Festus Keyamo’s Two Nations In Nigeria And The Implications For Buhari’s Re-election

By Ikenga Chronicles March 12, 2018

Festus Keyamo’s Two Nations In Nigeria And The Implications For Buhari’s Re-election

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari’s die-hard advocate, Festus Keyamo opined that there are two nations in Nigeria viz; the Social Media nation populated by elites, and the normal Nigerian nation populated by “ordinary Nigerian” citizens.

Keyamo went a step further to assert that while the Social Media nation basks in the aura of a failed Buhari who will not be re-elected, in the “real” world populated by “ordinary Nigerians”, Buhari still enjoys widespread followership, and is greatly loved. To buttress his point, Keyamo talked about the “mammoth” crowd that troop out to welcome Buhari anytime he visits any part of the country.

Now, there was a comment that Keyamo made that is worth examining. He said;

“There are two wrong assumptions that some make about elections: 1. That d loud voices of celebrities & elites are d majority view & 2. That no other world exists outside the opinions expressed on Social Media. Hillary Clinton & President Jonathan were victims of these assumptions.”

Evidently, Keyamo was not on Social Media during the last general elections in Nigeria, otherwise, he would have known that the “opinions expressed on Social Media” at that time was largely pro-Buhari and not pro-Jonathan! He would have also known that those “elitist voices” that he is criticizing now, were loudly in favour of Buhari, and thus helped shape the people’s love for the man, and their decision that come hell or high water, he would succeed President Goodluck Jonathan.

It seems that in Nigeria, remembering is a huge problem. That is why, leaders continue to repeat the same mistakes that led to the downfall of their predecessors. This plague seems to have attached itself to the Buhari administration, hence he is making all of the same mistakes(in greater measure) made by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, that led to him being kicked out of office by angry Nigerians.

Buhari and his crew, as exemplified by the utterances of Keyamo have forgotten how opinions are easily shaped by Social Media in today’s Nigeria. In fact, in 2015, many of the advisers of President Jonathan made the same mistake that Keyamo is repeating. They gloated that elections are not held on Social Media, and expressed their confidence that “ordinary Nigerians” who are not on Social Media love Jonathan so much and will vote for him. They learnt their lessons the hard way!

It seems however, that instead of learning from the mistakes of Jonathan’s advisers, and thus advising their principal to finally take charge and become a leader that cares, Buhari’s people like Keyamo feel that all of the complaints against the Buhari administration are being carried out by “elites on Social Media”, and thus do not reflect the overall feeling of despair of the totality of Nigerians. What many analysts know of a certainty is that Social Media reflects the pulse of the Nigerian nation, and as such should be taking seriously.

The 2019 general elections are still about one year away, so there is ample time for people like Keyamo to come to the realization that rented crowds do not reflect the mood of the Nigerian nation, and consequently come to the understanding that the Nigerian nation is one, and not two.