Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,

“I’m so glad that we got it. It shows that UDUS is in its own league. It means visibility; that we are visible beyond the four walls of the school. And I hope that many more great things come UDUS’ way.”

Those were the words of Zainab Abdulrasaq, a 200-level student of linguistics at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, reacting to the news of her university getting the blue tick for it’s official Facebook page.

The eve of Wednesday, February 2, 2022, was euphoric for Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto community as its Social Media Office announced through the university’s official Facebook page that it had secured verification.

Students and staff of the prestigious northwestern university heaped praises on the social media committee and officer for the innovative attempt that saw it complete the quadrat of Nigerian public universities with verified Facebook pages.

The social media officer of UDUS, Salahuddeen Bello Bala said, “I started pursuing verification in March, the month I got employment as the social media officer. I kept applying at the start of every month, but they rejected my application 11 times.”

He said for every issue Facebook highlighted, “We tried as much to see that we remedied such problem and met the requirements in the next application. Although we did as they’d be saying, our effort proved futile. But Alhamdulillah, after 11 months, we are where we are.”

Udus Gets Facebook Verification

UDUS is a second-generation university founded by the Gen Yakubu Gowon regime in 1975. It is a university that prides itself as the “Most Peaceful University in Nigeria”. 

The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) recently adjudged it the third best university in Northwestern Nigeria as well as one of the schools with the highest number of professors in Nigeria.

Securing a Facebook verification for its official page establishes the legitimate presence of the university on social media platforms. It also authenticates every information subsequently disseminated concerning the university community and its development.

According to Bala, the social media officer, “Our achievements are numerous. The aim of establishing the social media office is to protect and promote the image of UDUS in the domestic terrain, at the national level and globally”.

“We hope to achieve our objectives through promotional projects and content that we believe will put the university at the forefront of developing the education sector and society.

“When we took over the account by May 2021, it had just around 7,000 followers, but our activities attracted more followers to our page.

“The quality of information we post informed people that the page is directly related to the management, and that was how we kept gathering followers. At the same time, we try to rebrand the image of UDUS. This verification is only a validation of how far we’ve covered,” he continued.

The Feat Is More Significant

UDUS is the first northern and northwestern public university to get verified. UDUS joins the south-south University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) and the southwest duo of Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) and the Osun State University Osogbo (UNIOSUN) as the only Nigerian public universities with verified Facebook handles.

Other Nigerian universities in this category include Anchor University, Lagos (AUL); the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola; Covenant University (CU), Ota, and a host of other private universities. 

Udus’ Management Pleased

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Development) of UDUS, Prof Yusuf Saidu, expressed his pleasure in the development.

“I was elated when I learnt of the verification from the social media office,” he said.

“This is not unconnected to the fact that the credibility of the official page has been enhanced. It is now apparent that information shared through the page is not by fraudsters or fictitious. This will enhance our effort to limit fake news emanating in the name of the university and consequently the integrity and visibility,” he explained.

Speaking further on the visibility of the university, he said, “Universities are globally ranked based on their apparent visibilities. Of course, a number of criteria are used, but most of them are directly linked to visibility. Genuine social media visibility may just be one of them. When people get factual information, their interest in our university will increase. This includes prospective students.”

The Committee Behind the Socials

In an interview with the Chairman of the Social Media Monitoring Committee of UDUS, Prof Aminu Muhammad Bayawa, he assured  students that the committee works hard to fulfill its objectives.

He said, “Needless to say, it [verification] is a great achievement. It’s a clear indication that UDUS’presence on social media is gradually taking solid roots. And this will, Insha Allah, remain so as we continue to work towards achieving our set objectives.”

“Despite various challenges, the social media committee is pacing in the right direction. We work together as a team, making sure UDUS has a positive social media presence and, therefore, a glowing global image. The university’s social media officer has been working round the clock with other members of the committee to achieve this and much more.”

He further said, “We have set out to achieve a lot. This is just one of them. But through it, we shall work to ensure UDUS’ presence is exclusive; other Facebook pages illegally carrying the name of the university must be disabled so that the audience can have reliable information from the university. 

As I said earlier, Insha Allah, with the support we are having from the management of the university and the vice-chancellor, in particular, we shall work harder to achieve more and give the university the presence it deserves in the virtual space.”

Students Abuzz

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi, a 300-level student of plant science, voiced his elation at the development thus: “Wow! I feel enthusiastic. This is a great omen that my school is going global, and as a student, I feel proud. To say, out of the numerous public universities, my school is one of the only four with verified Facebook pages is a big achievement. This badge is a ladder for UDUS to walk the tour of success to global recognition.”

Elkanah Gift Adaora, a 500-level student of agriculture, revealed her worry that the university’s social media team might relent on its effort.

She said, “The badge actually shows that UDUS’ Facebook page is a community that a lot of people are inclined towards getting information on the happenings within the campus and its environs.

“However, I feel indifferent towards this achievement because the badge signifies more workload in posting more engagements and reports to keep it up. I don’t know how well prepared the UDUS social media team is. But if they are up to the task, it would indeed be a thing of great worth.”

Olasehinde Kabirat, a 400-level student of political science, expressed satisfaction over her university securing the verification badge.

She said, “I am very happy that my school is being acknowledged on Facebook. It’s such an honour that our school is recognised among hundreds of other schools. 

“It means that we have been using the platform for good and that Facebook itself is impressed with the organization of our page.”

Abdulbaseet Yusuf, a 100-level student of pharmacy, said the verification was pivotal for the social media committee.

He said, “It is good for the school’s public image. Branding is important. I am happy to see that the school is taking its public image very seriously. There was a promotional video the other day, and now this; that sort of progressiveness would definitely attract some of the country’s best minds.”

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