#ThankASoldier: It’s good to tweet, but better to act!

The narrative for us is rather simple: our soldiers are the only buffer between the insurgency and us. Without them, our ‘normal’ city lifestyles would probably be gone. The sacrifice of the military men and women have allowed us retain our way of life.
While planning for this campaign, we planned for some negative feedback. Thankfully, it came yesterday. The main accusation was that the promoters of #ThankASoldier (mostly, me) never supported the military pre-May 29, when the new government got into office.

Disclaimer (sort of)

This blog is not for those people – it’s for the people who truly want to show their appreciation to our soldiers, to keep eyes on the ball, and not be distracted from doing a truly noble thing.

So let’s address the accusations as they came:

Basically a request to update this

So you didn’t feel shame when BH released videos of their fighters strolling in the barracks? Of course the following tweet showed clearly that the tweet was asking for better leadership for the war, but hey!

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 3.23.22 PM

 

Next one

English grammar people. You should learn it. “I will never forgive those soldiers on Falomo” simply means I will never forgive seeing soldiers on Falomo.

OccupyNigeria, whatever the reasons, was a peaceful protest. Then soldiers were deployed, with orders to shoot at civilians who tried to resume the protest. The protesters were unarmed, and the constitution allows protests. Asking soldiers to shoot at unarmed, non-rioting citizens is unforgivable.

 

But let’s not get it twisted

Another accusation

Very cute. Thankfully, our old friend, context, didn’t die in the war.

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Obviously, my patriotic friends lifted just one tweet, so they could knock it out of context. A soldier was knocked down while illegally driving on the BRT lane. Soldiers then came out rioting, burning things and beating up civilians who tried to film.
Because of our history of military rule, our army hasn’t had a good reputation. If the army is trying to improve that reputation, and get support from civilians, soldiers beating up people on the street doesn’t help that cause, or does it?
My words may have been harsh, but asking the army to protect it’s image is real support for troops. They need it.

It’s not over till there’s an accusation of political motivation

Silly question, but I’ll humour. I’ve never met Lai Mohammed, don’t think I want to.

But this took the cake

 

And this lovely point of order too.

 

I agree. So I pulled a selection of my tweets from 2014, the year I believe, Buhari took over

 

 

I believe visiting troops is good for morale. We’ve seen how the visits by the new Army Chief has lifted morale. If Buhari doesn’t visit the troops during the military remembrance week, he should be chewed out.

 

 

Look away now

 

By the way, my friend Ken, is a big GEJ supporter. Oops!

 

So I have a problem with the big bosses, eh? I should watch leaders treat them like dirt?

 

Remember Baga?

 

Small advise is why you’re angry

 

Yesterday, I learned a new word, ‘denigrate’. I believe that’s what GEJ’s NSA was doing when he called the fighting troops cowards.

 

See, eh, I don’t think the military should be involved in the political process at all

 

Remember when Mubi fell?

 

Again, it’s about the troops, not the politics

I know they think they did, but #WeTriumphStill team didn’t patent patriotism.

And I did visit. Yeah, I know, it’s hard to believe that an unpatriotic, army-hating, politically motivated moron like me would do that, while real patriot exercised Twitter fingers.

But then, I looked at these tweets, and realised “Oh wait, GEJ was president in 2014.”
In other words, people will say whatever, do whatever, to push their agenda. So let’s talk about the questions I’ve received about the campaign.

 

How is #ThankASoldier funded?

The campaign is primarily funded from Anakle’s CSR budget, which this year, has been split between supporting organisations offering help to victims of rape and domestic violence, and now, #ThankASoldier. Partners like Andela and Printivo have offered to contribute in kind. Uber has donated free rides. Billboards have also been donated by our sister company, DM2.

Everyone participating in the campaign, including Anakle staff,  is doing it on their own free will.

What is the funding for?

T-shirts, to be given freely to people who participate. This is to help drive awareness. “Thank You” T-shirts are being delivered to military wives and children. Thank You mugs (donated by Printivo), are going to military families. We are also printing custom holiday cards, which will signed by people, and delivered to troops on the frontline.
A concert/party is being organised for military families on the 12th of December, 2015. Everything is being paid for by Anakle. Our partners have also donated gifts/time/effort for this event.

So where do we go from here?

The reality – in the history of humankind, whenever people have tried to make progress, some people would do whatever they can to pull it down. The fact that we have made progress as humans is a testimony to that fact that the people who actually do get things done are way stronger than those who do not!
Supporting the troops goes beyond tweeting a hashtag. It also includes visiting the troops on the frontline, touring the troubled North East, delivering help to soldiers who need them, which I have done. Supporting troops includes standing up for them when the politicians steal funds meant for their equipment, ammo and welfare. Supporting the troops includes speaking up when troops are deployed for unwholesome tasks, which brings the dishonour to our military institutions.

Better to act

My challenge to the critics of #ThankASoldier would be that they move beyond political tweets, and actually provide help to the troops who need them. It’s good to tweet support to the troops, but it is even better to act.
To everyone who is joining us to #ThankASoldier, don’t stop. The troops need you more than you can imagine.