The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Friday, delivered the keynote address at the StateCraft Masterclass series at Social Media Week, Lagos (#SMWLagos).
Speaking at the event, the Senate President emphasised the growing influence of social media users in Nigeria’s political environment, and encouraged the audience to continue contributing to the development of Nigeria through their dialogue and debate on social media.
According to a statement by Bamikole Omishore, the Special Assistant on New Media to the Senate President, Dr. Saraki stated that:“Without the involvement of social media, there is no way that we would have moved from a non-performing government — because now everything is out in the open unlike years ago.”
Saraki went on to commend the online community, calling them the real ‘Chairmen of INEC,’ citing that their crowdsourced election results from polling stations during the general elections, ensured that the manipulation of vote counts was kept to the barest minimum.
“Though we had the numbers,” Saraki said, “It is really thanks to social media that votes counted because you shared the results as they happened.”
The Senate President also announced that the controversial aspects of the ‘Frivolous Petition Bill,’ which is the section 4 of the Anti-frivolous petition Bill now popularly known as ‘Anti-Social Media Bill’ would not see the light of day at the Senate.
Saraki went on to assure the audience at #SMWLagos that in the next few weeks, the calls for an Open National Assembly (#OpenNASS) would be actualised, and Nigerians would get to see the line-item allocations of the National Assembly.
The Senate President called for continued cooperation and conversation between the government and the public via social media, and mentioned that following the recent National Assembly Interactive Session with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) called #NASSEngages, starting in 2017, CSOs would be a part of the budget hearing process.
The Senate President who is the 1st public official in office to personally attend social media week which is in its 4th year assured participant that his presence at the event shows how serious National Assembly takes social media