At Handle It Africa, experts urge youth to deploy social media for election
It is against this backdrop that Handle it Africa, hosted its second annual conference recently tagged: Social Media: Expanding Influence, Broadening Thoughts, at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.
The initiative, according to the convener, Olufemi Oguntamu, was birthed to share insightful know-how on maximising the benefits of the social media.
“The team has risen to the challenge, pushing the boundaries to meet the immediate needs of today’s media enthusiasts. There will be more use of social media this year, much more than the years before. As these trends continue to grow, it is imperative that we continue to harness the resourcefulness of this new medium.”
The day started off with panel discussions by a broadcast journalist, Adenike Oyetunde; Founder, Socially Africa, Adaora Mbelu-Dania; Model United Nations Enthusiast, Chimezie Udechukwu.
Others were Chairman Modern Democratic Party, Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbegi and a Political Commentator, Leonard Eteh Ebute among others.
A legal practitioner, Akinyemi Ayinoluwa and On-Air Personality, Olive Emodi, among others, moderated the discussions
The occasion witnessed four different discussions entitled: Using social media to drive a cause, trends shaping political decisions, can celebrities influence decisions and Viral Videos: The new face of engagement.
Speaking on trends shaping political decisions, Ebute maintained that it was time to engage the social media in subsequent electoral processes for the social good of all.
According to him, the ‘digital’ generations, instead of using the media for personal influences, should rather make it a cause that would affect the country positively.
He said: “What ought to be is that the social media be used to effect the change we all desire as a country. We all have roles to play in advancing the cause of our country; we should be initiators of the conversations of how our country should be run. We know how to use the social media, we know how to make the noise but something is missing and that is translating that noise from the digital environment to the real world.”
He stated that the time is ripe for every youth to come up with hashtags that indicates they have got their PVCs, post it on social media handles, stressing this would create an awareness and encourage others to take voting seriously.
Ebute maintained that if rigging is that important or so real; politicians would not invest so much in campaigning as they currently do.
“Lets start taking pictures with our PVCs and post them, this will create some level of awareness on the forthcoming election. Your vote counts, if it is not so, there would not be anything like bribery of ballot boxes on election days.
“Get your voter’s card, take a position in the coming election, choose a candidate and actively promote your candidate, based on whatever criteria you have set for yourself. The important thing we want to see is for youths to be at the vanguard of electoral processes across the country.”
He also urged the youths to resist any attempt to be used as instruments to rig elections.
“You will never see an elderly man coming to snatch ballot boxes, it is still young people who do that and the moment we say ‘no we don’t want to do that anymore,’ it would stop. “
“Let us take pictures of ourselves and the result in our polling unit, send it to the collation centers at both the independent and official collation centres and compare it with the final result declared. Lets see if there would be a variance.”
On her part, Oyetunde stated that the social media should be used for the social good of the country as the 2019 general election is approaching.
“It has been awhile that we have been running democracy and it is time for the youths to protect their votes so that the change we desire comes quickly.
“On election days, people should post election results at their polling units so that people can take better account of it. Political parties should also understand that the youths are awakened and money might just fail some of them in the coming election.”
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