Twitter for Nigerian politicos? Atiku Abubakar has been there, done that, and got the badge to prove it. No, this is not news, I’m merely pointing out that the political strongman and vice president under the last Obasanjo administration has a Twitter account that got verified really recently.

Big deal? Well, there’s still like just over 50,000 verified Twitter accounts in the whole wide world (as of this post), so getting verified is still a holy grail of sorts for the Twitterati. I don’t know how many of those belong to Nigerians but its probably closer to fifty than a hundred.

atiku verified twitter

Anyhow, Atiku’s social media handlers probably deserve that raise that’s coming to them. If not for anything, for managing to claim Atiku’s handle at least. The verification itself though? Meh. Getting the coveted check mark to show up next to your Twitter handle used to be an arcane science that’s somewhere in between Twitter’s vague corporate-speak and the crazy no man’s land of internet how-tos. But it’s becoming more and more pedestrian these days.

I will get to how that is in a bit. But before that, here’s the thing. In Nigerian politics, Atiku’s name is as big as they come. But which other Nigerian politicos have achieved Twitter verified status? None that I am aware of, save for Governor Tunde Fashola, in August last year. Are there others whose public offline status taken with the history and depth of their Twitter engagement, should be more eligible for verification ahead of Atiku? El Rufai, or our very social media savvy, Facebook-bringing president even?

That is the question. The answer? Once upon a time, you had to either be a celebrity, high profile journo, big name politico, be as awesome as Teju Cole, or just filthy rich to get verified. But now there is a bullet proof way to get verified on Twitter today. Simply pay for promoted tweets. Easy peasy.

atiku promoted tweets

Twitter’s promoted tweets programme allows businesses (and now politicians obviously) amass adoring Twitter fans. Verification is part of the package upon signup. The amazing Twitter verification feats of Konga and Jumia don’t look that amazing anymore, do they? At least not to anybody who has $5k to give Twitter every month.

So you will understand how I can’t help wondering if Atiku getting verified has something to do with the fact that his account is the promoted variety.

But no matter. What matters is Atiku’s publicists just got him admitted into that ultra-hallowed circle of cool Nigerian tweeps with the highest mark of Twitter transcendence. If we’re allowed to pretend he actually cares about it, he is probably thankful that it’s not a real club, seeing as it’s mostly musicians and Nollywood actors who are certainly not of his generation that live there. Although, he does have governor Tunde Fashola to keep him company.

And after Twitter verification, what other exciting social media quests will Atiku seek to fulfill? Easy. He’s planning on getting up to a 100,000 followers, a feat he just accomplished on Facebook. I’m sure this is all part of some grand masterplan that we’ll find out about shortly. 2015 is around the corner after all, and the two-time presidential election contender has begun to consort with Nigerian yoots.

If you were late to the Atiku Twitter famzing party, well better late than later. The last time I checked, the account had 26k followers, and to its credit, the feed can’t be described as boring. In fact, it’s positively upbeat compared to his contemporaries on the internets. The account tries hard (perhaps too hard) to keep it real, tweeting with the son, posting pictures of lunch and everything.

Now if only the good man would master the art of the selfie…perhaps then we could believe it’s really real.

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Bankole Oluwafemi Author

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