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Naijeria: Nani Amemfanya Rais Abadili Msimamo — Facebook au FIFA?

Nigeria si nchi inayofahamika kuwa na viongozi wanaowasiliana na umma.Wanasiasa wa ngazi za juu hujishughulisha kwa nadra sana kuwasiliana na wapiga kura wao, na mara nyingi kuna malalamiko kwamba sauti za watu huwa hazipewi nafasi. Lakini Rais aliyethibitishwa hivi karibuni, Goodluck Jonathan anaelekea kubadili mtindo huu: wiki chache zilizopita alifungua anwani yake ya Facebook, na siku mbili baadaye alibadili uamuzi uliokuwa umejaa utata mwingi baada ya washabiki wengi walioudhiwa na uamuzi wake kuandika maoni yao makali kwenye ukurasa wake wa Facebook.

Uamuzi huo ulihusu uchezaji duni ambao ulionyeshwa na Timu ya Taifa ya Nigeria katika mashindano ya Kombe la Dunia. Mara baada ya timu hiyo kutupwa nje ya mashindano, Jonathan alitangaza kwamba timu hiyo ingefungiwa kwa muda wa miaka miwili wakati ambapo mipango ingewekwa ili kukabili ufisadi. ““Tatizo la soka la Nigeria ni la kimfumo,” mshauri wa Rais wa masuala ya mawasiliano alieleza vyombo vya habari. “Ipo haja ya kujitoa katika mashindano yote ya soka ya kimataifa ili tuweze kurekebisha mambo.” Lakini mashabiki wengi hawakupendezwa na taarifa hizo, walilaumu kwamba kufungiwa huko kwa timu halikuwa jambo sahihi. Mnamo tarehe 5 Julai, Jonathan alibadili uamuzi wake, na alituma ujumbe huu kwenye ukurasa wake wa Facebook:

Nimesoma maoni yenu na nimeyazingatia katika uamuzi wa serikali kubadili kusimamishwa kwa timu ya taifa ya Nigeria katika mashindano ya kimataifa ya soka. Nimekutana na NFF [Shirikisho la Taifa la Soka la Nigeria] leo na kuwafikishia kusikitishwa kwangu na kule kwa Wanigeria wengine kama kulivyoonyeshwa katika ukurasa huu na wamenihakikishia kwamba kutakuwa na mabadilio mazuri …

Lakini je ni kweli kwamba kubadilika huku kwa moyo wa Jonathan kulitokana na maoni ya raia waliopaaza sauti zao zenye hasira katika Facebook? FIFA, ambayo ndiyo Shirikisho linaloongoza masuala ya soka ulimwenguni, nalo halikuwa limekubaliana na uamuzi wa kufungiwa timu hiyo, na ilitoa muda wa wiki moja kwa Raiskuubadili.Uamuzi wa Jonathan wa kufuta uamuzi wake wa awali uliangukia katika siku ile iliyokuwa kikomo cha muda aliopewa na FIFA, na jambo hili limewaacha wengi wakijiuliza endapo ilikuwa ni kwa msukumo wa wa shirikisho hilo lenye nguvu – wala si msukumo wa maoni ya watu – uliomfanya abadili uaumuzi wake. SolomonSydelle anaandika:

Jambo hili sasa linaonyesha kwamba Jonathan amefyata mkia kutokana na msukumo wa shirikisho hili la kandanda. Mtazamo huo unaweza kumwangusha Jonathan ambaye hivi sasa bado ana miezi michache ya kukalia kiti cha urais kabla ya uchaguzi mkuu wa rais … Zaidi ya hilo, mgogoro huu kati ya JOnathan na FIFA unaibua maswali kuhusu tabia ya wakala hii ya soka, ambayo imeitishia hata uamuzi wa kiongozi wa taifa kwa njia ya mzunguko.

Jonathan si kiongozi wa kwanza kujiunga na mtandao wa kijamii katika Intaneti. Kiongozi wa Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, alijiunga na Twitter mwezi April; Rais wa Chile, Sebastián Piñera, naye pia hutumia Twitter, na si yeye tu bali ni pamoja na baraza lake zima la mawaziri. Labda hapa swali kubwa ni kama viongozi wataendelea kutumia majukwaa kama Twitter na Facebook kuwasiliana na wapiga kura wao – au kama njia moja zaidi ya kueneza agenda ambayo tayari wamekuwa nayo. Nigeria inakaribia kuingia kwenye uchaguzi mkuu na inabashiriwa kwamba Jonathan ana mpango wa kugombea, kwa hiyo njia hizi za kisiku hizi kama kujiunga na Facebook na kuifunguliwa tena Super Eagles huenda zikawa tu ni janja yake ya kutaka kujipatia uungaji mkono mkubwa zaidi kabla ya uchaguzi. “Je, hii si njia nyingine ya kucheza na maneno? Je, hii si njia nyingine ya kujaribu kuwahadaa Wanigeria?” aliandika My pen and my paper.

Kwa Rais kubadili uamuzi wake inaonekana kwangu kama jaribio la kugeuzageuza maneno ili mradi tu mtu asikike kwamba ameongea.

Pengine. Wakati utaonyesha kama Jonathan anafanya mbinu tu kwa ajili ya maslahi ya kisiasa — au kama anasikiliza kweli maombi ya wananchi wake.

Nigeria is not a country known for having responsive leaders. High-level politicians rarely engage members the electorate, and it's commonly complained that the leaders are deaf to the voices of their people. But newly-confirmed President Goodluck Jonathan may be changing that: a few weeks ago he opened a facebook account, and two days later reversed a controversial decision after hundreds of disappointed reactions were posted on his wall.

The decision in question was the suspension of Nigeria's national football team after their dismal performance at the World Cup. After the team was eliminated from the tournament, Jonathan announced they would be suspended for two years [so that the Nigerian governing body could be revamped and purged of corruption]. But many fans were displeased with the news, complaining that the suspension was unfair. On xx Jonthan reversed the decision, posting the following message on his facebook wall:

I read your comments and took them into account in the government's decision to rescind the suspension of Nigeria from International Football. I had a meeting with the NFF today and conveyed my disappointment and those of Nigerians on this page and received assurances that there will be positive changes …

But was his reversal really a result of citizens voicing their frustration on facebook? FIFA, the international body governing football, also disagreed with Jonathan's decision, and gave him a week to reverse it. FIFA has a strict policy against political intervention, and {XXX}

President Jonathan's decision to reinstate the team fell exactly on the deadline set by FIFA, leading many to wonder if it was the powerful football organization – rather than the Nigerian people – that made Jonathan change his mind. SolomonSydelle writes:

This now gives the impression that Jonathan bowed under pressure to an international sporting organization. That perception can be harmful for Jonathan who only has a few months in office before presidential elections… Furthermore, the snafu between Jonathan and FIFA raises questions about the behavior of the football agency, which challenged the decision of a sovereign leader in an avoidable way.

Jonathan is not the first head of state to join the world of social networking, Hugo Chavav famously joined twitter in xxx and was followed by xxx. But the question remains whether leaders will use such platforms to interact with their constituents – or merely as one more way to disseminate spread an already fixed agenda. Nigeria is approaching an election year and it is anticipated that Jonathan will want to stand as the candidate for the PDP, the country's ruling party since the transition to civilian government in [1999]. Popular moves like joining facebook and reinstating the Super Eagles may merely be a ploy to win over support in advance of the election. “Is this not another play of words? is this not another design to flatter Nigerians?” wrote My pen and my paper.

For Mr. President to go back on his decision looks to me like an attempt to throw his words around for the sake of speaking. He could just have stuck to his decision, let FIFA be FIFA and let Nigeria be Nigeria. Nigeria is a sovereign Nation. It's FIFA that has something to loose, not Nigeria.

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