Jittery FG Uses Social Media and Counter-Protest to Disrupt Massive Demonstrations
Wary that the planned anti -Buhari protests across the nation have a tendency to erupt into political demonstrations, the federal government last week decided that there will be no protests. This is contrary to statements credited to senior administration officials that the government has not considered crackdown on protesters.
Fresh revelation on Sunday indicate that embattled All Progressive Congress government did all it could to sabotage Monday's planned protest.
It threatened organizers and planned counter-demonstrations in Abuja and Lagos. Popular artiste Tu face in a brief video on Instagram said “Dear Nigerians, due to security concerns and public safety consideration, I hereby announce the cancellation of the march".
The Lagos Police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, last week also threatened to arrest the singer if he dares hold the protest.
A top party chieftain and a minister in the Buhari government rallied tens of thousands of counter protesters in support of the beleaguered government, Per Second News gathered Sunday in Abuja. The minister using some social media influencers actively sought to intimidate critics into silence.
But the tactics instead galvanized the fractious opposition movement and attracted some new supporters.
What began weeks ago as a call by hiphop artiste Tuface against Nigeria’s worsening economic crisis has instead opened a rift between majority of Nigerians and the ruling APC government in a nation that up until now gave the administration some level of goodwill.
Close relatives of Tuface in Lagos revealed that the artiste was under intense pressure from politicians with a government official meeting with him in person to abort the planned protest.
Most citizens said they didn't talk to their colleagues anymore about the protests because it led to arguments and broken friendships. The pro-Buhari protesters said they resented the Tuface tactics, and that they thought reforms already were happening at a reasonable pace.
Presidency Social media assistants did not help matters as they struggled to dismiss the rights of Nigerians to freedom of assembly. A presidency official retweeted a fake statement below credited to Tuface claiming he was asked to act as front for the demonstration.
Tuface has distanced himself from that statement and said nobody influenced his decision.