Year 2015 is just a few days away from winding down, but memories from events that took place throughout the year still linger in the minds of Nigerians.
These events have shaped Nigerians’ perception about how successful or terrible the year has been for them, especially with the tension associated to this year’s general elections which presented President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s newly-elected democratic leader.
From election campaigns to hate speeches by opposition parties, to the confusion surrounding the demise of the immediate past Ooni of Ife, Oba Sijuwade Okunade to the unusual ‘phone call’ made by ousted president Goodluck Jonathan to concede defeat, as well as the re-emergence of pro-Biafran protests, Naij.com has made a comprehensive compilation for Nigerians to reminisce in no particular order.
1. Fayose’s Buhari ‘death’ advert
The 2015 pre-election took a new twist when on Monday, January 19, 2015, The Punch newspaper published a ‘death’ advert on Buhari which was clearly sponsored by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state.
The advert, which was also placed on the front page of Daily Sun, showed a representation of past northern Nigerian leaders who met their demise as the head of state.
The advert placed in The Punch by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state.
The advert was meant to warn Nigerians on the purported dangers of voting Buhari, a 72-year-old aspirant (at the time), who may no see through his tenure as the leader of Nigeria.
Nigerians all over the world soon condemned the governor’s act, slamming him for being to extreme with the level of campaign against the opposition.
2. Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo tears PDP membership card
Nigerians were stunned on Monday, February 16, 2015, when former president Olusegun Obasanjo rejected the PDP and ordered that his membership card be shred in pieces during a meeting with some of his followers in his ward.
Footage of the event showed that the PDP membership card was torn into pieces on the orders of the former president as he announced to his followers that he was no longer interested in being a member of the then ruling party.
“If you people’s worry is that I’m a card-carrying member of the party and I’m not showing you people direction and you are worried that I’m neither here nor there, this is the card; you can keep it, you can burn it or you can tear it, do whatever you want to do with it,” Obasanjo, a former Military ruler, was quoted to have said before the chairman of his former ward, Sarajudeen Oladunjoye, decided to tear the card.
But in explaining the reason for his action, Obasanjo informed that, “They were concerned that I had only one leg in the party, and worried that since I’m their leader in the ward, they need to hear from me.”
3. Pre-election hate speeches
Prior to the 2015 general elections, the country witnessed series of hate speeches by opposing political parties, especially between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Because the then ruling PDP seemed to be pensive over the possibility of relinquishing power to the APC, their party members engaged in series of hate speeches against the opposition, most notably, Dame Patience Jonathan, who championed the campaign in several parts of the country.
Patience Jonathan says President Buhari is brain dead.
At a point during the heated campaign sessions, she regarded President Muhammadu Buhari as being ‘brain dead’ and subsequently asked Nigerians to stone anyone who mentioned APC.
“Wetin him dey find again? Him dey drag with him pikin mate. Old man wey no get brain, him brain don die pata pata,” she was quoted to have said during a campaign rally help in Kogi state.
4. Emergence of President Buhari
In spite of all the hate speeches, ads and intrigues that preceded the presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari was on March 28, 2015 elected as Nigeria’s next president for the next four years.
Buhari polled a total of 15,424,921 votes as against Jonathan’s 12,853,162 as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, while announcing the official results of the election.
His election was a milestone in many regards as he became the first president to unseat a sitting president via electoral process.
President Muhammadu Buhari
The emergence of the new president was also widely believed to have been orchestrated by the APC party leaders, especially its national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom many perceived to have fought vigorously against the hate speeches which would have otherwise reduced their chances of ‘survival’ at the polls.
Buhari’s emergence gave Nigerians a glimmer of hope that their votes could count whenever they feel displeased about any political office holder and can decide what they want.
5. Former Kogi’s state governor Abubakar Audu’s death
To some, the death of Audu Abubakar, the All Progressives Congress’ gubernatorial candidate in Kogi, is still some sort of a dream. Quite a lot of people cannot still figure out how a man will die just at the verge of his victory; thus, making his crowd of supporters wail instead of dancing to the song of victory with him.
Former Kogi state governor, Abubakar Audu, before his demise
68-year-old Audu had thrice tried to go back to the government house in his hometown after occupying it twice. He was relentless and determined to go back to the coveted position. This made him jump in when there was an opportunity to do so during primaries which he emerged the winner in his party.
But the inevitable came, just on the day of his victory! While some relatives claimed he was poisoned, some said he had a heart attack. He died November 22, 2015.
6. Former president Goodluck Jonathan’s call to Buhari
One of the surprises that rocked Nigeria in 2015 was Goodluck Jonathan’s display of humility, simplicity and the spirit of sportsmanship in the process the presidential election. Although many were of the opinion that his body language from the beginning gave many Nigerians the impression that he was not likely to concede the defeat.
Buhari receiving Jonathan’s call shortly before Buhari was proclaimed the winner of the 2015 presidential election
Jonathan put aside his manly ego and he called Buhari, congratulating his opponent over his victory in the election. This exemplary and historic act got many marveled as numerous ‘study’ had suggested the tearing apart of the country due to the chaos that the election might herald. However international accolades and commendations concerning the former president’s rare display of political maturity and gentlemanliness has gotten him numerous recommendations since he handed over in May 29.
7. Bayelsa’s former governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha’s death
In September 2005, the then governor of Bayelsa state Diepreye Alamieyeseigha jumped bail from the United Kingdom back to Nigeria. Alamieyeseigha returned to Nigeria dressed as a woman in order to deceive the airport authorities.
On July 30, 2007, he was given a two-year jail term by a federal high court judge in Lagos following his prosecution on corruption and money laundering charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was later granted a presidential pardon by the former president Goodluck Jonathan in March 2013, despite being wanted by the UK government.
The news of the death of Alameisegha, who was popularly known as “Governor-General of Ijaw Nation” was welcomed with mixed reactions. This is because it came at a time when the British government announced the continuity of the politician’s abandoned trial in London. While a quarter claimed he slipped into a coma two days before his death and was placed on life support, Esueme Dan-Kikili, the Bayelsa state commissioner for information, said the former governor died of cardiac arrest.
And family sources said Alamieyeseigha suddenly fell ill in his hometown in Ammassoma township of Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa and was rushed to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, where he died at age 62. May his soul rest in perfect peace!
8. The election drama between former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega and former minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe
One of the most controversial tale of 2015 election is the drama that ensued at the Independent National Electoral Commission collation centre, Abuja. Professor Attahiru Jega was verbally attacked by Elder Godsday Orubebe, an official of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who accused the INEC chairman of siding with the APC.
Godsday Orubebe, a former minister of the federal republic of Nigeria caused a stir when he hurled barrage of accusations at the INEC Chairman, alleging that Jega was doing a disservice to the nation by being partisan in a bid to ensure PDP loses in the presidential election. He went further to call Jega a tribalistic, selective and partial fellow.
9. Patience Jonathan’s Many Rants
The popularity of Nigeria’s former first lady, Patience Jonathan, stretches far beyond her being the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Ask a number of Nigerians about the comments of Dame Patience in 2015 and you might just have won yourself a ‘laughing gas lottery’. This is because some of the comments of the former first lady came out really funny!
Dame Patience is always by the side of her spouse. She is always supportive, agitating Nigerians, and women of the country in particular, to believe in GEJ. Still, it seems that the former first lady, who can be characterized as quite an emotional person, crossed the line of what is taken as acceptable in politics (and society).
Before and during the general elections, Mrs. Jonathan dropped several statements that have been tagged as seriously controversial. Below are a few of her controversial comments:
a. “The PDP is a party that talks less and does more, unlike the APC that tells new lies every week. When you catch them today, they will tell another lie tomorrow. We (PDP) do not tell you about change because we are not bus conductors that ask for change.”
b. “Anybody that come and tell you change, stone that person. Anybody that come and tell you he will change, stone that person.”
c. “Wetin him dey find again? Him dey drag with him pikin mate. Old man wey no get brain, him brain don die pata pata.” (Referring to Buhari). You can read more of her outlandish rants here.
10. Dangote’s suspected involvement in Radisson Hotel in Mali
It was sad enough to know that gunmen who were suspected to be terrorists attacked Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, on Friday, November 20 and about 170 are being held hostage. The story became sourer when a foreign news medium reported that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, was at the venue of attack.
All thanks to social media as the business mogul quickly took to his social pages to debunk the news of him being among the people held hostage. Although he was at the venue a day before the attack, he left Mali same day and was safely in his office at the Union Marble house in Lagos, Nigeria during the sad attack.
10. Linda Ikeji’s multi-million naira mansion
Up till now, tongues are still wagging as to how Nigeria’s most popular blogger, Linda Ikeji, could have gotten such a huge money to acquire that kind of property in high-brow Banana Island in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Linda chilling inside her massive mansion
Talking about the new house on her twitter page, the celebrity blogger tweeted: “my house is not N450m…where did y’all get that from? It’s over N500m. And thanks for all the kind words. Love to you all.” Ms Ikeji is known for her rags to riches story, hence, the argument over how blogging business alone could have been her only source of income. But to burst the bubbles of Thomases, she went further to say she has never in her life slept with a man for money, and it was only blogging that brought her that far!
Even when she was ‘bad-mouthed’ towards the end of the year for allegedly collecting money from a certain politician, she still came out to clear herself. We can clearly say Linda Ikeji is one of our top women of the year!
11. Emergence of Mama Taraba as the the first female governor in Nigeria
Aisha Alhassan also known as Mama Taraba is one who should be called a pacesetter! Against all odds, she was declared the winner of the April 11 governorship election in Taraba state, thus making her Nigeria’s first female governor-elect.
This is first of its kind and this got numerous Nigerians surprised. This was after a Taraba state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja nullified the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
12. Toke Makinwa’s husband, Maje Ayida, impregnates another woman
Just 18-months-old after getting married, news made rounds about Maje Ayide, the husband of popular Nigerian radio personality, television host and vlogger, Toke Makinwa, impregnating an old time lover.
Toke Makinwa and Maje Ayida.
The 30-year-old social media-active woman got married to her on and off boyfriend, Maje Ayida(who is also a health instructor) in a surprise wedding in 2014. The wedding, came as a surprise to many because it happened at a time when every onlooker taught they might be parting away.
But 18 months down the line, a totally shocking one hit the news page! Maje Ayida impregnated his former girlfriend, Anita Solomon and she was said to have gone to the UK to deliver their baby. Anita is partly a Lebanese and partly Calabar. Anita is also a lawyer who runs a beauty salon in Calabar. Ayida and Anita have been in a relationship for the past 8 years but broke off briefly when he got married to Toke.
Though the media does not exactly know what is presently going on between the couple, there are strong indications that they are back together after the Maje publicly apologized on Instagram and also called her his wife on her birthday recently.
13. The Return of Biafra Agitation
When radio station named Radio Biafra started operations from an unknown location in Rivers state, it got many panicked. The station is said to have just one radio personality named “Director,” and he often refers to listeners as “the indigenous people of Biafra.” The conversations on the radio programme was back to back tirades against the current government of the federal republic of Nigeria, and raw undiluted anti-semitic messages were targeted at the Yorubas and Hausas.
Although the director of the radio station, Nnamdi Kanu, has been arrested and has had to face the court of law countless times, protests in and outside Nigeria are a great pointer that the followership of the Biafra dream has gone so far. The radio is presently not transmitting.
14. Dasuki’s Trial
When retired Nigerian Army Colonel Sambo Dasuki was appointed National Security Adviser (NSA) to former President Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012, little did he know what was awaiting him.
Former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki
On December 1, 2015, Dasuki was arrested by Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) for allegedly stealing $2bn and accused of awarding phantom contracts to buy 12 helicopters, four fighter jets, and ammunition meant for the Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram Islamist militants.
The Dasuki has led to numerous sub-dramas that implicated many high and might in the Nigerian political and media world. The former NSA even spent 2015 Christmas day in Kuje prison as he was given bail conditions the fear of EFCC did not allow any civil servant be his guarantor.
15. Ooni of Ife’s death
One of Nigeria’s prominent ruler, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade died in a London hospital and quite a lot of people did not believe the news. At a point, there were rejoinders saying the king did not die and that ‘kings don’t die’. However, after few days of hullabaloo, it was reported that Oba Sijuwade was truly dead and preparations were in top gear to bury him.
The new ooni of ife, Prince Adeyeye Ogunwusi
After months of going back and forth among the ruling houses of Ife, a relatively young king, that is well-read, Prince Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, was announced as the new Ooni of Ife by the Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola. Aside from looking good, the 40-year-old is a great dresser with so many other things which are a plus for a traditional king. He is also a big time entrepreneur with stakes in top Nigerian companies. He has a wife and they are blessed with just one child, who recently graduated from a foreign university.
16. Diezani’s $20b allegations, cancer surgery
Former Nigerian pretroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arrested in London in October on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. She has allegedly gone to the UK to seek treatment for breast cancer. After she was released on bail, Alison-Madueke decided to go home and visit a Lagos-based controversial preacher, TB Joshua.
Do you remember any major event that shook Nigeria? You can join the discussion in the comment section!