Year 2016 has been an eventful one, with discoveries and surprises, victories and speeches and everything in between. Nigerians can relate to these ten highlights that got trending on the internet this year.
1. THE DISCOVERY OF OLAJUMOKE ORISAGUNA
In February, Olajumoke Orisaguna was the most searched name on Google and carried on lots of media and news agencies including CNN. This was after she featured on THISDay Style cover page, having photobombed into TY Bello’s shot of Tinie Tempah, poised in a red dress and with her tray of bread sitting perfectly on her head.
Since this most gracious discovery, Jumoke has signed up as a model for various top brands and agencies and enrolled in an etiquette school amongst other treats. In September, she began working on an art project with TY Bello.[separator type=”thin”]
2. THE #BUYNAIJATOGROWTHENAIRA HASHTAG
This social media campaign to boost the nation’s economy by buying locally made products was started by Senator Ben Bruce in mid-February. Local manufacturers in their numbers had their products tweeted and shared on Twitter and Facebook respectively, using the hashtag.
Names which trolled the media included Innoson Motors, Arik Air flights, NASCO Cornflakes, Aba-made goods, tea from Taraba and the Governor of Bauchi State tweets for holidaying at the Yankari instead of Dubai or London.[separator type=”thin”]
3. THE HYPERREALISTIC PAINTINGS OF ORESEGUN OLUMIDE
When pictures of the works Oresegun Olumide started going viral in March, people found it hard to accept that they were really a hand-painted work of art. This year, he was one of Nigeria’s artists to gain huge traction and followership on his social media handles for his beautifully painted hyperrealistic works, some of which portrayed children playing with water, amongst others. Each work, according to an interview with CNN, can take from two to three weeks or sometimes, a couple of months.[separator type=”thin”]
4. MARK ZUCKERBERG’S VISIT TO NIGERIA
CEO and Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, made his first visit to Lagos, Nigeria on the 30th of August, 2016. During his visit, he met in with the team at the Co-Creation Hub and Andela, held a meeting with top developers in the country and also met with Nollywood. In what could be termed a second visit on the 2nd of September, he left Kenya to attend the Aso Villa Day Finale which was being held in Abuja, and was hosted by President Buhari and members of his cabinet at the Presidential Villa.[separator type=”thin”]
5. OVER A DOZEN MEDALS WON BY NIGERIAN ATHLETES
In the month of September, eight gold medals, two silver, and two bronze saw Nigeria’s special athletes as the number one African team at the 2016 Paralympics. Their victories took Nigeria from her 22nd position at Sydney 2000 to the 16th.
What’s more? For the 8th time, Nigeria’s Super Falcons have held the AWCON trophy, with Desire Oparanozie’s strike earning the Falcons a victory over Cameroon’s Lionesses. This victory was earned on December 3rd.[separator type=”thin”]
6. FMR GOVERNOR PETER OBI’S SPEECH
The speech of former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, at The Platform, was the most remarkable speech given on Nigeria’s 2016 Independence Day. Mr Obi emphasized the need to cut the cost of governance, recalling how he cut costs during his tenure. He suggested scrapping the office of State First Ladies, reducing the number of cars on governors’ convoys and curtailing lavish visits to governor’s houses amongst others.[separator type=”thin”]
7. THE ESSAYS OF CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
Adichie has made it to the screens more than a few times this year. Notable times include her BBC Newsnight debate with Emmett Tyrrell on the US 2016 Election, as Face of British beauty brand Boots No7, and a collection of essays. Widely read essays include one of the four tributes to Michelle Obama- To the First Lady, With Love; on President Buhari’s tenure titled Nigeria’s Failed Promises and Dear Ijeawele.
Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is an open letter to Ijeawele on 15 ways to raise her feminist daughter, Chizalum in which all suggestions point to the fact that a woman matters because she matters equally and not ‘if only’ or ‘as long as’. Chimamanda Adichie is Nigeria’s most influential novelist; she’s the author of Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah and is loved or criticized for her stand on feminism.[separator type=”thin”]
8. #THEOTHERROOM OF PRESIDENT AND MRS BUHARI
Just when BBC-Hausa’s interview with The First Lady, Aisha Buhari was about to hit the viral mark, the reaction of President Buhari to his wife’s criticism about his leadership got the internet agog with both critical and comic reactions. The First Lady had taken to the media to complain that at the pace at which the nation was going, she would not support her husband in the next elections. To this, the President gave a mock response, “I do not know which party my wife belongs to, but I know she belongs to my kitchen, my living room, and the other room.”
He gave this response during his visit to Germany, while he stood next to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Though this is seen as a disappointing depiction of women’s role in today’s society, #TheOtherRoom has become a hashtag with a new meaning.[separator type=”thin”]
9. AMERICAN POLITICS: THE PROFESSOR, PROPHETS, AND PEOPLE
All the talk this year about the American elections was anything but much ado about nothing. With a considerable number of Nigerians living in the States, we had good reason to be concerned with whom the next POTUS would be. But with Mr Trump’s unforeseen victory, prophecies became void, professed vows met shocking surprises, and the people of Nigeria were in all these entertained.[separator type=”thin”]
10. THE BOOMING BUSINESS OF MMM
Of the few cases that offer an alternative for maintaining a liberal ground, investment schemes are one. Little wonder the MMM scheme has supporters and opponents arguing ferociously for their positions and against the other from differing (and opposing) ends. And just as they are passionate about recruiting new members, the MMM community passionately defend themselves as a community that offers help to each other against those who oppose the network as a robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul scam that is soon to collapse.
MMM does not operate totally as a multilevel market and members get a fantastic 30% return on investment for every monthly deposit. Active members also have more to benefit, referral and guider bonuses, which keep them recruiting as much as they can. On their website, a warning clearly states that “…if you follow all of the instructions, you still may “lose”. “Win” might not be paid. Without any reasons or explanations. And in general, you can lose all your money…”
On the 13th of December, the MMM Nigeria website announced the freezing of accounts but promised to be back by the 14th of January 2017.
Though MMM seems to be the most prominent, with the website being the among the top 5 visited online sites in Nigeria in just one year of its commencement, other investment schemes (like ‘Ultimate Cycler’ which offers a ₦50,000 ROI for a ₦12,500 deposit) have also flooded the media, sucking up the masses in a country grappling with recession.