Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has asked his supporters to stop using an adapted version of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag in the campaign for his re-election.
The hashtag #BringBackGoodluck2015 was first used on Twitter on 30th August by a group campaigning on behalf of the president. The tweet went “There is no vacancy in Aso rock [the President’s palace] we want Goodluck Jonathan again #NigeriansDemand #BringBack Jonathan2015.”
Despite appearing on signs and banners around the capital city of Abuja, the slogan was never officially endorsed, and now the president has taken action to stop all use of it. A press release from the president’s office this morning saying that the campaign was “offensive and repugnant” and that all signs and banners with the slogan should be removed immediately.
The slogan was met with widespread criticism due to the misreading of the public mood in the country. The abducted school girls are still held captive, despite the repeated promises by the government, including President Jonathan himself to rescue them. No military steps have been taken by the government to rescue the girls, due to the risk to the soldiers.
The slogan has appeared more than 2,800 times in the last 24 hours, most of its usage for criticism rather than promotion:
— Olúsèyí (@SeyiMafolabomi) September 9, 2014
Seeing a hashtag #bringbackgoodluck2015 . I didn't realize Boko Haram had kidnapped the President!
— A.N.UMAR™ (@Nulexumar) September 9, 2014
Japheth Omojuwa, a columnist for the Nigerian newspaper Punch told BBC Trending that the decision to use the slogan was “absurd”.
“They are using cariation of our hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to campaign for the president. There are people that failed to secure the release of these girls over 150 days since their kidnap.”