On Friday, the 4th of June, 2021, the Nigerian government through the minister of information, Lai Mohammed announced that it had suspended the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
“…persistent use of the platform to undermine Nigeria’s corporate existence…”
It’s a really saddening moment for Nigeria’s democracy, that a sitting president insists that one of the largest social mediums in the country be suspended for deleting his genocide-implying tweet.
While it’s within his power to determine the impact of Twitter on the country and whether they be allowed to push their operations or not, it is very heartbreaking that President Buhari deems it fit to condemn the app that he majorly deployed to clean up his image and reputation in 2015; (a job done by media practitioners & Twitter influencers who make up a sizeable proportion of Nigeria’s entertainment industry).
This decision leaves a devastating ripple effect on Nigeria and an intensely annoying trail of joblessness.
In a reaction to the suspension news, Governor Seyi Makinde reiterated:
“Nigerian youths and digital communications organizations earn a living from being able to use the platform to post communications on behalf of their clients. Others who may not have physical stores also rely on Twitter to give visibility to their products”.
It’s important to note that Twitter is currently the largest communications network in Nigeria at the moment, And definitely the fastest channel to inform the general public.
The International Trade Administration (ITA) describes Nigeria’s entertainment industry as “a best prospect industry sector for this country”.
Imagine one of Nigeria’s best performing industry lose almost 60% of its total revenue as a result of Nigeria’s decision to suspend Twitter operations. In a country that houses over 200 million citizens and practices democracy, this is an absolute aberration.
I put it to you that by suspending the operations of Twitter, the Federal Government of Nigeria just put a knife to a 7 Billion Dollar industry.
In 2021 alone, the music revenue in Nigeria rose at a 13.4% CAGR to US$73 million, while Nigeria’s entertainment industry (Music & Nollywood) as a whole is estimated at a whopping $7 billion.
How can you make a decision that negatively affects one of your best performing industry in two decades, especially when most governments parastatals and projects are failures and the country is almost overrun by terrorists.
Twitter is a major voice for entertainment industry professionals, and you can rest assured that this decision to suspend Twitter operations will most definitely lead to a loss of numerous jobs, contracts and engagements by professionals who use Twitter to amplify their message.
Why Is This An Issue?
Needless to say, a few months down the line, the same federal government suspends Twitter operations.
Simple, by suspending Twitter operations, the Federal Government of Nigeria is basically shutting down Wizkid FC & Outsiders.
WIZKID FC is the fan base of Wizkid, one of Nigeria’s Grammy winner. And Twitter is basically their HQ, if we’re allowed to call it that.
OUTSIDERS on the other hand is the cult-like fanbase of Burna Boy, Grammy’s Global Music Album category winner and they’re equally quite vocal about their devotion to the founder.
The influence of these Twitter fanbases is a driving force for the young talented acts, and has helped them create conversations that have propelled them into global limelight. Even Fela the pioneer of Afrobeat recent International Hall Fame recognition was known to Nigerians via the Twitter App.
One of my really good friends Adesokan Emmanuel is also an entertainment industry professional who’s popularly known on Twitter as @Shankcomics is from a humble background but he’s been able to bridge the gap between him and a better life through his Twitter adeptness and social media prowess.
He’s a 2:1 graduate of Electrical Engineering, and even though the nation failed him, he took the “Twitter-Bull” by the horns and made a living for himself through content creation & digital campaigns on social media especially Twitter where he’s managed to build a cult-like following.
As of today, his social media pages, especially Twitter has more engagements than some of the most popular young influencers despite his veteran status.
He uses his social media adeptness to amplify his personal projects and improve the lives of young talented acts all over the country. One of them is Korede Bello who performed at Buhari’s inauguration ceremony after the 2015 elections.
Imagine his surprise when he wakes up on Friday to the news that the Federal Government has ordered the suspension of Twitter, one of his major communications channels.
The Federal Government cites a threat to its corporate existence as the reason for the suspension but how does it reconcile that decision with handicapping a $7B industry?
I mean how do people run digital campaigns, music promotions, ads, and measure consumer behavior or reaction without Twitter?
This is absolutely difficult if not impossible, given that Twitter is the fastest way to get any information to soar as fast as possible.
This is separate from the millions of dollars they’d have already pumped into their current projects.
It’s an eyesore. This is just a few out of millions, in a country where the entertainment industry does more for the common man than the democratically elected president.
What do you think is the way out of this mess? We obviously cannot go back in time to 2015 anymore, but do we watch while the entertainment industry, one among many others faces imminent decline due to the bruised ego of a dictator.