Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has lauded the author of the book on ‘Cyber Politics’, Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, for his uncommon industry, literary efforts, and activism in trying to make the society better through shared knowledge.
The public presentation of the book: “Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria”, was made by Danbatta in Abuja recently where government officials, journalists, friends, and accomplished professionals converged on Abuja for the event.
Ibietan is the Head, Media Relations Management at NCC and Danbatta, had done him the honour of not only writing the foreword to the book but also playing the role of the presenter of the book to the members of the public.
Danbatta stated, “I’m fascinated by Ibietan’s passion to write a book on cyber politics. Combining his official work at NCC together with his passion to produce this book is commendable. I think Dr. Ibietan committed class suicide by joining the services of the NCC instead of being in the classroom. That is the difference between Dr. Ibietan and I. He joined the Commission to serve while I was beckoned to come and serve the Commission from the classroom,” he said.
On the herculean task involved in writing, Danbatta said: “People who sit down and put their thoughts together and commit those thoughts into writing to produce impactful books such as this are some of the most intelligent people in our society. Dr. Ibietan’s literary effort is highly recognized, and we are happy to have such a hard worker in the Commission.”
The EVC said that aside from his intellect and excellent public speaking skills, Ibietan is also known as an activist, who strives to make societal conditions better. Prof. Danbatta said that he had had a smooth relationship with Dr. Ibietan over the last eight years of his being at the helm of affairs at NCC.
Continuing, the CEO of NCC said that “The different stages that writing a book entail are not easy; it is difficult, from the time you start putting your thoughts together, to coming up with the manuscript. That is why his efforts in writing this book should be seen as laudable, as I have heard there are more books coming after this one and we look forward to that.”
“It, therefore, gives me great pleasure, to present this book, on behalf of the Management and Staff of the NCC and Premium Times Books (the publisher), to members of the public and I encourage you all to buy and read this book and I am sure you will not regret the time you spend on this literary effort,” Danbatta stated.
Danbatta, a professor of telecommunications engineering, noted in his foreword to the book that: “the author situates the historical context of Nigerian politics and democracy” and more so…the nexus between social media and voting behaviour, and the influence of the social media ecosystem among others in the electoral process.”
The EVC described the book “as a compelling narrative, a scholar’s guide, and companion on the various political communication themes it interprets. It is difficult to put down this work once you are drawn by its alluring and free-flowing prose and incisive analysis.”
Published by Premium Times Books, the 460-page literary work reviews Nigeria’s democracy through its elections, particularly the role of social media.
But Cyber Politics is not just about the last general election and filial squabbles, said Azubuike Ishiekwene, the editor-in-chief of Leadership Newspapers, who reviewed the book in Abuja.
“It’s a deeper phase in the exploratory journey of Omoniyi P. Ibietan whose interest in political communication and its sociology goes back to his early student days.”
At the programme, several dignitaries also praised the author for writing the book, which some described as an “exemplary literary work.”
In 12 chapters, Cyber Politics examines the themes of cyberculture, social demographics, political communication and voting behaviour.
It is also a subject that evokes decades of research, but which nonetheless retains its fascination as scholars continue to explore the fraught question of why voters behave the way they do, especially during elections, Ishiekwene said.
The book explores, among other things, the question of whether political conversations among Nigeria’s estimated 33 million active social media users, especially the influencers, had any significant impact on the outcome of the 2015 elections.
A former Minister of Information and Communication in Nigeria, Frank Nweke Jr, said the “book represents an uncommon body of work by an intellectual visionary”, and he is of the conviction that the “extrapolation of the lessons and recommendations of this book will find perfect expression in other climes beyond the 2015 Nigerian General Elections scenario.”
Nweke, a former boss of the author, who chaired the book presentation, commended “Ibietan for this remarkable work, and recommends this book for practitioners and academics in the fields of strategic communications, new technologies, and social change.”
Over the past two decades, Ibietan has researched deeply the emergent interface between communication studies and psephology, which explains his richly nuanced understanding and far sight into the issues involved.
This point was also made by Premium Times Editor-In-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, who described Ibietan’s book as “a classic.”
“It uses Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election as the sounding board for analyses that offer great insights into the future of voting behaviour in Africa’s largest democracy. Those who have interacted with the title have described it as both skilful in its rendition and ground-cutting in its intellectual approach,” Mojeed said.
Mojeed said “At Premium Times Books, we look forward to continuing to publish books that will deepen knowledge about important aspects of our lives. We are interested in getting a number of disappearing classics back to libraries and bookshelves across our country and beyond. If you have any suggestions for us, be kind to get in touch.”
In the introduction he wrote for the book, Dapo Olorunyomi, the publisher of Premium Times, said: “The universe of this new book is intriguing” in its exploration of the “digital effect” on elections.
He also pointed out how Ibietan’s work demonstrates “clearly that social media systems do enrich electoral democracy by expanding access to registration, participation, voting and organising at a scale we have never contemplated.”