A recent report on the 2023 general elections has revealed that during the peak of the election campaign period, political parties spent a total of N28,784,369 on paid political content on Facebook and Instagram. The report, released by the European Union Election Observation Mission, referred to data from the Meta Ad Library and covered the period from January 2023 to mid-March 2023.
According to the report, the official social media accounts of the political parties accounted for N22,670,327 of the total expenditure, while unofficial accounts spent N6,114,042. The breakdown of the official account spending showed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) spent N9.8m, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spent N10.74m, the Labour Party spent N156,000, the New Nigeria People’s Party spent N139,000, and other parties spent N1.83m. For the unofficial accounts, the APC spent N3.67m, the PDP spent N1.49m, the Labour Party spent N680,000, the NNPP spent 21,000, and other parties spent N250,000.
The report also highlighted that political ads were purchased by additional parties such as the African Action Congress, Young Progressives Party, Accord Party, and Social Democratic Party. These ads received a total of 8,280,000 impressions.
Furthermore, the report noted that Twitter did not allow political advertising during this period. Although paid ads were permitted on YouTube, the absence of Google’s transparency report for Nigeria meant that specific details about paid ads were not publicly available.
Regarding social media usage by presidential candidates, the report revealed that out of the 18 candidates, nine actively utilized social media platforms, including the leading contenders. A total of 1,089 published posts were analyzed. The report identified various topics covered in the candidates’ Facebook and Twitter posts, which included campaign rallies, voter encouragement, media interviews/press statements, political manifestos, positive/supportive messages, and smear campaigns.
In terms of the number of posts, Peter Obi of the Labour Party had the highest count with 411 posts, followed by Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress with 233 posts, and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP with 179 posts. Other candidates mentioned in the report were Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP with 102 posts, Bola Tinubu of the APC with 74 posts, Christopher Imumolen of the Accord Party with 32 posts, Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party with 31 posts, Hamza Al-Mustapha of the Action Alliance with 17 posts, and Kola Abiola of the People’s Redemption Party with 10 posts.