Buhari Most Followed African Leader on Twitter—BCW Study
By Dipo Olowookere
A study conducted on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, by Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) revealed that Nigeria’s President, Mr Muhammadu Buhari, is the most followed Sub-Saharan African leader on Twitter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement from the leading global communications agency disclosed that President Buhari recorded 3.1 million followers ahead of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda’s 1.9 million followers.
The Twitter follower growth of PMB, as the Nigerian leader is fondly called, within the period when Coronavirus emerged in mid-March until June was 51 per cent.
According to BWC, its Twiplomacy study 2020 focused on how world leaders have tweeted during the coronavirus pandemic and how Twitter has tried to keep the chatter clean from disinformation.
The Chief Innovation Officer of BCW, Chad Latz, while commenting on outcome of the research, stated that, “It is, therefore, vital for world leaders to use channels like Twitter to reach out to their followers to spread critical health warnings and keep their followers abreast of the latest COVID-19-related information.
“As the pandemic abates in some countries, world leaders will find themselves with an expanded audience for future engagement.”
On his part, the Group Managing Director of CMC Connect BCW, the affiliate company of BCW in Nigeria, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, commended the BCW global network for the professionalism that culminated in the timely release of the study.
“This report will encourage leaders who have been lagging behind to tap into opportunities provided by social media to communicate rightly by increasing their activities on the platforms to educate and inform their people.
“COVID 19 has changed many around the globe and in Africa the need to communicate what the government is doing and saying shows some level of transparency,” he added.
The 2020 Twiplomacy edition reveals that governments and leaders of 189 countries had an official presence on the social network, representing 98 per cent of the 193 UN member states.
The leaders use Twitter to share critical coronavirus information and encourage their citizens to “stay home” and “stay safe.”
Many leaders have been leading by example and updating their Twitter profiles, wearing a face mask and participating in the #SafeHands challenge. World leaders and diplomats also had to adapt to working from home and have been thrust into video conferences, making diplomacy truly digital.
Globally, US President Donald Trump is still the most followed world leader with more than 81 million followers and counting, while the governments of four countries namely Laos, North Korea, Sao Tome and Principe and Turkmenistan do not have a Twitter presence.