Every day is gbas gbos day on Naija Twitter and it was the turn of the chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, to get in the battle ring on October 18, 2022.
The government official’s comments set off a chain of reactions still raging over 24 hours later; so let’s get into what caused the wahala.
What really happened?
Here’s the gist, amebo. A trending video showed Nigerian students being attacked at a campus near New Delhi in India. Madam Abike quoted the tweet to explain what happened and that the issue had been resolved between both governments.
Ehn ehn, no lele. Is that all?
All ke? Wait, let me finish. One tweep responded under Abike’s tweet to say that she’s not doing enough to protect Nigerians and that NIDCOM was being “too soft” on the Indians. Another tweep then replied to call Madam Abike a “Mumu woman supporting a failed government.”
My dear, that was how Madam Abike caught fire o. She first cancelled the insult by calling the guy an “Ode,” before adding, “You go to Indonesia, carry drugs, do cultism and come begging to be rescued from death sentence . Thank God for @ndlea_nigeria now saving people like you from death row”.
See ehn, her response set off a wild storm on Twitter. The response was criticised in several quarters for amplifying a negative stereotype of Nigerians as drug traffickers. Even Madam Oby Ezekwesili had to step in to ask Madam Abike to “clean it up.” Madam Abike refused to back down and responded, “I’m done on this . But out of respect for you, will ask, Clean what up? It’s okay for some untrained, uncouth guy to refer to me as “ mumu”, and I can’t call him “ ode”. I’m not a public official that cows to bullying pls.”
How’s it going for her?
Madam Abike has received support and condemnation for her response. She’s also retweeted and amplified commentary from her supporters that are derogatory and laced with tribal undertones.
It’s understandable that government officials are humans too and as such can react when insulted. Yet, the greater burden of responsibility lies with them as their words and actions carry more weight.
One would expect an official of Madam Abike’s standing to be more restrained especially since her role is to market Nigerians in the diaspora and not demarket them on a global platform like Twitter.
As Spiderman reminds us, with great power comes great responsibility. But Madam Abike obviously doesn’t carry that burden.