“After President Obama, our President has the most presence online” – Full Text of #YNaijaTwitterInterview with Reno Omokri

Interview by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Reno Omokri is the Special Assistant to the Presidency on New Media. Sometimes a controversial figure, Omokri is consistent in his belief in the transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration. YNaija talks with him on his job, government and social media in democracy.

 In 2006 it was established that more youths are influenced by online media. No serious govt will ignore that.

Y! Online: Good morning @renoomokri #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: So we’ll take this from the top. @renoomokri what does your portfolio as S.A to the Presidency on New Media encompass #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija In a few words it is managing his presence on New Media #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri What exactly is considered New Media #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri and why did Mr President feel this was a critical position to fill in his cabinet? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija New Media are the media outside the traditional print and electronic media. Essentially web-based media. #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija New Media also encompasses tools such as Mobile Communications and other new forms of communication #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija In 2006 it was established that more youths are influenced by online media. No serious govt will ignore that #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Also, this is not a cabinet level position. I am merely his aide. I do not sit on the cabinet #ynaijainterview

On his experience in professional social media work.

Y! Online: @renoomokri What experience did you have with new Media before joining Mr President’s team? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija I worked with Trippi & Associates, the firm that pioneered the use of New Media in politics. #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija The New Media Bible ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ was a product of Trippi #ynaijainterview 

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Y! Online: @renoomokri Also who do you report to in this position? Do you report directly to the President? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija I am his personal aide and all aides are under the Chief of Staff. Beyond that I cannot comment #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Sir given the essence of new media is speed, why have the Presidency’s responses to major events been so slow #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Last question was from @omanise #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija I strongly disagree. It is better to be thorough than hasty seeing as weighty issues are involved #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri there has been a lot of controversy around the authenticity of tweet-meets by ministers in your govt. #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija The ones I have known about and announced on my TL were genuine #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri and the rampant use of “social media consultants”. Do you think the govts New media strategy is working? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija After President Obama, our President has the most presence online, so yes, I think it is working #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri What are some of the main challenges around managing the Presidency’s new media presence #ynaijainterview

Y! Online:@renoomokri and what do you think is responsible for these challenges? #ynaijainterview 

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Sometimes there is a lot of cynicism from a section of the populace. An assumption that you are not sincere #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija People must have an outlet to vent. Who would they vent to if not the govt in power? It’s a worldwide phenomenon #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri do you think this assumption is grounded in some iota of reality or is it all speculation? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Given our past especially under the military there may be, but things have changed and our mindset ought to change #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri so do you believe much of the engagement with Nigerians here on new media is “venting”? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Not just in Nigeria, like I said it is a worldwide phenomenon. Some will vent and a responsible govt explains #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri but beyond ‘explaining’ has your govt tried to engage with those who are “venting” to figure out why? #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri For example, during the debates on #SOPA and #PIPA, american senators engaged with constitutents on new media #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri And killed the bill. Can you give us an instance where this happened under your tenure as S.A on New Media?

Reno Omokri: @YNaija This ‘your govt’ refrain does not do Nigeria justice. Nigerians voted for Pres. GEJ. It is ‘Our Govt’.

Y! Online: @renoomokri Sorry about that. By “your govt” I meant that it is a regime you are under the employ of. I’d use ‘our govt’ here onwards.

Reno Omokri: @YNaija The greatest achievement in media in Nigeria is the FOI Bill. Nigerians have President Jonathan to thank for that #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Did this happen as a specifically because of advocacy through New media channels #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija That and the advocacy of others. #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Sorry about that. It is indeed our government. Just trying to help clarify the point.

Y! Online: @renoomokri Does your government employ social media consultants? #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Have you ever been engaged as a social media consultant yourself prior to your appointment by the Presidency? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Yes, and I have never hidden that fact because it contributed to depending democracy #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Given your experience, what does being a social media consultant entail and what is the going rate for such services?

Y! Online: @renoomokri What surprising or amusing thing has engaging with new media on behalf of the Presidency taught you? #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija That you owe the public a responsibility to say the truth even if they perceive it to be a lie #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: Also sir @renoomokri, not sure if you missed the question. But I asked does this government employ social media consultants #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija I can only speak for what happens in the Presidency and I am not aware of that.

Y! Online: @renoomokri So the President and his cabinet do NOT employ social media consultants?

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Again, I do not speak for the cabinet #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri can you name 5 Nigerian twitter handles whose comments on national issues you take very seriously (not vents) #ynaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija I take ALL comments very seriously. There are men of high or low estates but there are no high or low men #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri No doubt, but whose commentary on Nigerian issues would you recommend to say a personal friend. #YNaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija When he is not being humorous @toluogunlesi keeps govt and opposition on their toes. I also appreciate @tejucole #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Also what other new media platforms apart from Facebook and twitter do you manage the Presidency’s presence on? #YNaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri You are rumored to have some involvement in naijapundit.com Can you confirm or deny this rumor #YNaijainterview

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Reno Omokri: @YNaija I have been rumoured to be behind all manner of things if I respond to such rumours I end up feeding them #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Do I take this to mean you are not behind naijapundit.com ? #YNaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri Is it true that the NBC is looking to shut down online websites that stream Nigerian TV stations? #YNaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Not true.

Y! Online: @renoomokri Then what are we to make of this story :

allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Broadcast Regulator Bans TV Station From Live-Streaming Programmes On Website

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria’s broadcast sector regulator, has banned the state government-owned television statio…


Reno Omokri: @YNaija The Headline is sensational to draw in an audience. The story itself is more explanatory when read dispassionately #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: @renoomokri My final question : What should Nigerians who want to engage you on New Media keep in mind? #YNaijainterview

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Power is transient. So is being in govt. Today its me. Tomorrow it could be you.So let’s engage without bitterness #ynaijainterview

Y! Online: And it’s a wrap! We say thank you to @renoomokri for agreeing to this interview and for being graceful under the pressure! #YNaijaInterview.

Reno Omokri: @YNaija Thank you and may God bless you #ynaijainterview.

Y! Online: We say a BIG thank you to our guest interviewer for today.


Same time, next week we’ll be bringing you another exciting interview! #YNaijaInterview

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