The decision of Jack Dorsey to locate the Twitter Africa office in Ghana and not Nigeria, and how Nigerians have reacted towards the news, is clearly giving some of the Aides to President Muhammadu Buhari a little concern.
They have dig out old tweets and news to downplay the effects such a move by Twitter could have on the country and the President in general.
While no statement has been issued by the Presidency on the Twitter Africa office, the likes of Bashir Ahmad who is the Personal Assistant on New Media to the President, while reacting to the Twitter Africa office news, and how Nigerians have expressed their views towards the news, retweeted an old tweet from 2020 by Facebook, where the publication stated that Facebook is to open an office in Lagos, Nigeria.
He then tweeted: “Welcome to Nigeria, a great country,” with the Nigerian flag.
Also, another of President Muhamamdu Buhari’s Aide, Tolu Ogunlesi who is the Special Assistant to President Buhari on Digital and New Media, in a series of tweet on Monday 12th April 2021, frowned at how Nigerians are dragging the President on the issue. He tweeted saying:
“I’m honestly not sure why everything must be turned into a childish pissing contest, by small-minded folks! It’s great for West Africa. We’re delighted for Ghana!!,”
“When Microsoft opened $100m development centers in Nigeria and Kenya @MicrosoftADC (first two in Africa!) nobody went about dissing South Africa or politicizing anything. Because it’d have been silly. Grow up, guys!,” he said.
Not done, he tweeted further:
“One of Google’s new big investments is in a new undersea cable that’ll be landing first in Nigeria & SA (Nigeria is first branch!), “with approx 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region.” Its named after a Nigerian!.”
“A time must come when we all grow up and stop these childish pissing and dissing games. Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, SA are ALL getting a lot of recognition and investment from tech companies and investors. Let’s stop behaving like crabs, as if it’s a Zero Sum game. It’s stupid!
And the desire to cast every good thing that happens to another country in negative light for Nigeria (even while similar good stuff is happening here) is not just a fascinating cognitive bias but also a debilitating sickness that modern medicine needs to get to the bottom of,” he added.
Jack who actively supported the #EndSARS protests with an emoji, released a statement stating why they have chosen Ghana, even with the huge presence of Nigerians on the social media app.
The activities during the protests across the country, and how the Government reacted towards peaceful protesters, clearly influenced the choice of Ghana and not Nigeria.
This statement by Twitter highlighted the reasons why they picked Ghana:
As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.
Whenever we enter new markets, we work hard to ensure that we are not just investing in the talent that we hire, but also investing in local communities and the social fabric that supports them,” the statement said.
Responding, President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo on his official Twitter page revealed that the partnership was agreed upon after a virtual meeting with Jack.
His tweet read: “The choice of Ghana as Headquarters for Twitter’s Africa operations is EXCELLENT news. The government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo while welcoming the development described the partnership as exciting for Ghana’s tech sector.
His tweet read: “As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting which held on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector.
“These are exciting times to be in, and to do business in Ghana.”