Former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, has backed the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, for saying 90 per cent of northerners don’t operate on social media.
Atiku had made the statement when he appeared on Arise TV where he was asked to comment on the popularity garnered on social media by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
The former vice president’s comment received lots of backlash on social media as many felt it was an insult on the northerners while others felt he was mocking Obi’s social media popularity.
Reacting, Omokri stated that northerners are more in tune with radios than with social media.
He said, “The major issue that some people, especially those who describe themselves as Obidients, appear to have with Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s AriseTV interview (because the interview was so good, they had nothing else to hold on to) was the fact that Alhaji Abubakar said ‘In the north, 90 per cent of our people are not tuned to social media.’
“Was the former Vice President of Nigeria wrong? Let us focus on what cannot lie. Let us focus on the facts, not sentiments.
“Almost every working class Northerner in the Northwest has a small portable transistor radio. It is their essential life tool. They get their news from BBC Hausa,” he said.
“Research this. BBC Hausa has 18 million unique listeners every week. VOA Hausa service reaches a combined weekly audience of 21 million. Another 10 million a week listen to DW Hausa. That is more than the number of Nigerians on Twitter and Instagram combined. A lot of these folk who have issue with the ‘90%’ assertion live in a social media echo chamber and think there is no life outside Twitter.
“You trend on Twitter and it gets to your head and you begin to insult Waziri Atiku Abubakar, and boast that your candidate will win on February 25, 2023. Do you know how many Nigerians are not on Twitter? 190 million. You saw those humongous crowds that came to see Buhari in Kano? They listen to BBC, VOA and DW Hausa service!
“This does not mean they are not on the Internet. This does not also mean that they are not educated. You can be educated and have access to the Internet, without being on social media. They are not mutually exclusive. Take time to understand the North, because they understand you!
“The average core Northerner, rightly or wrongly, sees social media as an indecent place. A place of much haram, where their minds will be corrupted by ungodly tendencies. So they tend to avoid social media, in preference for radios. However, it does not make you and I more informed than them!
“Twitter is a platform that Northerners tend to shy away from, because of its very high level of toxicity. But that is not to say they do not use the Internet. They do.
“They are big on TikTok. They also have taken to Facebook ever since that platform adopted Hausa as one of its domesticated languages. They use the Internet for online banking. To watch tafsir on YouTube and even to read the Al-Quran online. They buy mobile phone credit on the Internet. They are Internet savvy, but social media shy. They may not show up on social media, but they will definitely show up at the polling unit on February 25, 2023,” he further added.