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Lai Mohammed blames Nigerians for Twitter’s decision to locate African hqtrs in Ghana

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By Emmanuel Elebeke & Omeiza Ajayi

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday blamed Nigerians for the decision of Twitter’s to locate its new African headquarters in Ghana over Nigeria.

He also noted that the decision was not based on commercial considerations, in view of the large market available in Nigeria.

This is even as ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, countered the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for lambasting the President Muhammadu Buhari’s adminstration over the decision of Twitter to cite the headquarters of its African operations in Ghana.

The Minister, in an interview with Vanguard, condemned the unpatriotic attitude of some Nigerians, especially the media, who he said had always struggled to outdo one another in painting Nigeria as hell where no one could live.

Mohammed argued that the natural expectation was that Nigeria should have been the hub of Twitter business in this part of Africa, given the fact that it had about 25 million twitter users against eight million in Ghana.

He said: “The natural expectation is that Nigeria should have been the hub of Twitter in this part of Africa, given the fact that we have about 25m twitter users against 8m in Ghana.

“Clearly, the decision was not a commercial and business one. But, I think Twitter has the prerogative and exclusive rights to decide where to site its headquarters.

“I hope this will serve as a lesson to Nigerians because all the reasons cited by Twitter for siting its Headquarters in Accra, Ghana is that Ghana is champion of democracy, rule of law among other reasons.

“This is what you get when you de-market your own country. The fine time, especially for the media, is to find fault in their own country, most times exaggerate the challenges the country is facing.  And at no time was  this  better seen as during the #EndSARS protest, where Nigerian journalists, both traditional and new media were trying to outdo themselves in painting Nigeria as hell where nobody should live.

“They tried to vilify not  just the government but also the country. I thank God that the last US report vindicated the government that there was no corroboration to the claim that people were killed at Lekki Toll gate, against what majority of the media were championing.

“I think this will teach all of us a lesson that we have no country than Nigeria. We are not saying you should not criticise the government but be fair and patriotic. When you destroy your own house, where are you going to live?

“You can imagine the job opportunities that citing that headquarters in Nigeria would have created; you can imagine the kind of visibility it would give Nigeria but we destroyed it. Don’t forget that it is what insiders do that outsiders would use to judge us. Nigerians should learn better to manage the image of the country.

It will be recalled that US-based social media company had on Monday announced plans to site its African headquarters in Accra, Ghana citing democracy, respect for free speech and respect for rule of law as some of the reasons for the choice of Ghana over Nigeria and other African countries.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, while announcing the proposal on twitter, said the company would be setting up  presence in Africa.

“Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you, Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo,” he had said in a statement.

On his part, the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, had said:  “The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.

“As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on  April 7, 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.’’

Meanwhile, APC has countered PDP for attacking President  Buhari’s government over the decision of Twitter to cite the headquarters of its African operations in Ghana.

APC in a statement by the National Secretary of its Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, in Abuja yesterday said Twitter’s action was purely a business decision by a private organization.

“Flowing from a statement by PDP, our response to Twitter’s decision to cite its African operations in Ghana is simple. The decision or rationale of private concerns, particularly businesses on where to cite their operations are their exclusive preserve. It is a no issue!

“However, for the PDP that mocks the country and its citizens over what it celebrates as missed ‘business prospects’, such political party does not mean well for the country and should definitely not be considered as a governance option. It is exhausting and depressing highlighting PDP’s ignominious past.  APC will rather consolidate and focus on how Nigeria is finally getting it right under President Muhammadu Buhari,” APC stated.

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The ruling party queried why what the PDP terms the present “misrule” did not stop multinational technology companies, Facebook and Google, from opening offices in Nigeria.

It stated:  “Neither did it stop the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev and multinational food manufacturing giants, Kellogg’s, from establishing their multi-billion Naira brewery and factory in Nigeria.

“Despite uncertainties over the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria earned $2.6 billion of the global volume of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, surpassing major competitor, South Africa ($2.5bn), according to the latest 2020 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, Investment Trends Monitor.

“Nigeria’s current status as Africa’s largest economy was achieved under the President Buhari-led APC administration and our industrious citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries.

“Nigeria is doing a lot through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, which was set up by this administration to remove bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria.

“Finally, we use this opportunity to remind Twitter and other frontline social media platforms of their important responsibilities to curb fake news, disinformation and hate speech.”

‘’In the last US presidential election, the proactive roles played by social media operators in checking fake news and divisive rhetoric is a solid pointer to how proper social media usage ultimately benefits society. We expect no less in Nigeria from social media operators.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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