Pioneer electoral literacy organisation in Nigeria, Electoral College Nigeria, has issued a press statement containing social media guidelines for political office holders in Nigeria.
The statement obtained by Ogbonge News was dated 25th May, 2020 and signed by the Excutive Director, Kunle Lawal.
The guideline has become neccessary to further enlighten the electorates on political literacy (politeracy) and what to expect from social media handles of political office holders.
Below are the guidelines for political office holders in Nigeria as drafted by Electoral College:
– Once in office, your political position should be aligned with the best interest of the country as a whole. As a public officer, partisan and personal reactions/ demonstration cannot outweigh the unified position of the nation. Therefore, the display of party regalia while in office on an official social media handle of a public office does not demonstrate neutrality or governance for all Nigerians. It is not reflective of an unbiased, holistic and objective stance, which every political office and appointee should seek to achieve.
– You have the option to ignore statements you do not want to answer on an official handle but what is not appropriate is to respond in a foul manner or block a Nigerian citizen; a citizen of this democratic country in which you serve; from an official social media handle.
– Everyone is entitled to a personal handle, but once you identify and designate a handle as the official online representation of your office, then you must adhere to the decorum expected of a public servant.
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– That social media handle is automatically held to a higher standard than an ordinary handle. You would use an ‘invisibility cloak’ to hide your physical office from the public. It is their democratic right to raise concerns and address issues with your office. That is a democracy.
– There is a thin line between information and opinion. An official media handle should only deal with facts. Perspectives and opinions are for personal handles. They are often subjective, biased and not representative of unified governance.
– Sometimes the best response for an official source or handle is silence. It is not in the interest of the nation or the public office to always delve into the realm of social media debate. When an official position is clear and a response is necessary, then an official press release should be publicised. Quick responses may seem necessary for a moment but might unlock doors of uncertainty in a few hours.
– It is best practice that for an official public handle, official comments are appropriately reviewed by professionals or the relevant personnel, before they are released to the public.
– In a secular state like ours, official handles must not promote partisan, ethnic or religious affiliations. That is the spirit of a democratic government.