Social media has evolved a lot since the early, a lot of people have used social media as an avenue for communication, and some have used it to connect to old friends, some to tell their stories, others to create awareness and conduct movements for a common cause.
In Nigeria a lot of national campaigns, movements and protest were hold on social media, people are even convened to protest through social media. Hashtags are mostly used to communicate these movements and most times they go viral on social media causing the people who need to see the message take needed actions.
On this post I’ll be telling about the successful movements that has been aided with social media.
Bring back our girls
On April 14, 2014 about 300 girls were abducted from school by an insurgency group known as Boko haram, this event took place in a northern Nigerian village known as Chibok. This caused a massive outrage not just in Nigeria but around the globe.
On April 23rd, the “bring back our girls campaign” started with hashtags on social media. In less than three weeks the hashtags was used more than a million times worldwide, with world leaders and celebrities supporting the social media campaign titled #bringbackourgirls.
In as much as these movement would not entirely be called successful because only about 96 girls were rescued, social media played a very significant role in creating awareness and advocating for the #bringbackourgirls campaign.
Not too young to run
Since Nigeria started to practice the democratic system of government for the past two decades, there has never been a president who is belowthe age of 50. This implies that since Nigeria started running the current system of government no youth has been recorded as a president for the federal republic of Nigeria.
The not too young to run movement was conceived and pushed by a lot civil society groups including YIAGA in May 2016. This brought about an outburst of social media campaigns where the hashtag #nottooyoungtorun was introduced and widely used among Nigerian youths on social media.
After much advocacies from people and on social media the #nottooyoung to run movement was finally signed into law by National assembly on May 31, 2018. Also, the movement sought that the nomination fee which was N55million should be reduced and it was reduced to N45million.
Social media has become a community where people and campaigners come together as a team to promote a common cause and ensure that people who need to hear about or see the cause do. Thereby bringing positive results for the benefits of the team or the persons directly or indirectly involved.
He For She
The HeForShe movement is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality conceive by the United Nations and founded by UN women. The goal of this movement is to achieve gender equality by encouraging all genders to become advocates of change and act against negative stereotypes.
The movement was initially formed in the United States of America in September 2014 and was launched in Nigeria on 23rd May 2017 by the vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo. In his remarks Prof Osinbajo said “if given the opportunity, women would excel, but there are still glass ceilings that need to be broken, policies that need to be changed, practices that need to be altered and stereotypes about women to be discarded”.
The HeForShe movement was promoted on social media with the hashtag #HeForShe encouraging all genders to participate in gender quality both in the homes, work places and other spheres of life.
This movement has overtime grown since 2014 because women are given the chance to break barriers in every area of life and no longer seen as the most vulnerable gender. This was made possible with social media and the people who believed in the cause for gender equality.
Occupy Nigeria was a socio-political movement that started in Nigeria on Monday, 2nd January 2012 to the fuel subsidy removal by the federal government. The fuel price was increased by 120% (N65 to N141). Protests took place across the country, the Nigerian high court commission in London.
There was also online activism and protests where twitter and Facebook was devised as a major tool for the online demonstration. Social media users shared pictures of protesters who died during the cause and broke down the country’s 2012 budget comparing funds allocated to the president and the vice with the cost of an average Nigerian’s living.
Fuel price was later reduced to N97 one week five days after the protest. Some people believe that one of the gains the occupy Nigeria protest and online activism was creating of awareness that one of the key problem Nigeria has is corruption.
The movement helped in enlightening Nigerians on the fact that they have a right to question any act of the government especial when it does not tally with the interest of the citizens.
Also, the government and those in power were frightened that people revolt can take them out of power when they stop performing their duties as they should.
Light Up Nigeria
Nigeria has had a highly unreliable and continuously deteriorating electrical power supply for a very long which led to movements which started on social media. The light up Nigeria campaign started on July 14, 2009 by a group of Nigerian youths on twitter who expressed their discontent with terrible electricity situation in Nigeria.
Through its campaigns, Light Up Nigeria became a slogan and within minutes it was turned into hashtags that became somewhat brand identity behind which thousands of Nigerians queued to call the attention to the desperate electricity situation in the country.
Weeks after the campaign was launched on twitter, a Facebook group was created for the movement with the primary mission to “advocate stable electric power supply for all Nigerian homes and businesses through effective citizen social communication and strategic involvement in civic processes”.
By targeting its social media advocacy and movement at the Federal, States and Local levels, #LightUpNigeria became the backbone movement advocating for steady and sustainable power supply to Nigerians. The movement also focused advocacy efforts on businesses and investors who can contribute to help generate power to fill electricity requirements.
Although there were challenges in pursuit of the progress, the #LightUpNigeria strategy focused more on taking advantage of online platforms to trigger awareness and apply pressure in a way that people in power could not ignore.
A new wave of online political consciousness grew as a result of the Light Up Nigeria movement. The campaign did not only bring Nigerians together on social media, it created an awareness that social media can be used as watchdog that checkmates the actions of people in power. It can also be noted that there is an improvement in the Nigerian power supply.
Senator Elisha Abbo
On July 2, 2019, the lawmaker representing Adamawa-North senatorial district, Senator Elisha Abbo was caught in the act of physically abusing a woman inside an adult shop in Abuja. In his defense Abbo claimed the woman had insulted him.
The senator’s public display of anger and assault attracted was posted across social media platforms which brought about wide criticisms from Nigerians. A lot of social media users called for his arrest and prosecution. On twitter the lawmaker started trending under the hashtag #SenatorElishaAbbo.
Due to call by citizens on social media to arrest the lawmaker, actions were taken, he was arraigned but got a bail of N5million. The lawmaker later apologized to the victim and to Nigerians for the uncalled misconduct.
Social media played a very significant role in this situation because people in power were put under pressure to do the right thing as nobody is above the law. The effect of social media made it so that he apologized to Nigerians.
The me too movement is an international female dominated campaign against sexual harassment which was later introduced and launched in Nigeria by social media users. With this movement Women are encouraged to speak out when they are sexually abused or harassed.
On social media there’s a hashtag for the #metoo movement. The #metoo movement has started influencing decisions of companies as a lot of women say that they are mostly harassed sexually in their places of work.
The movement was prompted recently when a woman came out publicly to talk about how she was sexually abused by a religious leader. The story caught public attention and a lot of people responded with anger on social media.
Activists say the incident could be the start of Nigeria’s first major movement against sexual because a lot were led of woman to come out and talk about their own experiences of sexual abuse.
Due to people’s outrage and protests against the incident, the religious leader in question had to step down from pastoring his congregation until further notice. This goes a long way to say that social media was used as tool for people to own their voices and speak out.
Social media has over the years played a significant role to ensure that actions are taken when needed. Digital tools such as Youtube, twitter, Facebook and Instagram have defined a lot of movements by giving rise to this generation of activism.
The world, nations and communities have connected online to ensure the positive outcome of a common cause. People are empowered like never before because they can speak their truths without being harmed, their voices can also be heard with just clicks, shares and comments.
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