Barely 72 hours after Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, joined the micro-blogging service, Twitter, thousands of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora have extended a hand of fellowship to him by subscribing to his tweets.
As at 5pm on Thursday, the President/Chief Executive of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, had attracted a followership of over 30,000 users on the social network.
A check through his Twitter page shows that his followers are not limited to ordinary Nigerians who make use of the social service but include serving lawmakers in the National Assembly, past public office holders, children of past Nigerian leaders, as well as top shots in the nation’s entertainment industry.
Some of the high profile Nigerians following Africa’s most powerful man (as declared by Forbes magazine) include a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; former Governor of Kwara State, and Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Bukola Saraki; and Vice-Presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in the 2011 general elections, Fola Adeola.
Others include a former Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu; daughter of late military dictator, Sanni Abacha, Gumsu; artistes such as Dare Art Alade, Dr. Sid, Rugged Man, and Weird MC, among many others.
Surprisingly, despite the huge reception he received on Twitter, Dangote has yet to deem it fit to reciprocate the gesture by subscribing to the tweets of any of these Nigerians following him on the social platform.
In fact, Dangote is not at present following any Nigerian on Twitter, as he has signified preference for the tweets of a few of his billionaire colleagues; his manufacturing conglomerate, Dangote Group; the World Economic Forum and the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The billionaires Dangote follows on the social network include the former Chief Executive Officer of General Electric Corp., Jack Welch; Chairman of the world’s largest personal-computer software company, Microsoft, Bill Gates; and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, Jeff Immelt.
Dangote’s decision not to follow any Nigerian is very much unlike some prominent Nigerians who make use of Twitter. For instance, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who follows only 26 people on the social network, deemed it fit to follow some Nigerians.
Although Atiku subscribes to the tweets of foreigners such as South African President Jacob Zuma, he did not lose sight of prominent Nigerian users of the social service. As such, Atiku follows the likes of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, as well as entertainers such as Don Jazzy and Ice Prince.
Meanwhile, Dangote has broken his silence online, saying he is “glad” to make use of Twitter. In his first and only tweet, he gave a word of encouragement to many Nigerians who have been asking him for advice on business success saying, “nothing is impossible” to those who pursue their dreams with commitment.
“Glad to be on Twitter. Wishing you all a prosperous New Year. Stay positively committed to achieving your dreams, nothing is impossible,” Dangote said in his first tweet.
However, it is worthy of note that with his decision to sign up for Twitter on December 31, Dangote joined the league of eminent clerics, businessmen and world leaders who signed up for the social service in 2013.
They include Pope Francis; the 41st President of the United States of America, George W. Bush; 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton; former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; American business magnate and investor, Warren Buffet, among others.
Pope Francis, who was elected in 2013 to lead the world’s 1.6 billion Catholics, became a social media star of some kind when he began tweeting on March 17. His first tweet stated, “Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis.” The tweet was reposted by 36,528 people, while 22,304 others favourited it.
On December 10, when Bush joined Twitter, he used his first message to pay tribute to anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela. He wrote, “Barbara (his wife) and I wish we could have joined the US delegation honouring President Mandela today. He, and his countrymen, are in our prayers.”
Also, US President Barack Obama reached out to Bill Clinton and Buffet who both joined Twitter within days of each other in May. “Welcome to Twitter, @BillClinton and @WarrenBuffett,” Obama wrote in a Twitter post.