.
The use of social media in governance:
1. PROVIDES AN INTERACTIVE TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION MECHANISM THROUGH WHICH GOVERNMENT GATHER PUBLIC SENTIMENTS : The government is able to sample people’s opinions and get what/how it’s citizens feel about the policies being implemented or about to be implemented.It has proven to be a an easier and faster means of passing information across to the citizens, it has availed the citizens the chance of getting unimaginably free access to government on a cheaper and easier to access fora.
2.SERVES AS A MEANS TO IMPROVED GOVERNANCE:This is a proven fact; the social media has grown to a point where a public office holder knows that the best, fastest and easiest Way to get across to his people and get first hand and genuine score-card of his efforts in office is getting on social media to sample opinions.This has created a level of transparency and connection between the government and it’s citizens and a wise government knows better than ignoring the opinions of it’s citizens.
3.AIDS ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNANCE: The ease with which citizens express their displeasure at some of the excesses of the government, the opportunity of expressing their basic fundamental right of freedom of speech presented by the social media has made the government to become accountable;the government knows better than taking issues on social media with levity.The excesses of our public office holders are being curtailed.
4.IMPROVES EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION AND MANAGEMENT:The government have been able to successfully manage cases of emergency that could have ordinarily gone out of hands thanks to the heads-up gotten through the social media, crises which would have got out of hands have many times been nipped in the bud thanks to the power of the social media.
5.HAS IMPROVED THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH OF CITIZENS:Gone were the days when citizens were afraid of what will happen to them and their loved ones if they dare to contest and challenge the policies of the government.The fear of victimization and intimidation has become a thing of the past; the ability of an individual to hide his identity beyond the level of being easily discovered which the social media presents has helped a lot of people get away with expose on shortcomings of the government and some of it’s excesses are being exposed and addressed.
6.HELPS IN QUICK RESOLUTION OF INTERNAL CRISES:Have we all noticed the ease and urgency with which some of the kidnapping, human brutality, murder and rape are being resolved nowadays than it was in the past? The government has an image to protect and will move fast in resolving any issue that surfaces on the internet questioning the government’s thought and treatment of it’s citizens.
The list goes on, the citizens have come to rely on the social media and the power that it presents; reports, complaints and suggestions are being put into consideration and use.The benefits that social media presents can never be underestimated.
The Social media can be likened to the spark that ignites collaboration between the government and it’s citizens, a spark that can lighten the part to greatness of a country.
So much more can still be achieved when we learn to identify and appreciate the force and weight that the social media pulls.Government should constantly engage and act on the requests, recommendations and tip-off of it’s citizen’s and always treat as a matter of urgency.Government can also work towards developing more apps that can enable citizens easy access to them; a forum for the citizens to alert them on happenings, infrastructural and social amenities needed.
The citizens are their own voices; they need to keep up with updating on their likes and dislikes, they need to put to full use their right of speech and be blunt and firm in airing their opinions until they get the best.
The social media; the tweets, retweets, mentions, shares and likes is the beginning of wisdom for the government of our country, let’s leverage on it.
As a matter of fact, the wheels of change in governance has been set off with the help of the social media and if well utilized and nurtured can set a new pace in government-citizen relationship.
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