- Title: NIGERIA: Jonathan Goodluck announces candidacy on Facebook
- Date: 16th September 2010
- Summary: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 15, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF NIGERIAN PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE INTENDS TO RUN IN THE JANUARY POLL/ ELECTION
- Embargoed: 1st October 2010 13:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5LIMULQ2TKGWIMGEFPEJZKYZ0
- Story Text: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan appears to taking a leaf from the book of his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in using social networking site Facebook to communicate with voters.
After months of suspense, Jonathan declared his intention to run in January polls on the Facebook website on Wednesday (September 15).
The move may seem an incongruous gimmick in a nation of 150 million where many people have limited access to clean water, let alone the Internet, but his advisers hope it might signal a change in Nigeria's old-school way of doing politics.
The timing was carefully calculated.
The news popped up unannounced on his Facebook page just as a rally got underway in Abuja for supporters of rival presidential hopeful Ibrahim Babangida, a former military ruler who first seized power in a coup two and half decades ago.
"I, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a servant of our people, and a loyal member of the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), hereby formally declare my candidacy for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2011 elections," Babangida declared at the rally to wild applause.
Nigeria may only have an estimated 1.6 million Facebook users, and Jonathan's page just 200,000 fans -- a fraction of an electorate numbering more than 60 million -- but the widespread use of Blackberries and other smartphones among the wealthy means the message instantly reached a captive audience.
"There is nothing bad if he wants to declare through newspaper, through posters or any other means or through television. He can use internet, to show that he is the man of the people and he wants to take Nigeria to the highest level," said clergyman HYCIENT UZOMA Jonathan is not the only contender to use new media. Babangida has a website providing links to his Facebook and Twitter accounts and allowing BlackBerry users to scan a barcode for updates on his campaign progress. (www.voteibb.org).
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who is also running against Jonathan, also has a Facebook page.
Using the Web is a strategy that served U.S. President Barack Obama well in his 2008 campaign for the White House.
The U.S. presidential campaign was voted one of the past decade's 10 most influential Internet moments at last year's Webby awards, run by the New York-based International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
But not all politicians have met with success on the Web.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, portrayed as brooding and uncharismatic, was ridiculed last year for what many saw as inappropriate smiles in a video on a parliamentary expenses' scandal, making him an inadvertent YouTube hit.
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