The two-time BBC African Footballer of the Year announced his arrival on Twitter at 3:17 pm on Saturday, saying, “My people, how far now? Na Jay Jay o. Make you na no fall my hand. This is my official Twitter account.”
Popular artistes such as Wizkid, Basketmouth, AY, Tee A, Weird MC and Sound Sultan are among the notable personalities who spread the news of Okocha’s foray into Twitter on the social network.
Tweeting via his handle, @wizkidayo, Wizkid described Okocha as his ‘big uncle’ and asked his 575, 875 fans on the network to follow the ex-Nigerian international. “You all follow my big uncle the legendary @iamokocha,” he stated.
Basket Mouth, who also commands a following of over 230,000 on Twitter, also intimated his fans on Okocha’s official Twitter handle.
He said, “Hello all. How’s the weekend going? Jay Jay Okocha just joined Twitter today (Saturday). Let’s all follow him and learn some football tricks.”
Okocha, who was in 2004 listed in football legend Pelé’s FIFA 100 (a list of the greatest 125 living players of all time), solicited the support of presenter and studio analyst for the Super Sport television network, Colins Udoh, on the social network.
Okocha called Udoh to inform him about his Twitter account and to help differentiate it from a fake handle, @JOkocha10, which had been created since May 2012. The fake @JOkocha10 handle had since garnered over 6,810 fans.
Confirming this on Saturday, via his Twitter handle @ColinUdoh, Udoh explained, “Austin Jay Jay Okocha just called to say he has launched a new Twitter account. It’s @IAmOkocha. And yes, it’s real.”
However, with just one tweet, Okocha, who describes himself as “The Football Magician,” on his Twitter Bio, has attracted over 2,945 followers on the social service, depicting a warm welcome from his fans.
Although his fans had extended a hand of fellowship to him on the network, many of them have, however, slammed him saying he joined the network a bit late. One of such is Oluwasina Okeleji, who tweets via the handle, @oluwasina. He argued that Kanu’s decision to join Twitter might have encouraged him (Okocha) to sign up for the social network. It will be recalled that Kanu joined Twitter on April 11.
“Obviously, he (Okocha) was waiting for Papilo (Kanu) abi lol?” Okeleji asked. An anonymous reader on lindaikeji.blogspot.com asked Okocha, “Na today day break? Welcome sha!”
Some yet criticised him for the tone and language with which he used for the tweet. An anonymous fan said it seemed as if the author of the tweet is an ‘agbero’ – a motor park tout.”
Welcoming Okocha to the “bird family”, a fan, Enebeli Jonas ( @Calljonas) advised him not to abandon his account in the way Nigerian politicians do after elections.
Jonas said, “Jay Jay Okocha, great you are on Twitter. I am an eternal fan. Abeg make you dey tweet o. No abandon your account like our politicians do.”
Reacting to Okocha’s plea for a cordial relationship with his fans on the network, a reader on lindaikeji blog also said, “Nobody go fall your hand but if you want, we go help you fall am well well. You know every every for naija nah. I go follow you sha.”
While many of his fans see nothing bad in Okocha asking Twitter users to follow him, some argued that it was wrong for an ex-footballer in the standing of Okocha to beg accordingly. One of such persons is Gladstone Awoniyi, who tweeted at Okocha via @gladstoneawoniyi.
He queried Okocha for “begging” people to follow him, arguing that his fans on the social network would naturally follow him without him asking for a follow back.