#TyrantBuhari: Why PDP cannot win on social media just yet

On the 30th of December, 2015, during his first presidential media chat, President Buhari insinuated that the Federal Government would continue to detain former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and Radio Biafra director, Nnamdi Kanu, despite the fact that several court orders have granted them bail. Many Nigerian activists and lawmakers scolded him,  for thinking he is above the rule of law. In a bid to draw attention to his comments, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Director of New Media, Adeyanju Deji started a hashtag #TyrantBuhari on Twitter.

This is not the first time a main opposition party in Nigeria has used Twitter to campaign against presidents. A hashtag #cluelessGEJ was used by the All Progressives Congress (APC) party and its supporters for most of the last administration to discredit former President Goodluck Jonathan. This moniker paved the way to promote the notion that the former president was inefficient in his role as president and therefore needed to be removed. Roles are reversed now and PDP, the main opposition party, is using the social media to discredit the current president, Muhammadu Buhari.

However, PDP cannot win using Twitter, at least not yet. Buhari’s statement about the detained men can be likened to just one of the straws that are placed on a camel’s back, until the last straw eventually breaks said back. Just like the former president began to lose credibility before Nigerians through social media until he was voted out, PDP seems to want to apply the same tactic. During his campaign, President Buhari garnered a lot of support on social media, especially Twitter. He still has supporters on there and this was evidenced by the number of Nigerians that hijacked the hashtag to proclaim support for the beleaguered president.

In addition, the PDP is using a bone of contention which is that most Nigerians tired of corruption, are in support of. Considering Nigeria’s history with convicting people accused of corruption and treason, the debate of rule of law over justice for the people has continued to rage on. People like James Ibori, Patricia Etteh, Murtala Nyako, Farouk Lawan and Asari Dokubo who had been declared guilty by ordinary Nigerians now walk freely among us, thanks to the Nigerian “rule of law.” It was therefore not a surprise when Nigerians came to the support of President Buhari, arguing that people accused of corruption and treason should not be released on bail. Instead they placed the blame on corrupt judges who grant them bail.

President Buhari’s fight against corruption has garnered him a lot of support. The PDP would need to focus on another aspect of Buhari’s administration, at least for now, owing to the fact that placing too much focus on Buhari’s fight against corruption would be seen by people as “corruption fighting back”. However, Buhari can only go for so long making statements that belittle Nigeria’s justice system before people begin to wake up to defend the constitution. Like they say, no one is above the law, really.

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