For a political party that describes itself as the continent’s biggest, getting enmeshed in social media confusion should not be expected but this is exactly what is happening as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday extended its intra-political imbroglio to the social media space.
It all started when the party’s National Publicity Secretary’s Head of Publicity Division, Chinwe Nnorom, revealed the party had formally closed its official twitter handle @pdpnigeria. He said the decision to shutdown the Twitter handle was due to the posting of unauthorised tweets via the Twitter handle.
As a way out, he said henceforth, the party’s official a statement issued monday by on behalf of the party said it would henceforth operate on a new twitter handle, known as @officialpdpnig.
“I am directed by the leadership of our great party, the PDP led by Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, to announce the immediate closure of the party’s official twitter handle, @pdpnigeria and re-launch of another handle for effective use and control. The new handle is @officialpdpnig henceforth.”
The party said that the National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye is currently the chief spokesman and image-maker of PDP, in line with the party’s constitution.
“Consequently, nobody is allowed to issue official statement or speak for and on behalf of the party except authorised by the party hierarchy to do so. The leadership warns that it will not hesitate to take disciplinary measures accordingly against any member that flouts this directive.”
It would have been a well understood development if the previous handle was truly shut down but as at today, September 6, 2016, both Twitter handles are live and claiming to be the party’s official social media handle. In the same vein, it is enjoining Nigerians and party members to dissociate themselves from dealing with the other social media handles. Interestingly, both handles still reference their official website to be peoplesdemocraticparty.com.ng which appears to be under the control of those behind the new Twitter handle since the website shared news of the shutdown of the former Twitter handle.
In other words the former has the Twitter verification while the new Twitter handle seems to control the website too.
While @PDPNigeria has been verified by Twitter, @OfficialPDPNig is yet to get verified. Furthermore, the former has over 188,000 followers while the later has less than 600 followers as at press time. Since there is disagreement on the leadership of the party, the discord on social media is expected as individuals claiming to be leading the party now have social media presence. In spite of the leadership tussle, both sides of aisle are behind the party’s flag bearer in Edo state governorship election and in accusing the ruling party, APC, of bringing hardships on citizens.
But the question on the minds of close observer is: what will Twitter do – will it verify the other faction’s Twitter handle thus giving the party two verified Twitter accounts, will withdraw the former’s Twitter verification and verify the new one instead, or will it leave both handles as unverified until the party is able to reach a consensus?
Maybe Twitter would be able to solve the party’s rancor by putting its verification at stake. All hail the power of social media.