2012 in Nigeria didn’t start a good note. You can even argue that it was probably the worst way to start the year with Boko Harma issues and fuel subsidy protests introducing us into a 2012 that is filled with so many low points, it was hard to scratch some positives from the year. But no matter how bad 2012 was, there were some positive things and some moments that made us laugh. And some moments that made us look at ourselves as Nigerians and ask tough questions.
Without too much story, let’s get right into it.
OCCUPY NIGERIA & THE FUEL SUBSIDY PROTESTS
The year couldn’t have started off on a worse note for many Nigerians.
The sudden removal of fuel subsidy on January 1st 2012 saw fuel prices shoot up to 141 naira from the previous price of 65 naira. That in turn set off some of the biggest protests seen in Nigeria on a national level and a strike that brought the country to its knees.
Nigerians in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Lokoja, Kaduna, Benin, Ibadan and other major cities in the country took to the streets to protest the sudden hike in fuel prices which would consequently increase everything else. Airports were shutdown, transportation was halted, banks, schools, and almost all offices kept their days shut. The heaviest impacted were international flights and many Nigerians who returned from their christmas holidays were stranded in Nigeria for days. Airports were packed with passengers, and many international air careers put red alert notices warning of the protests on their websites.
It was a time for all Nigerians to stand up for what is right, and in many ways even though the ultimate goal wasn’t achieved, it was good to see all Nigerians turn out in heavy protest against the Government and stand for their right.
BOKO HARAM CONTINUES
While the protests were going on and might have taken off a bit of the attention, Boko Haram was still their carrying out their devastating terror in the country as they had done the previous year.
You can say they got even bolder this year with the Kano massacre, Kaduna bombing of media houses, church bombings in Jos, Bauchi, Maiduguri and all round general terror across the north and even spreading to Kogi state at one point.
It’s pretty sad that as of last year, Boko Haram was the highlight of the year, and this year things haven’t changed.
DANA AIR CRASH
On June 3rd 2012, Nigeria was once again given another heavy dose of bad news as Dana Air Flight 992 heading to Lagos from Abuja crashed as it attempted to land in Lagos.
All 153 people on board died and it was recorded as the worst air disaster in Nigeria in over 20 years. It spawn a large number of questions from citizens demanding to find out reasons why the plane crashed, and as later revealed why the plane was ever allowed to fly in Nigeria as it was a very old plane and proper maintenance was not regularly performed on the plane. Worse off was some Dana air staff anonymously coming out to say the planes were not well maintained and were flying without safety check done.
What’s sadder is not up to 3 months after the crash and the government suspended the flying license of Dana air, the airline’s license was reinstated and there is no word whether all relatives of the victims have been paid as ordered by the federal government. Even weirder, FAAN named Dana as Nigeria’s best domestic airline. What a country.
Nigeria was brought to a harsh reality of itself on October 5th, 2012.
4 university of Port Harcourt students were stripped naked, mercilessly beaten, and burned alive by a mob carrying out jungle justice for alleged laptops and phone theft in the Aluu community of Port Harcourt. The whole ordeal was video taped, and the video went viral on the internet.
We as Nigerians had to take a hard look at ourselves and what we do to each other as human beings. It was probably the saddest thing I’ve heard about in a long time and when the stories that the boys were innocent came out it broke our hearts even more. What kind of country do we live in?
The 4 young men now known as the Aluu4 forced us as Nigerians to confront our lack of law of order and our issues with jungle justice that is almost known to be a way of life in Nigeria.
TONTO DIKEH TAKES POKO TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
On a different note, one of the major highlights this year in entertainment has to be Tonto Dike and her decision to take her poko talents to music.
What started off as a rumor turned out to be 100% true when she released her song, Get High and took the social media by storm. The song hit records for downloads in a 24 hr span, and she ended up trending worldwide on twitter. Win for to Tonto, no matter your feelings on the song itself.
As for the song? Well… the song introduced us to a new definition of what you can call music. Let’s leave it at that. It’s poko baby.
MO-HITS SPLIT UP + KNIGHTHOUSE OFF WITH MO’CHEDDAH + ELDEE & EVA PART WAYS
This year saw major break ups in the music industry. Knighthouse & Mo’Cheddah, Trybe Records & Eva, but none was more astonishing and gave more of a huge media circus than the break of the highly successful Mo-Hits records. More especially after the largely international success the two had just the year before.
What started off as a rumor of rift between bosses, Dbanj & Don Jazzy quickly turned into a full blown split with the remaining artists under the label taking sides. Wande Coal, D’Prince & Dr SID took to Don Jazzy to form Mavin Records while Kay-Switch jumped to his brother, Dbanj’s team in Dbanj records.
There were shots taken subliminally and directed from both sides, and the media circus surrounding the break up was an all-time high.
The 2 recently have been cordial to each other publicly and all the madness has stopped, but a lot of fans still wonder what happened to break this group that looked so tight, apart.
As if that wasn’t bad enough we saw Mo Cheddah leave Knighthouse, and Eva & Eldee part ways in the deal that never was just after a few months.
NIGERIA WONT HOLD RICK ROSS BACK
These niggaz won’t hold me back! Those words will definitely resonate in Nigeria through the next year as not many will forget that Rick Ross shoot a version of his video.
There was considerable excitement that Rick Ross was shooting a version of his video in Nigeria, and all that excitement ended when the video finally came out. The controversy it caused sparked a huge debate as to whether Rick Ross was exploiting the slums in Nigeria or not. Some people felt Rick Ross was wrong, some felt he was just doing what he needed to do, and some just thought he showed us what we didn’t want to see.
In reality though, the American version had a similar setting (in the ghetto) and so the Nigerian version was bound to be the same. The video forced many of us to sit and watch at how parts of our country look. The part that over 50% of Nigerian live in daily. Bawse!
AZONTO & ETIGHI FEVER
Yes I know Azonto and Etighi really didn’t start this year but it reached a whole new stratosphere in 2012. The amount of azonto songs that came out this year alone was just on another level. Throw in that Kukure was arguably the song of the year, and Azonto & Etighi was 80% of dances in 2012.
Everywhere you went to someone was azonto-ing or doing etighi. Heck why not? You can do that dance to damn near every song in the world.
Hi5 to Ghanians! Una try for this beat and dance.
K-SOLO WIFE BATTERY & MEDIA CIRCUS
K-Solo became a household name this year for all the wrong reason in the world. Actually one of the worst of them to be honest. Beating his wife black and blue.
When pictures leaked of his battered wife hit Linda Ikeji’s blog, a lot of folks were just straight up dumb founded and even though K-solo initially denied it, we all knew there was something very fishy going on.
A few weeks later K-Solo and his wife came out publicly to say that it was all a joke and a publicity stunt, but if you are like me, for some reason it didn’t sound very convincing. It just didn’t sound right. Right?
Well right now the latest is that K-Solo is now married, abi has a kid by another woman that he claims in the real love of his life. Really weird. Either way it’s not a good look for him. Publicity stunt or not.
CYNTHIA OSOKOGU FACEBOOK MURDER
It seemed like something you would watch on tv or some CSI show. But this wasn’t fiction. What happened to Cynthia Osokogu was very real and more importantly very astonishing for Nigerians who haven’t thought about social media as a tool to commit these kinds of crimes.
Cynthia was grad student and business owner who had made friends with some guys on facebook, and after a little while decided that when she gets to Lagos she would link up with them as they promised to provide her accommodation, pay for her plane ticket and help her with her business.
What happened was the total opposite of anything accommodating. She was drugged with a sedative, beaten, and eventually killed her. She was reported missing for over a month before her corpse was eventually found at a mortuary. As the details of the murder unfolded, most of us were just stunned that stuff like this could happen.
Rumors were floating around about the intentions of the murderers but nothing has been 100% confirmed yet and the case is still in court.
What started a little side note on the news page turned into a full blown human disaster with a significant part of the middle belt region in Nigeria completely flooded. The worst flood in Nigeria in 50 years.
The flood, caused by excessive rainfall and pressure release from a dam in Cameroon, killed about 400 people in total and displaced over 2 million people. As we speak now a lot of those people are without homes, food, and a lot of personal belongings.
Relief efforts, though pretty slow have been steady.
NO OLYMPIC MEDALS FOR NIGERIA
Olympics! The one time period every four years that every country can forget about their internal troubles and channel their energy into rooting and supporting their athletes as they compete with the world’s bests.
Nigeria was no different as we sent about 116 athletes to the games and for the first time ever, we had a Men’s basketball team to represent us. But all that came to a hard, mind-numbing reality when at the end of 3+ weeks of the competition, we emerged with 0 medals. Nada! Not a single medal from all 116 athletes, making it out worst Olympics showing since 1988. It also included a record thrashing in a basketball game by the USA, 156-73.
As with all things in Nigeria, a lot of fingers were pointed and promises from the sports Ministry to have a stronger showing in 2016. We shall see.
On the flipside, the Paralympics team for Nigeria ended up saving face for Nigeria this summer with 6 gold medals and 12 medals in total. Unfortunately the Nigerian government didn’t show their appreciation as we would have hoped.
BURYING OUR CIVIL WAR SCARS – BURIAL OF DIM OJUKWU
The leader of the former Biafra sovereign state, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu died late 2011, but it was not until 2012 that his burial and funeral arrangements were set.
The discussion on whether to honor him with a full states burial or not became a topic of debate as many still didn’t see him as a national hero but more of a villain that took Nigeria into civil war. On the flip-side, another group gave the justified arguments that he fought for a group of people in Nigeria and therefor was a national hero.
Long and short, a full state burial was conducted for Ojukwu and his funeral in his home town of Nnewi, was attended by many foreign and national dignitaries. Once all was said and done, we could all agree that with his death and burial we could bury all our wounds and scars from the civil war that cost well over 2 million lives.
WORLD RICHEST BLACK WOMAN
Move over Oprah, the richest black woman on the planet is now a Nigerian.
In a year that saw a lot of negativity cast upon Nigeria, it was a bright spot for all Nigerians as Mrs Folorunsho Alakija was listed as the Richest Black women in the world at an estimate of at least $3.2 billion. Wikes! That’s a load of money.
For the kind of year Nigerians had, this small inspiration and bright spot did well for us. Plus I’m sure a lot of guys are looking for sugar mummies with Alakija last names 😀
NIGERIA ON THE WRONG END OF SURVEYS & STATS
The Economic Intelligence Unit came out with a good number of surveys this year, and it always seemed like Nigeria was on the receiving end of their surveys and stats.
The two that stuck out the most being; Nigeria being the worst place to be born in, and Lagos the being the worst major city to live in. As much as we hate the stats that were thrown out there and maybe a little bit extreme, it did make us think for a second. Is Nigeria really that bad? Are we blind in thinking what we face in Nigeria is normal? Another stat thrown was Nigeria being the 6th most dangerous African country to live in.
Please where are the stats that says Nigerians are the happiest people on earth? Can we get those once again?
DEATH OF KADUNA STATE GOVERNOR
I was literally writing up this series when the news came up.
One of the more prominent governors in the country, Kaduna state governor, Patrick Yakowa and other top government officials died in a helicopter crash right outside of Nembe, Bayelsa State. He died alongside General Andrew Azazi and 2 of their aides.
In a year filled with deaths, it seemed like this one just added another check mark in the year that claimed so many lives.
It flew under the radar to the Aluu Killings but was by no means better or less devastating. You can even argue that is this was caught on video like the Aluu killings it would’ve taken center stage.
27 students, were lined up and shot dead by unknown gunmen just outside their hostels on the campus of federal polytechnic, Mubi in Adamawa state. A result of student union elections gone wrong many said. Very very wrong. Is this what the leaders of tomorrow are doing because of student union elections?
It shocked all of us that this could actuallty happen on a student campus, and even more shocking was the fact that no one seemed to know exactly who the culprits were and till date the case doesn’t seem to have any conclusions or answers.
MORE & MORE KIDNAPPINGS
Kidnappings, Kidnappings, Kidnappings!
We live in a country now that kidnapping is the norm, but it seems this year it was stepped up a notch with bolder abductions.
Earlier in the year, popular Nollywood actor Kenneth Okonkwo was kidnapped, and just recently the mother of the finance minister Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was kidnapped, and also Nkiru Sylvanus alongside Kenneth Okoli were also just abducted.
With these things happening is anyone safe anymore. I almost feel like I’ll hear that a governor or someone higher up with be a victim soon. Crazy!
What a year it has been, and looking back it seems like we as Nigerians have had a very tough year, but there were in fact some bright spots, even if they were not as pronounced as some of the more negative highlights.
Drop your thoughts, comments and your hopes for 2013. Happy Holidays.
Photo Credits: Linda Ikeji, http://www.cpit.ac.nz