No other Nigerian football player has dominated the social media space as AFCON 2019 top goalscorer, Odion Ighalo.
Since retiring from international football after the curtain fell on the 2019 AFCON in Egypt in July , which meant he was no longer available to be invited for national duties with the Super Eagles , thereby reducing his visibility in the media space , Ighalo has found a more formidable way to worm his way into the consciousness of Nigerians by using social media to keep himself within touching distance of the public, with a simple click of a button on his smart phone.
The former Watford of England striker is unequivocally the top most visible soccer personality in the social media space, where he actively dishes out information to his followers.
From salacious photographs to soul stirring words and daily information on his movements, the30 year old former Granada of \Spain, who rose from the slums of Ajegule in Lagos to become a global footie stars, living lavishly and commanding huge fortune and fame is the king of the social media space as he runs the rules.
From twitter, instagram to facebook, Ighalo has shown his dexterity to use these platforms to keep his followers in the know of his everyday dealings, thereby keeping his followers close to him.
Ighalo in followed by the high , mighty and low is the society, with the likes of top brand strategist, Dre Uyi among his roll-call of A-list followers on twiter and instagram.
What makes Ighalo big in the social media space is creativity to drive his line of conversation going, by tweeting creative posts that elicit reactions from his millions of followers and readers online.
Just on Tuesday, the ghetto-bred footie star, tweeted a luxurious photo of himself seating inside a lavishly furnished living room, decked in a short sleeves white polo shirt on top of a back trousers jeans and black canvas shoes gold-platted surroundings with the caption, "Favour is better than labour", that went viral and generated mixed reactions, sometimes heated and at times controversial
The tweet which Ighalo sent out at 6:04am on Tuesday, November 26 generated 1001 retweets and 9007 likes and 423 replies. With as much as 84, 008 followers on twitter alone, Ighalo commands a huge following on the social media space
The replies ranged from those who supported his view that favour is better than labour to those who objected to his point of view on the heated topic. To engage his many followers, Ighalo was magnanimous enough to reply nearly all those who contributed to the topic, irrespective of the writer's views.
Interestingly, most of those contributed to the topic said labour was better than favour, with a handful even reminding the Chinese-based striker that he is a product of labour who later found favour after much hard work
Sensing that the heat was on him, the former Eagles star tweeted another version "Labour is better than favour, are we ok now? The tweet was sent at 2:27pm, November 26 and it generated 319 retweets and 1008 likes.
One follower, Ugwu Somtochukwu, in his reply via @somto_ugwu wrote, "This is deep only few will understand! Labour can never be better than favour! Working hard doesn't guarantee success but grace and working smart does", to which Ighalo, via his handle @ighalojude, admitted that he had been abused by people because of his initial tweet that favour is better than labour.
"Some people don insult me tire so I have to balance it so every one can be happy".
Another follower, Olasunkanmi 🇳🇬, @Sunkyjay wrote "I'll prefer favour than labour oo. Ask a bricklayer and a building contractor/site engineer they'll tell you more.", to which Ighalo concurred, "Me too o , i choose favour than labour".
One follower, KING OF LAGOS(MFR, @Derek74399105 replying to @ighalojude wrote, "No one is better than the other ..What works for Mr A doesn't necessarily work for Mr B ... To some, it's labour ( which can also be terms as hardwork) , while to others ..it could be favour ... Destinies are different"
One bemused follower Olawale Hammed, @Numero_Uno1111 said, "The same you that tweeted Favour is better than Labour, Bros Jude are you high? You want me to be digging soakaway?, to which Ighalo responded, "As people were causing, I had to tweet again to suit all of us".
With such an open-minded approach to life, it takes little guessing why Ighalo remains the king of the social media stratosphere
The former Watford star had on November 24, gone spiritual in a tweet in reaction to the list of nominees for the 2019 CAF men's player of the year award, for which he was shortlisted alongside two other Nigerians, midfielder Wifred Ndidi of Leicester City and striker Victor Osimhen of Lille.
In a crowded field of 30 top African stars, Ighalo, winner of a bronze medal at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, faces tough task in his bid to win the holy grail against the likes of Liverpool and Egyptian star, Mohamed Salah, Senegalese talisman and AFCON 2019 losing finalist , Saido Mane and Algerian and Manchester City's midfielder Riyad Mahrez.
Seemingly aware that it was going to take more than hard work to win the top gong, last won by a Nigerian in 1999 through former Arsenal striker, Nwankwo Kanu, who edged out Ghanaian and Bayern Munich defender, Samuel Kuffour and Ivorian and former Marseille star, Ibrahima Bakayoko to the second and third spots respectively, Ighalo tweeted "God is going to put you in a place of honour even when men think you don't deserve it ".
The tweet was sent out at 4:12pm and it generated 221 retweets and 1008 likes and over 100 replies, most praying for God to propel the ex-international to land the crown that has eluded Nigerian players since 2000 till date.
Another way that Ighalo drives high traffic on his social media accounts is by offering freebies like cash, air time, signed jerseys and other interesting gifts to followers who visit his page, comments on issues and perform given tasks as may be directed by the former Lyn of Oslo star.
Not too long ago in August, the striker doled out a princely sum of N10m to followers who were quickest to drop their bank account details on his twitter handle. The move was a strategic one as it swelled the number of his followers on that day to a record high.
Fans, who got wind of he giveaway early, woke up early to besiege Ighalo's handle to drop their information and the fast ones were duly rewarded for complying. The former Watford attacker did not disappoint as he gave out cash prizes to 20 fans.
Social media junkies admit that Ighalo has remained relevant in the scheme of things even in retirement from Eagles duties, devising great initiatives to keep fans glued to his daily activities.