In a matter of days, the year 2016 will to terminate into history. Here in Nigeria, it is a year marked by series of epochal events that made headlines in various sectors of the socio-economic divide. From politics to sports, entertainment, academics, economy and a host of others, the year 2016 generally has been a mixture of paradoxes. A large array of events occurred across all fields of human endeavours, and they will continue to linger in the minds of many Nigerians.
Our Research Anchor, Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye catalogued some of these events that shaped this outgoing year as summarized in the following excerpts;
Olajumoke, ‘Agege Bread’ hawker creates online social media buzz.
We all relish stories with a happy ending. That explains why the world was instantly enamoured and enthralled by the story of Olajumoke Orisagunna, an “Agege bread” hawker and mother of two. In the course of plying her trade, she unwittingly stumbled on fame when she strayed into a group doing a photo-shoot.
The event featured a United Kingdom-based Nigerian rapper, Tinnie Tempah, celebrity photographer and singer, TY Bello on the streets of Sabo-Yaba, Lagos.
What followed that chance-meeting is the stuff that million-dollars Hollywood movie scripts are made of.
Olajumoke was transformed overnight, making the cover-page of celebrity publications in the print, electronics and online media space.
Her fame was ignited in many online platforms in Nigeria, and she became a star as a popular runway model. A number of commercial concerns queued up at her doorstep to tap into her luck by making her their brand ambassador.
Not to be left behind, pastors, prayer warriors and other purveyors of miracles also used Olajumoke’s encounter with TY Bello as a prayer point. Of course, no one would blame them; it is a way to inspire hope in their teeming supporters?
She indeed exemplifies the Nigerian dream if there’s anything like that or rather the dream of a typical Nigerian who daily relishes on fantasies of sudden wealth and even sows seeds in churches for it. Olajumoke’s story really made an event during the year.
Bukola Saraki gets his day in court over false assets’ declaration.
Like no other, the trial of Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) arguably remains the dominant headline grabber in the course of the year.
The Senate President was charged with alleged false/anticipatory declaration of assets, money laundering, and operation of foreign accounts while in office as the governor of Kwara State. He was also alleged to have drawn salaries of his former office even when he has moved to the National Assembly as a senator.
Giving the popular anti-corruption posture of the Buhari administration, it is no surprise that allegations of graft among high profile government officials will attract huge public interest.
Interestingly, however, the trial continues to suffer unending adjournments as the tribunal is yet to give definite ruling on the matter.
Insinuations making the rounds suggests that the current chummy relationship that exists between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate President may weigh heavily on the turn of events at the tribunal. The tribunal may tarry a while before coming up with its decision on the case.
The case which clearly remains the litmus test for the seriousness of this government’s anti-corruption mantra has been adjourned until January 2017 by the Chairman of CCT, Danladi Umar.
Aisha Buhari pot-shot at the ‘cabal’
In the course of the year, the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari shocked the world in what is considered unprecedented in the nation’s history. She publicly criticized some appointments made by her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Her remarks on the state of the nation came amid an unfolding story of a rift between the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the party’s National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun.
The President’s wife, in an interview granted to a popular and influential foreign media was so critical of the appointments, saying that majority of those that have been appointed to various positions were not part of those that worked for the successful emergence of her husband.
She also stunned many Nigerians when she further said that, if the situation does not change, she might not join her husband to campaign if he seeks for re-election in 2019.
The curiosity elicited by this story was further heightened by the belief by many that she might have been pushed to the point of expressing her frustrations openly as nobody can be closer to the President than his wife.
Akeredolu: Bracing the odds, a new paradigm in S’ West politics?
The governorship election in Ondo State has come and gone with winner emerging and losers ruing their loss. The winner, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN of the All Progressives Congress, was seen by many as an underdog in the race, even though he was the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
In the said 2012 election, he was tagged as a “foreigner” who is going to rule the state from afar if given the mandate.
After emerging at the governorship primaries of the APC, ahead of Dr. Olusegun Abrahams, the choice candidate of some prominent leaders of the party in the south west, not a few felt the game was up for him, Akeredolu has lost his last chance to govern Ondo State.
The outcome of the primaries caused a strain in the relationship between APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun and the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
However, Akeredolu, fondly called Aketi by his admirers, won the election clinching 14 out of the 18 council areas of the state ahead of Eyitayo Jegede and Olusola Oke of the PDP and AD respectively.
For a candidate that avoided the highly publicized governorship debate and went missing on the radar of most of the pre-election opinion surveys, Akeredolu’s victory at the polls made headlines in the country.
The character of the Nigerian electorates remains an interesting case study for sociologists and political scientists.
Enugu Rangers: Champions again after 32 years
The flying antelopes, as Enugu Rangers Football Club are fondly called, won the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League for the first time in 32 years.
After a gloomy outing last season that saw them narrowly avoiding relegation, Enugu Rangers began the 2015/2016 campaign on a blistering form, sending warning signals to opposing teams.
The team began the season on an impressive form when they sat at the top of the log in most part of the season. The Flying Antelopes finished on 63 points from 36 matches, three points ahead of second-placed Rivers United.
Nigeria relapsed into recession.
An economic recession is typically defined as a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters. GDP is the market value of all goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time.
It can also mean that a business cycle contraction which results in a general slowdown in economic activity. All these are evident in Nigeria today.
The National Bureau of Statistics in August this year officially confirmed that Nigeria is now in Recession. In it released statistics, the bureau said in the second quarter 2016 Gross domestic products (GDP) declined by -2.06 per cent. Annual inflation rose to 17.1 percent in July from 16.5 percent in June, and food inflation rose to 15.8 percent from 15.3.
Nigeria have found itself in this unwholesome situation because of its over dependence on oil receipts. For such a mono-cultural economy, a sharp drop in international prices precipitated by a decline in demand, complemented by diminishing production capacity resulting from internal crises cannot but have devastating consequences.
The figure confirms the worst economic recession in the country for over a decade, and it is taking its toll on every citizen.
The costs of goods and services in the country have skyrocketed making it difficult for most Nigerians to make ends meet.
Nigerians continue to look up to the government for a vibrant economic policing direction that will turn things around for the country and make their lives better.
Donald Trump: An unexpected victory reshaping global diplomatic order
The unexpected victory of Donald Trump of the Republican Party, over the much globally preferred former US Secretary of State; Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party continues to make the headlines.
Donald Trump, a successful real-estate entrepreneur stunned the whole world with the victory in the US election through the Electoral College with 322 as against Clinton, who secured 238, 32 short of the 270 mark.
A number of factor typify the extraordinariness of the American election of 2016. For a new comer with no background of public service to successfully take-on the GOP and the entire Washington Establishment indicate weariness with the old order. That the people will like to listen to new tunes, even if coming from Trump may mean a departure from the American liberal ideals.
Most Nigerians will also find it difficult to reconcile the fact that a candidate with a record of over 2. 8million lead in the popular vote is not the eventual winner of the election. It, however, exemplifies the importance of technicalities over number and a strict adherence to rules.
The final popular vote tally is, however, an indication that those who predicted the outcome for Hillary Clinton had a basis for doing so for their action.
As the world awaits the change of guard from the United States first black President Barrack Hussein Obama comes January 2017 to Donald Trump, we sincerely hope that the new helmsman while at it, will use his tenure to promote global peace and the economic well-being of mankind.