Everyday Life: How Nigerians Spent Their First Days of 2021 on the Internet

Everyday Life: How Nigerians Spent Their First Days of 2021 on the Internet

When a year is going to an end, it is a tradition among people throughout the world to make resolutions for the coming year. Over the years, the argument has been that people do abandon their resolutions. A recent study of 800 million activities of the people who made resolutions at the end of a year for the coming year indicates that most abandoned their resolutions on January 19 of the new year. Another research linked this to too much ambition. Though, the focus of this piece is not about giving insights on how to make resolutions, it is imperative to make reference to it as it has been established that the first days of a new year are better utilised for seeking information on resolutions realization.  For the people who want to implement new processes towards business and personal development, being on the Internet, exploring information, is essential.


In this regard, our analyst examines information seeking behaviour of people in Nigeria between January 4 and January 8, 2021. Like other countries in the developing world, the Internet is being used for information seeking, gaining knowledge and understanding a specific topic in Nigeria. This has been made easy with the various search tools developed by companies such as Google, Bing, Yahoo among others. While on the Internet, some people receive information, gain knowledge and understand a problem or an issue consciously or unconsciously. Indeed, the Internet is critical to human survival on the digital sphere. In 2020, there were 85.26 million mobile internet users in Nigeria. This figure is projected to grow to 151.3 million by the end of 2025.

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A number of the Nigerian users employ different phrases while seeking information on the Internet. In our previous analysis, these users were found to have a strong preference for ‘how to’ and ‘what is’ phrases than ‘who is’ phrase. The preference for the ‘how to’ and ‘what is’ is an indication that the phrases were better in delivering the relevant information during the period. In our 2018 analysis, we discovered that 42% of Nigerians’ searches were on how to kiss a girl in the last 24 hours. These results are not quite different from what we found within 5 days of 2021.


From January 4 to January 8, 2021, people in Nigeria searched sports, life and style related information or news more than other categories, our analysis reveals. On the first day [January 4, 2021], the match between Southampton and Liverpool was considered most important, followed by the news that Jack Ma’s, whereabout was not known for two months. Other three information/news were on business, life and style and sports [football]. On January 5, 2021, English Premier League matches were searched mostly including Georgia runoff election in the United States of America, denial of breach of agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria by the Federal Government. During the day, people also developed interest in knowing UK lockdown due to a second wave of COVID-19. Nigerians and other nationals ended the day with the interest in understanding FA Cup matches.

Life and style information/news occupied the public mind. Charlie Charlie Challenge, a social media event, enveloped the searches. Political information [Trump’s refusal to accept Joe Biden’s victory] followed and then sports [football]. Surprisingly, interest in health information surfaced. A number of the Internet users want to know brain aneurysm, a life-threatening condition.  In all, the users developed interest in 17 trending issues during the day, mostly sports, life and style and politics. Elon Musk and his company, SpaceX occupied first and third top searches on January 7, 2021. Like the other days, sports, life and style and politics dominated the day and the majority of the information/news sought and read related to these categories. On January 8, 2021, the interest in life and style, and politics surpassed other categories our analyst examined.

In spite of the high search volume of these categories, our analysis indicates no connection between information/news category and search volume. We discovered the same result for foreign information/news seeking and reading, and search volume. From the first day of our analysis to the last day, analysis suggests growth of passive information acquisition about issues and needs in Nigeria [see Exhibit 1].

Exhibit 1: Category of News Searched by People in Nigeria

Source: Google, 2021; Infoprations Analytics, 2021


Exhibit 2: Trended Information/News Categories

Source: Google, 2021; Infoprations Analytics, 2021

Exhibit 3: Search Volume

Source: Google, 2021; Infoprations Analytics, 2021


These results have suggested that people searched and read what appealed to them during the period of analysis based on their needs. It is understandable that everyone has right to information seeking and use them in personal and business life using his or her discretion. However, there are implications of what our analysis reveals.

It is clear that people prioritised self-esteem and belongingness over physiological, safety and self actualisation needs. Everyone to watch foreign football matches, understand American politics and active in the social media space at the expense of knowing one or two things that could lead to business creation or investment opportunities exploration. Looking at data on Exhibit 4, it is glaring that Nigerian public was passive on critical information/news categories. It is appalling that a significant information was not sought and read about education, health, business and crime. Linking the interest in sports with the searching of betting and gambling shows that interest in understanding betting was high on January 6, 2021, the day the interest in football was also high. Mostly, people in Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Lagos and Federal Capital Territory had interest in betting. For gambling, people in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Lagos and FCT had interest in it on January 4, 2021 than people in other states across the country.

Exhibit 4: Active and Passive Information/News Seeking

Source: Google, 2021; Infoprations Analytics, 2021

Exhibit 5: Category of Information/News by Day

Source: Google, 2021; Infoprations Analytics, 2021
Note 1: Sports (n=21), Politics (n=8), Education (n=1), Health (n=2), Business (n=5), Life and Style (n=10), Crime (n=1)
Note 2: Numbers on the Exhibit are in percentages

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