A search on the site on Tuesday revealed that the handle, which is the only verified official state government Twitter handle in Nigeria, has 8, 707 followers and has since been a platform where the government of the state keeps citizens aware of its activities. Its Facebook fan page is also the one with the highest following – with 9, 462 fans.
Coming a distant second is the official handle of the Lagos State Government, @followlasg, which boasts a Twitter following of 1,175. On Facebook, Lagos State also trails Ekiti from behind with a fan base of 8, 412 followers.
Oyo State holds the third spot with 1, 024 followers as it engages citizens with its handle @oyostategovt.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter handles of the governments of Adamawa and Jigawa states have never been active since they were created many months back, findings by our correspondent also revealed.
A check on social network shows that @jigawa1, the official handle of Jigawa State Government, was created on September 6, 2012.
However, eight months down the line, the handle has never sent out a tweet. Rather than engage the citizens of the state via the handle, the social media team of the state chose to follow a parody account of English football club, Manchester United, @unitedupdates. It, however, finds it good to follow the handles of four media organisations.
Twenty-four citizens of the state, who decided to subscribe to the tweets of the dormant handle, are still waiting for the day the administration of Governor Sule Lamido will deem it fit to make the account active.
Adamawa State virtually has yet to make any meaningful engagement with the citizenry via the social media. Apart from the fact that its Twitter handle, @AdamawaStateGov, launched on the micro-blogging service on May 7, 2012, has never been active, it’s Facebook is no better. The Facebook fan page, which boasts a following of 69 fans was last updated on August 8, 2012.
A check on the social service on Tuesday shows that a handful of state governments have yet to deem it fit to use a Twitter handle. For instance, none could be traced to Osun, Kogi, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara states.
For instance, a search through Twitter returned no result for an official handle for Osun State while the Twitter plug-in on the official website of the state, www.osunstateng.com, directed our correspondent to the Twitter Help Centre rather than a Twitter account.
It is worthy of note that rather than creating official handles, some state governments simply create the handles for their respective governors and integrate the accounts on their websites and use them as official state government handles.
For example, the Ondo State Government refused to open an official Twitter account for the state government but rather chose to make use of the Twitter handle of the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, @OlusegunMimiko. Such decisions usually make it difficult to transfer such Twitter handles to successive administrations in such states.
Lagos and Ekiti states are some of the states that separated the Twitter handle of the state government from that of the state governor. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, for instance, has the handle, @tundefashola, while its state government tweets via @followlasg. With this, the next administration after Governor Fashola can carry on with the social media engagement with the citizens of Lagos State rather than form a new handle and start from the scratch.
A digital media expert, Sola Fagorusi, argues that it was high time states with no Twitter handles created one to bring governance closer to the people. He explains that with a handful of tech-savvy members of staff of the state governor’s media teams, they can kick start an enriching engagement on the micro-blogging service.
Fagorusi says, “State governments stand to benefit a lot from the use of a very popular social network like Twitter. Governance is about service and it’s wrong to serve people without giving them feedback or wait till when there is pressure or a crisis to do so. Twitter offers them state governments the opportunity to connect with citizens in real time and it also gives them that very rare opening for feedback in a public square.”
By Temitayo Famutimi
This article was first published in The Punch
Last modified: May 15, 2013