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Nigerian brands capitalise on social media trend #keepthechangebae

Last week, Nigeria’s social media was alight with the hashtag #keepthechangebae which came after a date went awry. A young woman returned the money a guy spent during a date, and asked the man to keep the change. The man involved presumed that taking the woman on a date was an automatic ticket to a relationship. The disgruntled man called out the lady on Twitter in a crude tweet, and her response set social media on fire. Nigerian companies and brands were quick to capitalise on the trending story.

The hashtag #keepthechangebae was trending on Nigeria’s Twitter after a date went awry. The man involved presumed that taking a woman on a date was an automatic ticket to a relationship. The disgruntled man called out the lady on Twitter in a crude tweet.

The woman didn’t cower, but gave a response by sending the man Naira 5,000 and asked him to keep the change from the Naira 3,800 he spent on the date.

Nigeria’s Twitter community immediately jumped on the tweets and created a hashtag #Keepthechangebae. Before the man came out to apologise, banking institutions, and other companies used the opportunity for free publicity. The two banks through which the transactions were made, immediately latched the publicity. The man’s bank, Wema Bank agreed to keep the change, saying every kobo (cent) matters. While the woman’s bank, Firstbank, refunded her Naira 5,000 for being an empowered woman.

Wema Bank enjoyed free publicity over the weekend. Photo: Twitter/WemaBank


Firtsbank Nigeria rewarded Miss Oyebola for being an emboldened lady. It also capitalised on the hashtag #keepthechangebae Photo: Twitter/Firstbank Nigeria

So why did Nigeria Twitter pick on the response by the girl? In a country where male chauvinism and gender inequality is still a major issue, reinforced by religion, and different ethnic traditions and cultures, women have always been at the receiving end of abuse.  Nigerian women have experienced overt and covert discrimination and devaluation from been told statements such, “your husband is your crown,” to being blatantly told to tone down her smartness.

In 2015, Nigerian women told the story of their struggles on Twitter using the hashtag #beingfemaleinNigeria. The #Keepthechangebae case has increased conversations on the daily struggles of Nigerian  women living in a patriarchy society.

With the theme of the International Women’s Day being #BeBoldForChange, in support of a more gender inclusive world, the action of Oyebola Oreoluwa, returning the money spent on the date, asking the man, Pablo Ayodeji, to keep the change is a statement of financial independence. In a country where women experience high levels of sexual violence and where there is a sexual expectation from men after spending money on a date, it raises the issue of consent.

In 2014, Nigerian comedian Bright Onyekwere Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth, in a comparison between white girls and Nigerian girls, on how many dates are required before sex, said that on the 9th date, if the Nigerian girl didn’t agree to sexual advances, rape was an option, after all, money had been spent during the dating.

The idea of taking a girl out on a date with the expectation of sex or a relationship is one of the convoluted ideas among Nigerian youths. Men spend money on women in the hope that she would accede to his sexual advances or a relationship. This was what Ayodeji expected of Oreoluwa, and when the latter did not give in to his demand, he went on Twitter to rant.

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The issue speaks to a larger problem in the Nigerian society where money is seen by men as a means to secure sex  regardless of the woman’s consent. Oyebola’s case has created a vibrant debate on the issue. Taking a woman out on a date does not, and should never automatically translate to a relationship, certainly not an invitation for sex.

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