Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is controversial, but in Nigeria he’s caught up in a battle between tech-savvy youth and the ruling class, who appear to be ignorant of their ideas.
His Twitter platform was used to boost support for last year’s #EndSars protest. It began as a movement against police atrocities and transformed into a conflict between the political class and the youth of Nigeria.
However, Twitter is now blocked domestically after a recent tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, 78, has been deleted.
Many Nigerians worship Mr. Dorsey. His ideals of open internet, freedom of expression and financial rights resonate with those who feel alienated by the government.
Far from being threatened by a Twitter ban, Dorsey has continued to tweet about Nigeria, fascinating many here.
He tweeted the Nigerian flag with a handshake and the “#bitcoin” emoji when the country marked Democratization Day on June 12 and protests on Twitter for the cancellation of the block took place in various cities. did.
The next day, he retweeted an article asking the Nigerian government to pursue Bitcoin standards and quoted the tweet with the caption “Nigeria people lead #bitcoin.”
Some analysts say this indicates that Dorsey is the businessman who manages his interests.
Although he’s more famous as Twitter’s CEO, Dorsey is also the founder of Square and Cash App, two payment processing platforms interested in cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin.
Nigeria’s cryptocurrency market is the largest in Africa.
High inflation and weak national currencies have turned millions of people into digital currencies. Some people consider digital currencies to be safer and more reliable.
“There is always room for products and solutions to help Nigerians save, invest and hedge in currencies other than Naira. [the local currency]”Face Baba Femi, a Lagos cryptocurrency expert, said.
She said the Nigerian cryptocurrency market has space for services such as transactions that Dorsey’s financial app can offer.
However, the Nigerian crypto market has been regulated after the central bank imposed restrictions in February.
Concerned about the increasing adoption of digital currencies and what they saw as harmful to the Nigerian economy, the government banned financial institutions from handling digital currencies.
But as investors saw increased activity, regulation had the opposite effect.
Just as people circumvented Twitter’s ban, there is a surge in cryptocurrency transactions between individuals circumventing financial institutions.
“Looking at the ban on Twitter and the ban on cryptocurrencies, it’s actually drawn from the same government-led fears:” How much can young Nigerians be allowed to exercise their freedom on the Internet? ” Ihenyen, head of the Nigerian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association.
Dorsey’s advocates claim he seems to be really interested in Nigeria while he’s driving business interests-he’s in Nigeria on Twitter’s Africa headquarters. I overlooked it, but I preferred Ghana instead.
All one stop shops
Dorsey visited Lagos as part of her November 2019 Africa tour. Uche Adegbite of Nigeria is one of the senior directors of social media giants.
Former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjoi Wara, now head of the World Trade Organization, was also a former Twitter board member.
Bosun Tijani, founder of the Lagos co-creation hub, met Dorsey during his visit and said Twitter CEO left with a strong belief that the platform had a major impact on Nigeria.
“It’s typically a hierarchical country, but Twitter is one of the platforms that gives people the opportunity to have conversations that are never available in the Nigerian context, no matter who you are.” Said.
In fact, Twitter in Nigeria is more than just a platform. It’s a one-stop shop with everything from job vacancies to missing person portals to civic spaces seeking explanations from civil servants.
It had the biggest political impact on last year’s #EndSars demonstrators and has become the platform of choice for young demonstrators. They succeeded in getting the president to dismantle the special anti-robbery corps (Sars), a notorious police force known for its brutality.
However, peaceful protests were hijacked by thugs who damaged public buildings throughout Nigeria.
As a result, the government has stated that it is “responsible” for Mr. Dorsey, and some officials have accused him of being part of a campaign to dismiss President Buhari.
Buhari’s controversial tweets
Intelligence Minister Lai Mohammed claimed that Dorsey had raised money to sponsor one of the protest groups through Bitcoin, and Twitter, which created a special emoji to support the demonstration, caused the crisis. Dorsey did not comment on that claim.
When the government blocked Twitter last month, relations set new lows to undermine “Nigeria’s corporate presence” through the spread of fake news that microblogging sites had “violent consequences.” Claimed to have been used in.
This happened after Twitter deleted President Buhari’s tweet about security issues in southeastern Nigeria. He said “today’s cheating” would be treated in “the language they understand.”
The president faced a massive backlash from users who saw this as a threat of violence. As a result, Twitter accused Mr. Buhari of violating the rule and deleted the tweet.
The government was furious and accused Twitter of double standards. It emphasized a message by Nnamdi Kanu, an exiled leader of a banned group demanding withdrawal from Nigeria, claiming that it encouraged the killing of police officers.
Since then, these tweets have been deleted by Twitter.
The founder of Twitter is largely away from the politics of other African countries and has fueled suspicions among critics that Nigeria has a political as well as a business interest.
But Tijani simply sees Dorsey as representing a new breed of CEO.
“He’s not Bill Gates’ generation. He’s part of a government-independent generation,” he said.
In addition, young Nigerians are using his inventions to drive political and economic change, worried about governments that do not fully understand technology.
“”[Government leaders] We’re starting to see that people can use this technology to challenge them in ways they couldn’t, “added Tijani.