Article

You Tweet! “I'd pay Twitter a tithe if they ask for it,” – @Omojuwa

by ‘Ifreke Inyang [@Ifreke]

Japheth J Omojuwa is a lot of things:

-Director African Operations for The Prometheus Institute USA.

– Research Associate with Ghana based Think Tank, IMANI Centre For Policy and Education.

– Assistant Editor for ATLAS Economic Institute’s African Liberty Organisation.

-Director of Communications and Strategy Feeding Africa Project for Winners’ Haven, UK

– Writer and Blogger for omojuwa.com – Best Nigerian Political Blog 2011, Nigerian Blog Awards.

– Chief Strategist The Alpha Reach Communications Company.

– Nominee for Nigeria Youth Merit Awards November 2011

– Seasoned Sports and Political Analyst on radio, TV and New Media

– Managing Partner Xtrim Clothing Company

– King’s College Lagos | UNAAB | Orange Academy | JCI | AIESEC

– Speaker | Writer | Teacher | Thinking Doer

– Sold Out to Making Nigeria Work

– Team Arsenal

But what do you know about him on Twitter? Let’s find out!

What were you doing before the days of Twitter?

I was busy assisting other people with their dreams. I was blogging on Omojuwa.com in preparation for what I thought was an inevitability in the future: the power of social media. I was developing capacity, working with the Prometheus Institute, African Liberty and IMANI Ghana and serving as a Youth Corper. My work with the Prometheus Institute needed me to be relevant on Twitter so somehow everything fell in place and strategic Twitter handles started following me which helped others to see my words and eventually also followed.

How did you get on Twitter?

I noticed my friends who were quick to pick techie trends had started using it. I started with my company’s name @alphareach but my techie adviser Kunle Fadiora [@kunlay] said it’d help omojuwa.com better if I tweeted with @omojuwa as a Twitter handle so I abandoned the former and started all over with the latter. My first ever tweet was “theoretising the essence of life”.

Will you say more Nigerians are gradually moving to Twitter from other social networking sites?

Absolutely. Most of the people they look up to are increasingly using Twitter to share their thoughts. You meet and engage with a man where you can have his attention and response and we both know Twitter has a leveled ground where we all seem to be equal. The numbers will keep doubling over and again.

How does Twitter help with what you do?

Twitter drives everything I do! I saw a tweet stat three days ago that said my last 50 tweets had reached 73,970 people. That’s more than any newspaper in Nigeria reaches daily. I get paid by brands for publicity. Twitter accounts for about 20 percent of the daily visitors to omojuwa.com, it is my voice amplifier when I need to speak to my friends and those in government. It rattles those who don’t like what I do too. I’d pay Twitter a tithe if they ask for it. It can and will do more for me.

Who would you say is your favourite Twitter?

That varies with the times. @eggheader served me well during the elections, I see a bit of myself in @piersmorgan , @elrufai ‘s handle affected my handle in many positive ways, the handles of people I consider as symbols of the victory and possibility of the Nigerian dream and I love reading tweets from my guys and ladies too. It varies with my mood and the times just like music.

Is there any particular tweet you’ll never forget? Tell us about it.

“If you voted Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria deserves your apology” has to be the one. I tweeted just like any other tweet but people actually came out in droves to apologise. I was shocked recently when someone retweeted it because I tweeted that a long time ago. I still stand by that tweet by the way.

Have you had any embarrassing/memorable experience on Twitter? If yes, what happened?

I’ve had a few embarrassing moments. One of the embarrassing ones came recently when I came on Twitter after a one day break and saw a tweet that said folks should pay money to me as the Financial Secretary of OccupyNigeria. That was embarrassing because I don’t belong to any organisation with that name even though I am an advocate of the need to OccupyNigeria and I don’t know the guys who tweeted that either.

I’ve had too many memorable moments. I woke up on the 16th of June, 2011 to see that my numbers (followers) had virtually doubled. Uncharacteristically I went through the list and was seeing names of powerful guys. That really felt good because I wasn’t even following them. I also woke up late one morning to discover that I had been mentioned over a hundred times because my blog omojuwa.com had been voted the best Nigerian Political Blog over the night. Having over 3000 followers within a space of 2.5 (Aug-Oct) months is in itself memorable.

What are the downsides of being on Twitter?

Unchecked, it could mess your offline plans. You get abused by people who have no idea who you are or where you are coming from. Irrespective of the downsides, I love my Twitter friends and whatever downsides come with that territory in terms of costs is always overshadowed by the benefits of being there.

How much power does the social media have these days?

It is the most powerful media tool in Nigeria and in the world. Look at the trends and you’d find that a social medium like Twitter did not just put some news in the conventional news media, it also helped to keep them there. We are like an Independent country that is part of a continent the continents being our different countries. We break the news, we analyse the news, we expose lootocrats, we tweetslap, tweetknock and literally give sucker punches to bad governance. Government handles created to tell us lies have since resigned to preaching and dull rhetoric. Twitters don’t entertain BS. We will use social media to better the lives of our people. It starts with information.

Do you think Twitter will have a major influence on politics in the coming days/years? How?

Absolutely! Anyone who cannot see that now is either blind, naïve or both. It brought about the Arab Spring, it is fueling the Occupy protests and I don’t think the saddening negative Nigerian exceptionalisms can withstand the power of social media.  Politics is about power and power is about influence. Influence is about money and people. You cannot influence politics if you don’t have both or one of people and money. Social Media presents the people to you on a platter of intelligent tweets, articles, contributions and all – on a platter of gold. If you have the people without having to reach them with billions of naira of advert money and all, that’s extraordinary. If you have people, money will be attracted eventually because people and money always  go together. That’s why Nigeria being a poor country despite 150 million people will always be unacceptable to myself and people who know the power of people.

Describe your Twitter persona in three words.

Original | Powerful | Interesting

Most of your tweets seem to be strong worded. Why?

That’s me. I don’t know how to mince words. I prefer to speak my mind. I don’t do political correctness. I just say what I think or know is the truth or right. I am not perfect but I speak my mind perfectly and I think if we  all do that most of our tweets will come out strong and passionate because  we are creations of passion. Social and political correctness have diluted everything but I love people who speak their minds and they form the bulk of  my friends too. Plus it has consistently produced for me a good number of  haters too and like the force of friction I depend on my haters’ negative  energy for propulsion.

 Do you follow back readily? Why?

I don’t follow back readily! The basis of Twitter is to tweet and follow  people whose tweets you want to read. I have never asked for a follow back  but I follow one out of every five people who ask me for a follow back and  that depends on my mood, the person’s language or just intuition. I try to  follow all the people I have physically met. I don’t follow back readily  because I like to have my timeline under control. Twitter like life for me  is strategic and following people has to be that way too.

What would possibly make you close your Twitter account?

A court injunction. LMAO! That’s a joke. I intend to have a happy family someday. If Twitter threatens my relationship with my future wife and my  children, I’ll close the account and forget about it. That’s why Twitter has  to do what it has to do for myself and Nigeria now because the certainty of  life’s uncertainty means that Twitter will not be here forever. But while  it’s here, we might as well shine and win together.

Twitter Stats ( As at 6.50pm, 3rd November)

Handle: @Omojuwa

Followers: 4,478

Following: 616

Tweets: 30,173

Favourite tweets: 76

About Our Twitter Series:

First there was radio, then satellite television, the internet and now… Twitter! In just a few years, this social networking platform has changed the face of communication and convergence around the world. Even news now breaks on Twitter first! As the connoisseurs of popular culture, YNaija created its Twitter series (Twitter Round-up, Twitter Round-up Xtra & You Tweet) with the aim of profiling this New World of information, connection and – in all honesty – fun! At YNaija we think of Twitter as the new, global office water cooler. Gather round!

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