READ ALSO: 30 People Who Made The News In 2015 (Part 5)
5. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, BNER, GCON, was born on 20 November 1957, from the oil-rich (Niger Delta region) Bayelsa state to a family of canoe makers. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Zoology in which he attained Second Class Honours, a M.Sc. degree in Hydrobiology and Fisheries biology, and a PhD degree in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. Married to Patience Dame Jonathan, he has two children. He is a Christian, and he comes from the Ijaw ethnic group. Before he ventured into politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer.
On 29 May 1999, Jonathan was sworn in as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa with Diepreye Alamieyeseigha being the governor of the state on the platform of PDP. On 9 December 2005, Jonathan, was sworn in as Governor following the impeachment of the then Governor Alamieyeseigha by the Bayelsa State Assembly after being charged with money laundering in the United Kingdom.
Jonathan had a rapid and highly improbable rise to power. Until November 2009, he was serving out his time as a low-key vice president from the south of the country to a low-key president Umaru Yar’Adua from the north. But then, President Yar’Adua was taken to hospital in Saudi Arabia and was not seen again in public until he died on 5 May 2010. Despite months of political wrangling from Nigeria’s bigwigs, Mr Jonathan was sworn in as the new president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Nigeria barely 12 hours after Mr Yar’Adua’s death.
On 31 March 2015, Jonathan contested and lost the presidential election to challenger Muhammadu Buahri, upon which he conceded defeat and became the first sitting Nigerian president to do so. Jonathan also called Buhari on phone to congratulate him, confounding critics who thought he would not give up power. He was saluted by many for being a statesman.
Jonathan was globally recognised as ‘a hero of free and fair election in Africa ‘ as many political pundits described his voluntary handover of power to the opposition as a new chapter for Nigeria’s democracy, given the fact that it is rare for sitting presidents in Africa to hand over powers to winning opposition parties.
4. Femi Fani-Kayode
David Oluwafemi Adewunmi Abdulateef Fani-Kayode was born in Lagos, Nigeria on 16th October 1960 to Chief Remilekun Adetokunbo Fani-Kayode and to Chief (Mrs) Adia Adunni Fani-Kayode. He was christened David Oluwafemi (meaning “the beloved of the Lord”) Adewunmi Fani-Kayode. Fani-Kayode, who was with the opposition’s All Progressive Congress (APC) until June 2014 when he returned to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, is Nigerian politician, essayist, poet and lawyer.
In 1980, Fani-Kayode went to the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies where he graduated with an LL.B law degree in 1983. He also read law in Cambridge University (Pembroke College). After finishing from Cambridge he went to the Nigerian law school and in 1985, he was called to the Nigerian Bar.
The former aviation minister has been married three times. His first marriage was to Saratu “Baby” Atta in 1987 but they were divorced by 1990. The second marriage was to Yemisi Olasunbo Adeniji in 1991 but they were divorced by 1995. The third marriage was to Regina Patience Amonoo.
Report had filtered in August 2015, that Fani-Kayode and his family questioned the paternity of his three children from his ex-wife, Yemisi. However, in his characteristic “declare and deny style”, he took to his Facebook page to deny disowning his three daughters.
Fani-Kayode, who just like Governor Fayose of Ekiti state, are the biggest critics of the President Buhari led administration, were never shy of venting their fury. However, Fani took his to another level when he started hurling expletive insults on the Fulani race.
In September 2015, Fani got tongues wagging on social media with his articles titled: ‘The herdsmen from hell’ and ‘The Carnage, Tyranny of Fulani Herdsmen.’ Fani-Kayode, who later noted that people got him wrong, said he was only referring to the Fulani Herdsmen and not the Fulanis as a tribe. He however, stood by his call for a ban to be placed on the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the south west, adding that he does not regret describing fulani herdsmen as tsetse flies, who have become the pest of the Nation.
Other controversial and thought provoking articles written by him include;
Born on 22 March 1989, Lottana Igwe-Odunze popularly known as Sugabelly is a Nigerian blogger, art illustrator and T-shirt Designer. She holds a B.Sc. degree in International Business from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, United States. She currently works as a Community Manager at iStrategyLabs, Washington D.C. Metro Area.
The spotlight beamed on Sugabelly on 27 November 2015, following the death of former Governor Abubakar Audu of Kogi State. While the rest of Nigeria mourned Audu’s death and pondered the implications of an inconclusive electoral process in Kogi State, Sugabelly, on the contrary, showed up on social media and started celebrating his death. Her message was that the death of the man was good riddance to bad rubbish.
In the wake of Audu’s death, Lotanna felt the urge to go public with her story. She alleged that Audu’s sons once gang-raped her (Mustapha, Abdul, Tunji, and their band of friends), when she was an impressionable 17-year old and that the late Governor Audu used his position as a big man to rubbish her, slammed her with a $2 million libel suit, denied her from getting justice, with his lawyers insisting that “14 years” is the age of consent under the Penal Code in the FCT, and so there is no case.
Sugabelly published a long and detailed account of her devastating experience of being gang-raped by Mustapha Audu and his merryband, explaining the psychological trauma she battled, and how a seemingly innocent relationship with her crush graduated into full blown sexual abuse, almost every day for a six-month period in 2007. Her story drew the sympathy of a wide section of the Nigerian public with disapproval and attacks targeted at the supposed abusers.
While Twitter was kept buzzing for over a week, Mustapha Audu’s rebuttal to the allegations, left social media’s netizens with dual views as most of Sugabelly’s supporters started applying a shrewd assessment to the situation. Mustapha’s Wife, Zahra also took a swipe at Lotanna, saying that she lied against her husband. Zahra, who hurled insults at Sugabelly described her as a troubled teenager with a history of mental illness. She further called Lotanna ‘an obsessive compulsive liar’, a lady that stalked her (Zahra) when she first got married to Mustapha.
Top among her sympathizers and supporters are Oby Ezekwesili, Abike Dabiri and award winning journalist, Funmi Iyanda. Ahmad Salkidae, the Nigerian journalist known to have access to top commanders of the Boko Haram sect also reacted to the story making rounds in media.
2. Abubakar Shekau
Abubakar Shekau, also known by the alias Darul Akeem wa Zamunda Tawheed, was born in Shekau village that borders Niger. His actual age remains unknown as the U.S. State Department has Shekau’s year of birth listed as 1965, 1969 and 1975. (Estimates range between 38 and 49) CNN reported. He studied under a cleric and then attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies for higher studies in Islam.
Shekau, who is the leader of deadly Islamic sect, Boko Haram is the most wanted man in the history of Nigeria. He is the face of terror. A ruthless leader with a twisted ideology. And the sadistic architect of a campaign of mayhem and misery. He operates in the shadows, leaving his underlings to orchestrate his repulsive mandates. He resurfaces every once in a while in videotaped messages to mock the impotence of the Nigerian military. And he uses his faith to recruit the impressionable and the disenfranchised to his cause.
The Nigerian Army had touted Shekau’s death several times, only to retract its claim after he appeared alive and vibrant in propaganda videos. On the other hand, in videos Shekau posted online, he boasted often about his invincibility; mocked various armies; and stated that he “cannot be stopped” and “cannot die except by the will of Allah”. He also boasted of being in possession of armored tanks and other combat vehicles. He took credit for the kidnapping of over 200 school girls from Chibok, Borno State in April 2014.
Shekau was reported killed in 2009 but reappeared as the group leader less than a year later. The Nigerian Army also stated that it had killed him during the 2014 Battle of Kodunga that lasted from September 12 to 14th. The Cameroonian military posted a photo and also claimed that their forces killed Shekau in September 2014. However, in early October 2014, a video was obtained by AFP news agency that showed Shekau alive, in which he mocked the Nigerian military’s allegations that he had been killed.
In August 2015, an audio message emerged of the said-dead Shekau, in which he denied he has been replaced. He stated this following an earlier statement made by Chadian president Deby that he had been replaced. In the eight-minute recording, Shekau mocked a statement by the President Muhammadu Buhari that Boko Haram would be eliminated within three months.
The audio message sent chills down the spin of most Nigerians, even security analyst Ryan Cummings commented, “Is this his fourth or fifth death? He dies more often than an iPhone battery.” It should be noted that the insurgents in its 2015 campaign, succeeded in killing over 4,780 Nigerians, and has ceased the lives of more than 30,000 innocent civilians since its inception.
1. Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR was born on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, to his father Adamu and mother Zulaihat. He is the twenty-third child of his father. Following the death of his father, Buhari was raised by his mother when he was about four years old. He attended primary school in Daura and Mai’adua before proceeding to Katsina Model School in 1953, and to Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956 to 1961. He then enrolled in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1961.
Buhari, who is the current President of Nigeria, was a retired Nigerian Army major general and was Head of State of Nigeria from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d’état.
In spite of three defeats he experienced in the last three elections (2003, 2007 and 2011), Buhari, who proved the odds that he is not a quitter, achieved a historic victory in the 28 March presidential election, becoming the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent.
Prior to the 2015 general elections, there were clamor and consternation over the inability of Buhari to be produce his Secondary School leaving Certificate. The certificate issue became a saga after the Nigerian army which claimed it had the certificate later retracted its statement saying the certificate was not in its possession.
Later on, the Army found the missing certificate which had raised contention as to the eligibility of Gen Mohammadu Buhari to contest the presidential election. The APC then released a statement on its Facebook page alleging that someone from the Peoples Democratic Party must have hid Buhari’s certificate in order to bar him from contesting the presidential poll.
Despite the global buzz, Nigerians appeared to have been more fascinated by the stories surrounding President Buhari, as he was named one of the most searched Nigerians in the year 2015 alongside Muna Obiekwe.
1. Muna Obiekwe
Muna Obiekwe was one of the most talented actors in Nigeria. The Enugu based Nollywood star has featured in dozens of movies including Men in Love, Songs of Sorrows, Wasted Effort, My Best Friend, etc. In the drama Men in Love dating back to 2010 he played a gay man. The film was harshly criticized as many alleged that it was popularizing the ideas of h0m0sexuality in Nigeria.
Muna, who was married with 2 children, was also the first cousin of Yul Edochie that made him a member of Pete Edochie’s family. On January 18, 2015, the Nigerian entertainment industry got bereaved as one of its own, actor Muna Obiekwe got snatched by the cold hands of death. News of Muna’s death threw Nollywood industry in a state of mourn as the Internet went abuzz in pandemonium, but after series of investigation, Nigerians finally accepted their fate that he has passed on.
The misunderstanding was not unconnected with the tweet allegedly posted by the actor himself on a Twitter handle, @MunaObiekwe, that he was still hale and hearty. Soon the indications emerged that the mentioned Twitter account was fake.
More controversy emerged following his death, The Nation reported that Muna had been battling renal related ailment but had kept it secret for a long time before informing Ibinabo Fiberesima. Unconfirmed reports said that the late actor needed only N50k for dialysis per day and he allegedly could not afford this. He was buried on 3rd February 2015 at his home town Umudioka in Anambra state.
We celebrate you Muna! May your gentle soul rest in the bosom of the Lord.