May has largely been a month of surprises and not all were pleasant. There was the death of Lieutenant-general Ibrahim Attahiru as well as that of Pastor Dare Adeboye, the son of RCCG’s Pastor Emmanuel Adeboye. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies took a nosedive and the dip only led to more searches on Google.
In between, the news of Bill and Amanda Gates divorce, as well as the Eid Mubarak celebrations, took centre stage.
Here are the topics that drew the most searches.
Dare Adeboye (200,000+ searches)
On May 6, 2021, Pastor Dare Adeboye died in his sleep. He is the son of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye. The news came as a major shock to Nigerians including non-members of the RCCG.
As they tried to grapple with the news, people took to the internet to ask questions including “Why did Pastor Dare Adeboye die?” As a result, there were more than 200,000 searches for information about him alone in May. Curiosity about the cause of death and empathy for the deceased’s nuclear and extended family drove Dare Adeboye into the top tiers of most-googled words.
Chief of Army Staff (200,000+ searches)
On May 21, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other officers died in a plane crash while on official duty in Kaduna State. The crash is reported to have been “due to inclement weather”. However, additional information about it has not been made available.
As the army officers were buried, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, was noticeably absent. This led to outrage as Nigerians took to social media to lambast the president for not showing up to rally the army and honour the dead.
People got even more enraged when he announced Major-General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff as Nigerians accused the president of being partial to some ethnic groups over others in his appointments.
@Chibby_Kay tweeted, “Definitely had to be a Yahaya. This govt remains the most tribalistic administration ever. Ahanotu was Attahiru’s #2 man and they had reforms in process. But no, he’s Igbo. So, bring a Yahaya outside their circle and start a whole new set of reforms. This too shall pass.”
Eid Mubarak (100,000 searches)
It was not all gloom and doom, however, as the festival of ‘Breaking the fast’ or Eid-el Fitr, as it is known, was celebrated on May 13. To commemorate the event, May 12 and 13 were set aside as public holidays to allow the Muslim faithful to observe the festival and celebrate with families.
Altogether, there were 100,000 searches for Eid Mubarak as people tried to ascertain the exact date of the celebrations as sighting the moon proved a bit too difficult.
Bitcoin (50k+ searches)
Midway into the month and suddenly everywhere went red as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies crashed. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced that the company will not be accepting Bitcoin for payment anymore because of the adverse effect on climate change.
According to reports, the earlier announcement to accept bitcoin was met with outcry by investors and environmentalists and caused the company to backtrack on its plans.
Bitcoin price fell to levels below $40,000 and Elon Musk dropped the title of the second richest man in the world as angry crypto enthusiasts dropped Tesla’s shares.
Bill Gates (500,000+ searches)
When Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they were getting a divorce, it shook the globe. People expressed shock at the thought of the 27-year old marriage coming to an end. There were also questions about their foundation and how it would survive the split.
Many countries, students and non-governmental organizations have been beneficiaries of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many were worried about what the future held for it.
Although the duo reassured the general public that the foundation will be preserved in spite of the divorce, some major changes might be in the works. Mark Suzman, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive officer, recently told employees at the organisation that he’s in talks to strengthen “the long-term sustainability and stability of the foundation.”
All of the most searched words shows how devastated Nigerians were at the deaths of respected members of society. It also shows how Nigerians are deeply interested in Bitcoin as well as their deep religious inclinations
The public sentiment on Twitter especially shows that the curiosity about the new chief of army staff is largely to know whether the president appointed another northerner or looked for someone competent from other tribes.
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