Ayo Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, has hit two million-mark following on Twitter. With the figure, he has set a new record for Nigerian users on the micro-blogging site.
As of Sunday, the young musician, whose followers reached two million last Monday, had increased his Twitter community to 2.1 million.
Following the record, Wizkid remains Nigerian most followed Twitter user, a position once occupied by the Founder and Senior Pastor of Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.
As of 2013, Oyakilome had exceeded one million followers on the site. But his community has experienced a slower growth rate in the past three years. Last year, the cleric moved up to 1.36 million. But as of Sunday, the number of users on his page had reduced to 1.22 million.
Notwithstanding his dwindling social media ‘fortune’, the televangelist is still the most-followed Nigerian pastor on Twitter. He is many miles ahead of his contemporaries on the site.
On Twitter, Oyakilome has more members than other famous Nigerian clerics, such as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and his counterpart at The Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
But while Adeboye has what could be described as a compact Twitter page – a contract with his expansive congregation, his Facebook has recorded over 2.8 million likes. With this, Adeboye, perhaps, boasts the largest social media account in the country.
Yet, Wizkid still has a larger combined following. While his Twitter page has 2.1 million users, his Facebook page has garnered over 1.36 million people. Thus, his following on Twitter and Facebook adds up to 3.46 million.
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Wizkid is just a member of the league of entertainers that flaunt millions of followers on the platform. David Adeleke (also known as Davido) comes behind Wizkid with 1.75 million fans. With 1.49 million users, the Chief Executive of Mavin Records, Michael Ajere (popularly known as Don Jazzy), comes third.
Oladapo Oyebanj (D’banj) has 1.45 million, while Tiwa Savage, another musician, has 1.4 million users.
Other entertainers in the one million followers category are Banky Wellington (Banky W), Bright Okpocha (Basketmouth), Peter Okoye of PSquare and Genevieve Nnaji.
In political circle, the record of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who first announced his intention to contest the 2011 presidential race on Facebook, has remained unbeaten. His Facebook page stands at 2.02 million likes as against President Muhammadu Buhari’s 173,000.
However, @MBahri, one of the President’s major Twitter handle, has 528,000 users whereas Jonathan’s newly-created @GEJonathan has 24,000.
No public office holder, in the current political dispensation, is ‘richer’ than the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, in terms of digital media reach. Over 925,000 users follow the former minister on @elrufai and @GovKaduna. His personal Facebook account has also gathered over 661,000 likes.
A search conducted by our correspondent on Sunday showed that entertainers have remained the most sought-after on Twitter, leading politicians and religious leaders by wide margins.
While Nigerian politicians are struggling to catch up with showbiz stars, public office holders, in other parts of the world, are among the most followed users.
For instance, President Barack Obama, with over 72.7 million users on @BarackObama and another seven million on @POTUS, is among the most popular tweeter.
In Nigeria also, celebrities dominate Instagram, a photo-centric platform. Many politicians and clerics have yet to show serious interest in the fast-growing networking site.
Meanwhile, Chairman, the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has responded to online criticisms trailing the alleged removal of the Lagos-Calabar rail project from the 2016 budget. The National Assembly, he said, never captured the project in the appropriation bill.
Reports of the removal flooded the Internet on Sunday, triggering a controversy. Many users on social media blamed NASS for allegedly replacing the project with phony constituency projects.
Jibrin said, “The Lagos-Calabar Railway was never captured in the budget that was sent by the executive. How then could it have been removed by NASS? I actually find it shocking that even some national dailies made the removal their headlines. A little research would have helped.
“All they, those spreading the false information, needed to have done were to check the initial document sent by the executive… The Ministry of Transportation overshot its budget by N54bn. That is, by the time you add up the items on the ministry’s budget, you would still have a gap of N54bn. N54bn lying there without being allocated.”