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Before now, one would need to visit the home of a mourning family physically to pay tribute or sign a condolence register.
But nowadays, all one needs to do to show one’s mood or how much one cares about the dead person is to click on a computer screen or touch a phone keypad.
Thus, not many people may have cared which part of the world the family of the late former captain and coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, could be found. But computers or mobile devices are all they need to reach the family.
Little wonder, there has been no stopping of the harvest and recordkeeping of tributes on Keshi from the early hours of Wednesday till this moment.
In the words of a presenter at Brila FM, “Twitter Inc. needs nobody to tell them that something strange has happened in Nigeria. Our own Keshi, not Kim Kardashian this time, has broken the Internet.”
Indeed, for fans and critics of the late Super Eagles skipper, social media are a sort of meeting point. From Europe, where the likes of Chelsea Football Club and many footballers tweeted, describing the late Keshi as “the big boss”, to West Africa, social media literally displaced the conventional condolence register on Wednesday, and thereafter.
Again, it was much easier to count the number of sports men and lovers who did not pay tribute to Keshi on social media than those who did. On different online platforms, it has been life and times of the football hero all the way.
Tweets and Instagram posts by players and sport administrators have been competing for attention. Photographs of the late footballers and emojis depicting the mood of the moments have also been used lavishly. As of Thursday, activities on social media rather increased.
Talking about mood, an Instagram post by Obafemi Martins, a Nigerian striker, on Wednesday might have run contrary to the expectations of his fans.
As millions of people around the world mourned Keshi, Martins uploaded a selfie on his Instagram with a caption, “Back to reality.” Whatever the intention of the update published about 9am on Wednesday was, many sport fans criticised Martins, saying the timing of the update was wrong.
“Even if Keshi and Martins had an issue, it should not continue till death. Martins should have buried whatever happened in the past and joined other colleagues to pay tribute to the former coach,” wrote Yusuf Abiola on the footballer’s timeline.
But a few admirers of the footballer said it did not make any difference whether Martins paid a tribute to Keshi or not.
An Instgram user, @Chizzbee, noted, “I don’t understand why many people are making an issue out of a tribute. Martins could have called the family or even visited them. Must he tell the whole world what he has done to honour Keshi? We are very hypocritical; somebody may have posted a tribute deceitfully. Is that what we should encourage?”
Beyond the controversy over Martins’ selfie, it is clear that social media have become mirrors for monitoring people’s mood at a sober moment like the one the football family is currently experiencing.
Meanwhile, Keshi’s sudden death has dominated different social media pages as people of different walks of life eulogise him and review his career as a footballer and a coach.
In fact, it is not just a Nigeria moment: Ghanaians, Togolese and citizens of other neighbouring West African countries have joined in paying glowing tributes to the fallen football icon.
And Keshi’s passage has tested and proved the unifying power of sport. The Nigerian digital media enthusiasts, for a moment, have buried their political and ethnic differences to celebrate Keshi’s football career.
Perhaps, his death is one event in recent times that has brought members of opposing political parties together as all share in the grief.
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Source: Punch News