#ifiwasAbike – Social media proves a powerful decision making tool for Nigeria’s lawmaker

On the 4th of August 2015, a list of loan defaulters was published by Nigerian deposit banks, following the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The list of over 1,400 names included prominent Nigerian businessmen, politicians, and billionaires, to the surprise of many.

A major shocker on the list was the name of renowned journalist and member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa. The appearance of her name surprised many because she has gained a respectable reputation as a philanthropist, and a social and political activist over the years.

As an active social media user, Hon. Dabiri-Erewa promptly took to twitter to set the record straight once she saw the published list.

The lawmaker did not stop at merely debunking claims of her being a debtor, but went ahead to issue a lawsuit against Diamond Bank Plc and the Punch Newspaper, seeking legal redress to the tune of $2,500,000. “It cost me irreparable damage, it has totally embarrassed me, I found it very very shocking and I just feel that the best thing to do is to seek legal redress in court, ” she told the press.

Realising their mistake, Diamond bank tendered a public apology to Abike Dabiri-Erewa on the pages of two national newspapers on Friday, 7th August 2015, stating that their action was “erroneous and is deeply regretted.”

Credit - Omojuwa
Credit – Omojuwa

In response to this apology, the former lawmaker solicited the counsel of Nigerians on twitter whether or not to go ahead with the law suit under the #ifiwasabike.

The never disappointing Nigerian ‘tweeps’ greatly responded, and before long, #ifiwasabike was a trend.

The favorites

The retweets  

Judging from the number of favorites and retweets, Nigerians clearly wants the lawmaker to go ahead with the lawsuit and patiently awaits her decision. Maybe Diamond bank’s apology would appeal more if they spark a twitter conversation and trend – #Abikewearesorry, #forgiveDiamondbank, #havemercyNigerians. What do you think?

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