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For record: Welcome Address Being Delivered By Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Chairperson Planning Committee of the 4th Anniversary Lecture of Penpushing Media

Excellencies, Distinguished Keynote Speaker, Special Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Board of Penpusging  Media  and the Planning Committee of this year’s anniversary, I want to formally welcome everyone to the 4th Anniversary Lecture with the theme;  Social Media Regulation: Insecurity and Election Accountability In Nigeria.
We could not have pulled off this event without the hard work and dedication of the planning committee and other members of the Penpushing media who worked tirelessly from day one to make today a reality.
Social media has become a very important tool for political leveraging while it is yet to entirely replace the traditional media as the major tool of political activism it has recently served as diva of political debate.
Existing data confirms that there are Thirty Three  (33) million social media users in Nigeria as at January 2021 with cell phone access figure of over 48 per cent and internet access of 36 per cent. Nigeria’s social media concentration is about 40 per cent of the population, amounting to almost 90 million people.
Comparing this figure with the number of registered voter population in the country put at 89 million as of 2021. This explains the importance of this tool for security balance and elections accountability.
I can confidently say that social media can be a catalyst for democracy and a barrier to authoritarianism if properly used.
Public comments and research have shown that government  has become uncomfortable with the thread of the use of social media and  based on what they called “abuse of the platforms,” government institutions are attempting to tame the effect of social media to prevent its propensity to ignite an already polarised country like Nigeria .
In a democratic society, over-regulation is seen as a threat to free speech. The attempts at social media regulation hinged on national security are counterproductive and, if actualized, will close up civic  spaces .
This gathering today provides opportunity to contribute to this discourse, our keynote speakers and panelists are definitely prepared to steer the discussion , we do hope the meeting will contribute to national discourse.
Our aim is to use unconventional means to provide a road map for Nigeria, the outcome of today’s event will be passed on to our policy makers at state and national level.
We thank you for being part of nation building and particularly the founder of Pen pushing media Prince Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji for this laudable initiative .
In light of the above, we look forward to deliberations and outcomes on today’s dialogue on social media: Insecurity and election accountability in Nigeria with the view of establishing processes  that the government can follow in developing a comprehensive system of regulation for social media without infringing on the rights of its citizens and obstruct free speech.
Thank you!
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