The President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu may have controversially won the presidential election, but it appears he has not won convincingly in the minds of many . This, no doubt, will cast a big shadow on his presidency, calling in question the legitimacy of his mandate.
In view of this, there has been a growing groundswell of moral objection to his win and a refusal on the part of many Nigerians to recognize him as president-elect. This has led to widespread social media bashing .
Prior to the February 25, 2023 presidential election, the candidacy of Tinubu had brewed a strong social media opposition on what many considered Tinubu’s baggage ranging from identity crisis, question mark over certificate and school attended, drug allegations and sundry charges.
During the campaign, he faced a lot of social backlash over his gaffes and undiplomatic comments, and such comments were legion. One of such then was his statement that the southeast will languish in longer marginalisation unless they vote massively for him to become the president.
Tinubu said this in Enugu when his campaign train was in the state at Michael Okpara Square. He said that they had to work hard to support his presidential bid, if not, they will only get “soaked sliced bread” as a region.
According to the APC National Leader, Igbos should “work hard, sweat for his party until they deliver victory for him.”
“But nobody will give you any credit, you are working hard, you’re sweating now. We want you to sweat well now for this party until you deliver victory.
“Until Bola Tinubu becomes the president of Nigeria, we will not give you but a soaked sliced bread.”
While he was speaking to APC members in Enugu and the region, Nigerians of Igbo extraction misconstrued the statement and criticised him for issuing a threat and insult.
The former Lagos state governor has received backlash mostly on social media, and a few comments on Twitter are shown below.
@VictorIsrael_ reacted on Twitter, “Omg! Ahmed Bola Tinubu has openly insulted the Igbo people and these sellouts are busy laughing. Can you imagine this? I’m so angry!”
“#Igbo have suffered in #Nigeria politics. Tinubu says Igbos should sweat and make him the President then he will give them a slight clap or a soaked piece of bread. What an insult!” @ChinasaNwosu tweeted.
“Tinubu took his time to insult the entire South East with ‘soaked bread’ in Enugu,” @firstladyship said. “He did that in the presence of Hope Uzodinma & Dave Umahi. Igbos allowed charlatans like Chimaroke Nnamani, to capture their whole essence. People denigrate you because you gave them that power.”
After losing Lagos State to Labour ‘s Peter Obi, there was a build up of tensions between the Igbo and the Yorubas in the mega city and some parts of the southwest. The tension was attributed to the loss of Lagos , the first of its kind in 24 years. The tension was also believed to have been engineered by the president-elect’s political machine and foot soldiers in Lagos.
This led to a media war, in which the Obidients, the Atiku camp and sundry other elements opposed to Tinubu took control of the social media space to lambast Tinubu. All sorts of permutations took rein, with some calling for him (Tinubu) not to be sworn in, while others were calling for interim government.
Tinubu bashing in social media became so severe that in some circles,it was believed he may not be sworn in .
The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council became agitated, as the sortie against its principal was flying in different directions in the social media. At a point, it was alleged that Tinubu had secretly met with the Chief Justice of the Federation in London with a view to subvert the various legal contests that would finally go to the Supreme Court.
But the PCC refuted the report of a purported meeting between the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in London. The council in a statement two weeks ago by its Director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga dismissed a media report that Ariwoola disguised to meet with Tinubu as “fake, misleading and malicious.”
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“Our attention has been drawn to the grossly fake, misleading and malicious story about the Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola disguising to meet President-elect Bola Tinubu in London.
“The story was a pure concoction from the hallucinating minds of hatchet men bent on creating doubts and public distrust about the legitimacy of our recent election, which was won by Tinubu.
“We refute emphatically that there has been no clandestine meeting between the President-elect and the respected Chief Justice of our country, any where. It’s pure fabricated news, groundless in fact and authenticity,” Onanuga said in the statement.
He said to show that the story was a mere fiction, the report claimed the CJN left Nigeria for London on March 11, on a wheel chair to board a plane.
“What kind of appointment or secret meeting will the two men have arranged in London, with so wide disparate arrival dates, except in the imagination of the false news merchants?”
“We can confirm that the President-elect, who left Nigeria Tuesday has not been in London.
“He is right now in France to have a deserved rest, after a hectic campaign that began in January 2022.
“He will go to London thereafter before proceeding to Mecca for the lesser Hajj,” he added
Tinubu may have won the election but the social media war is still raging and his opponents appear to have the upper hand. The campaign council is not helping matter with its combative tone, always reactive and never conciliatory and proactive.
As the social media backlash rages, there’s no doubt it has affected and cut deep into Tinubu’s political victory.
Onanuga and the entire campaign council have been criticized for using uncouth language against social media opposition, saying those ” spreading false information about Tinubu relating him to drug, age falsification, certificate and date of birth controversy will pay dearly for it.
A communications expert, Dr. Bamode Anjorin, criticised the council for using foul language full of threats and intimidation against Tinubu’s social media traducers.
He wondered why the campaign council can not adopt a conciliatory approach since their principal has won the election.
” I don’t think they should be combative, they should initiate a healing process’, Anjorin submitted.