Okay, April was loaded! It had the good, the bad and the ugly, and public curiosity followed each one closely.
The most googled words for the month mirror a strong sense of appreciation for home-grown music icons as well as huge disdain for sexual molestation. From Oliver de Coque and Baba Ijesha to Ramadan and Dr Isa Pantami, here are the most searched words and what they portray.
Oliver De Coque (200k+ Searches)
3 weeks ago, late Nigerian guitarist and musician, Oliver De Coque, got a Google Doodle in celebration of his 74th posthumous birthday. Oliver, whose real name is Oliver Sunday Akanite, died in June 2008 from a heart attack at the age of 61.
The Alaafin of Oyo crowned the highlife maestro the King of Highlife in 1994 based on the consistency he showed in his music career. He was also a skilled player of the okwe, a local board game. Because of this, he became known as Oliver de ka Okwe, a moniker he later adapted to become his stage name, Oliver de Coque.
Over 200,000 Nigerians searched for his name after the doodle went live. This reflects the people’s love and appreciation for local music icons and pioneers as it is similar to the supportive turnout for BurnaBoy and Wizkid when they received awards at the Grammy.
Ramadan 2021 and Happy Easter (50k+ Searches each)
Lent ended in April and the Easter celebrations followed. Shortly after that, the Ramadan fast also started and is currently ongoing. Some of the top queries for the Ramadan fast inquired about the dates, whether it is appropriate to kiss during the fast and other behavioural guides.
The over 50,000 searches for each of the religious events showed a need to know about and be a part of the deeply-rooted religious activities. Nigerians searching for what is acceptable and what is not during these two fasts clearly want to do right by them as well as show their reverence.
Pantami (20k+ Searches)
There was an uproar on April 12 as NewsWire, a media organisation in Nigeria, alleged in a publication that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has been placed on a US watchlist. The publication claimed this was because of the minister’s close ties to terrorist groups, Boko Haram group and Al-Qaeda.
The Minister denied the allegations on his Twitter handle and announced that he was suing the media house for defamation of character. But popular Nigerian journalist, David Hundeyin blew the lid off by exposing an audio recording of the minister expressing support for Jihad in Nigeria. The new evidence has since incited a lot of feelings in people including fear and anger.
Nigerians took to social media to ask for the minister to resign as well as to share their concerns about NIN details being accessible to Pantami. In response, the Buhari administration said that the communications minister has duly apologized for his past deeds.
The response of the presidency to the national outcry has only led more people to believe that it is unwilling to mete out justice equally. This is because Kemi Adeosun, another Minister, was forced to resign after being accused of illegally obtaining her NYSC exemption certificate to get into public office.
Baba Ijesha (20k+ Searches)
Baba Ijesha’s story is another can of worms that blew open in the month. The popular Yoruba actor was arrested by the Lagos State police command and is currently under investigation for sexually assaulting a 14-year old girl since when she was just 7.
Attempts to know more about the act added up to 20,000 plus searches for Baba Ijesha on Google. On social media, a lot of people have criticized the actor as well as others who perpetrate such acts. Women also shared their experiences about having to put their guard up all the time to stay safe from predators.
The incident and buzz around it further expose the danger that women live in when their male counterparts do not refrain from abusive acts.
Owerri prison break (10k+ Searches)
On April 5, 1,844 inmates escaped from the Owerri Prison in a jailbreak that was carried out by unknown gunmen. Using explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, the gunmen attacked the prison and engaged the guards in a gun battle. The guards were eventually overpowered, the inmates released and a nearby police station looted.
Insecurity is a growing concern in every state of the country. In all, there were more than 10,000 searches for the prison break as people faced uncertainty over what the escapees and the gunmen would do next.
Justice was the underlying cry of Nigerians in April. More than anything, the outcries perfectly represent the desire of many Nigerians to see justice served to those who commit atrocities such as rape, sexual molestation, banditry and other acts of criminality.
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