By Rishi Iyengar
September 10, 2014

In an ill-advised political maneuver, supporters of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan have begun using the hashtag #BringBackGoodluck2015 to support the incumbent leader’s re-election bid.

The campaign is generating controversy because of its similarity to #BringBackOurGirls, one of the biggest social-media pushes of the year that was launched to demand the return of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted in April by terrorist group Boko Haram. The al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists have threatened to sell the girls as slaves.

What makes the repurposing of the hashtag even more unpalatable is that the victims have still not been rescued, despite a raft of promises by Jonathan’s government. The Nigerian military says it is reluctant to take concrete action lest Boko Haram kills the girls in response, reports the BBC.

Although #BringBackGoodluck2015 may not be officially used or endorsed by the President personally, it has appeared on banners and posters at several campaign events across the country. It also continues to do the rounds on Twitter, prompting widespread outrage.

A few users have spun the debate, though, by saying that it has, intentionally or not, reignited global conversation around the abducted schoolgirls.

But unwitting benefits aside, there appears to be little real defense for what the Washington Post says is likely “the most inappropriate political hashtag of the year.”

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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