2018 was a tumultuous year for Nigerian social media and with 2019 on the horizon, it’s time to look at the best hashtagged dramas, feuds, and viral moments that washed onto the shores of our social media feeds and timelines, reminding us yet again about the nuance of the internet. Frankly, it is the kind of content we signed up for.
Linda Ikeji’s pregnancy
Acclaimed gossip blogger Linda Ikeji and the enrapturing news of her pregnancy broke the internet back in May, partly due to its mysteriousness and how she was able to hide the bump for so long. The story questioned her self-imposed celibacy. But the major takeaway was Ikeji masterfully using her pregnancy as self-reportage and reinforcing her status as the internet’s gossip queen.
Linda Ikeji is expecting a baby, and she had known she was pregnant since January and the world is just knowing because we show people only what we want them to see.
— Maureen Alikor |Brand Pilot (@maureenalikor) May 21, 2018
Berger to Ajah
A direct consequence of the #MeToo movement, a spate of rape allegations clustered around late 2017 on Twitter and trailed into 2018. In June, Berger to Ajah became more than physical locations – a crazily, buzzy piece of news revolving around an alleged rape where a female Twitter user Damilola Marcus (@OmegaDami) accused Uche Daniel (@UcheDanielMUFC) of raping her friend Bimbo Cole (@b_Moore_). Berger to Ajah was convoluted, messy, and also memorable as a result of the accused Uche presenting receipts in the form of WhatsApp chats preserved since 2016, which rendered the allegations false.
Today its Uche, tomorrow it might be you.
The difference is, Uche was smart enough to be ahead of his time to use VAR
Be like Uche. Berger to Ajah.
— President Christian (@Chrisblin) June 28, 2018
The Sterling Bank advert shade
The month of July came with a caustic advert from Sterling Bank. “Shoot for the moon, become a star – it’s the least you deserve. Welcome to #SterlingBank.” The advert was blistering for its incorporation of symbols belonging to other banks, which quickly devolved into the online, hashtaggable feud called #BankWars. The aggrieved banks retaliated and social media became a frivolous theatre. At the end, it was a shame, because these banks won’t put the same energy into their customer service and functionality.
— Iba Ella of Warri the Marxist 🇳🇬🌍 (@Slyadeniyi) July 22, 2018
The suspension of Twitter accounts of digital influencers
Digital marketers and influencers can be a nuisance, with a bloated sense of self. So when Twitter began purging accounts that had bots for followers and tightening its policies and regulations, a large number of Nigerian digital influencers were directly hit, with their accounts suspended. In some quarters of the internet, a palpable, sadistic joy was thick like butter. Banter and jokes hurled around as these influencers’ account remained suspended, forcing new accounts to be opened and it became a teachable lesson in humility.
Seems like this Twitter rapture affected a lot of these influencers.
They have gone to a better place.
— Santos Akhilele 🇳🇬 (@SantosTHEBOSS) July 26, 2018
The complicated existence of Wizkid’s baby mama repute vortexed into social media when Shola Ogudu released WhatsApp screenshots of her conversations with the pop star, and a detailed text revealing the stunted, strenuous relationship between them. It was enough to polarise Twitter with Wizkid earning the name “deadbeat,” and the use of cancel culture which has become a hallmark of our evolving cultural landscape.
Wizkid is here asking people about their ‘very present’ fathers while maintaining his deadbeat father status. Lord, make it make sense.
— Gen Nnaji (@TobiNotToby) October 21, 2018
Sanitary pad activism theft
Online activism is a facet of social media entrenched into the internet’s identity. But in October, the legitimacy of Dr. Harvey Olufunmilayo’s #EndThe9jaTaxOnPads campaign was intensely questioned, given that there was still a similar activism pioneered by Karo Omu that sought to end period poverty by giving free sanitary pads to underprivileged women and girls. This perceived hijacking enraged feminists and opened up conversations on sexism and how women are erased from movements and developments they pioneered.
Women have been talking about it for years, Karo Omu even started sharing pads and all and nobody said anything. Then a man(Dr Olufunmilayo) spoke about it and suddenly everyone realized pads are too expensive
— Odogwu Malay (@zeee_lawal) October 21, 2018
Undeniably, Ojuelegba Shawarma has all the markings of a grass to grace story. What started as an innocuous advert from Eguavoen Matthew, wherein he posted a picture of a guy at Ojuelegba Bridge who sells delicious, affordable shawarmas, rippled far and beyond with the tweet reaching a kind of contagious omnipresence. The guy, Dolapo, was offered free culinary tutoring by foremost culinary establishment Red Dish Chronicles, and also a handful of people willing to help him create a business plan and website. Donations made towards the cause totalled beyond N200,000, and therein lies the power of digital influence.
— iamkachie 🇳🇬 (@Kachie_88) November 29, 2018