The Biggest Events Of 2018
It is no news that each year comes with its own uniqueness. The Year 2018 is one of Nigeria’s most dramatic and insightful year. Not only did we see Nigerians prove their resilience by pushing through international boundaries, her people became more aware of her realities, especially as a definer for the Year 2019.
Guardian Life took a look at some events that shaped the outgoing year in different sectors.
Electoral Amendment Bill
The non-signing of the 2018 Electoral Amendment Bill was a battle on all fronts as President Buhari refused to assent to the bill for the fourth time.
After rejecting the electoral bill three times, the Nigerian National Assembly went back to the drawing board to tweak the copy to ensure that it is better than the previously submitted bill and sent another one on November 7 for the president’s approval by December 6.
The bill, Nigerians and the National Assembly hoped, will allow for the electronic transmission of votes from the ward to the state level. To make it more accessible, the bill contained a clause which will enable the use of smart card readers.
Aside from the other regulations included in the bill, it was celebrated as the Nigerian man’s hope of ensuring that INEC organises a transparent election especially the 2019 general elections.
The president speaking on why he rejected it explained that the requesting that he approves the bill was almost impossible because the 2019 elections are closing in and it “could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the elections may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process”, he added.
For a bill which Senate president Bukola Saraki said they have been working on since 2016 to avoid “electoral controversies”, this rejection left members of the public divided.
Nigeria was thrown into darkness when about 111 girls of Government Girls Science and Technology College were kidnapped from their secondary school hostels in Dapchi, Yobe State on the 19th of February.
A little less than four years ago, 276 girls were abducted from their boarding school in Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. This kidnap triggered the global @BringBackOurGirls campaign and exposed the government’s security approach.
Unlike the Chibok girls saga, the girls were released a little over a month after they were abducted. However, five of them died on their way to Dapchi. Despite these, one girl was left behind: Leah Sharibu.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government promised to do “everything in our power” to reunite her with her family, she is yet to be with her family 10 months later.
With the 2019 elections closing in, it is obvious that Leah’s plea “with… the government and the president to have pity for me and save me from my situation”, has been put in the unending log of things to do if re-elected.
President Buhari’s Booing At The National Assembly
The members of the opposition in the National Assembly passed a vote of no confidence on the President Muhammadu Buhari by booing him while he was presenting the 2019 budget.
He was, however, quick to tell them that, “the world is watching”.
Ironically, he did not recognise that “the world” did not see the president walk into the House and not bow before the Mace, a customary act of respect that every president performs.
This singular act, some Nigerians said on social media, is a mockery of the “Federalism” Nigeria prides itself to be. It is a sign that the president is supreme and perhaps precedence for future leaders to the same without sanctions or consequence.
Also, there were suggestions they booed and called him a liar because he made assertions taking credit for projects that the past administration had done.
In a country where the leader seems to be in the dark about projects and achievements, he comfortably stood and read out projects he had “completed.”
To make matters worse, when he talked about how they have overcome the corruption in the country, opposition lawmakers could be heard asking, “What corruption?” before his supporters drowned their voices.
With the administration blamed for making Nigeria the “poverty capital of the world”, ranking 148 out of 180 in the Global Corruption Index and becoming the third most impacted country in terrorism, there are questions of whether the president knows of how he is running his own government.
This expression of righteous indignation and disapproval by the house hopefully will not be a ruse come 2019 election where they will decide who will read the next budget, a “clueless euphoric corruptless saint” or an “informed, respectful realistic human being.”
The Year of Burna!
Without a doubt and by any measuring standard, Damini Ogulu better known by his stage name Burna Boy had an amazing year. To this effect, fans have dubbed 2018 “the Year of Burna” because he achieved unparalleled success which started with the launch of his album Outside. Some of the album’s tracks like “Heaven’s Gate”, “Ye”, “Koni Baje” and others quickly became fan favourites.
As his wave of success continued international celebrities including Kourtney Kardashian and Rihanna identified with his music by posting videos of themselves enjoying the rhythm and melody of his songs. Another boost came after Kanye West titled his album Ye which happened to be the same title for one of Burna Boy’s biggest tracks on the Outside album. Inevitably, Kanye fans ended up seeing Burna’s song in the search results, listened and fell in love with his sound.
He went on to sell out the 02 Academy, Brixton for a concert in London which proved that the artist was truly going global. The show kicked off with insane energy where the intro clip started playing to Burna Boy driving unto the stage in his getaway car. From beginning to end, Burna matched the crowd’s energy, and delivered several of his hits back to back, with performances by Kida Kudz, Nissi, Rebecca Garton, Not3s, and Four of Diamonds in between sets.
One of the show’s most defining moments was when the instruments went off and Burna performed excitedly to the crowd singing Ye acapella. The Life on the Outside UK tour took Burna Boy to seven UK cities.
And just when we thought it was over in October, he lit up Times Square as YouTube’s artist of the month, an honour reserved for musicians around the world who have done remarkably well and delivered consistent hits and this further exposed his music to a broader audience.
The emergence of Teni the entertainer
Teni’s entry into the music scene started in 2016 with covers, freestyles and comedy that quickly amassed likes from Instagram followers. By the time she released her first commercial freestyle, Boluwatife, Teni had stamped her name among fast-rising stars in the music industry.
2018 proved to be a defining year for the artiste whose clothing consists of du-rag, loose clothing, bubbly personality and shades which are in contrast to her thrilling voice.
As if that was not enough, the focus on her clothing in the popular podcast Loose Talk by Osagie Alonge got the attention of people who did not otherwise know her.
With the release of Fargin, Askamaya, Case and an appearance in The Fader magazine, Teni has shown to the world what it means to maintain originality and consistency.
To put it succinctly in the words of The Guardian Nigeria contributor Joey Akan,
“Teni represents… growth in our music industry. Her emergence ensures that our music industry conveyor belt keeps spinning. It mandates that our culture stays alive and truly ahead.
“Her emergence feels like a reward to everyone who consumes and cares about Nigerian art.”
CBN And The Naira
The Central Bank of Nigeria has made efforts this year to stabilise Nigeria’s Naira.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) economic report for Third Quarter 2018, a total of $11.88 billion (N4,330,260,000,000) was sold to authorised dealers alone. This represented a 24 per cent increase above the levels in the preceding quarter, which was $9.03 billion.
However, the interventions left a deep hole in the reserves of the country. According to the report, gross external reserves was down by 9.6 per cent below the previous quarter at $42.61 billion (N15,531,345,000,000) at the end of September 2018.
A breakdown of the official external reserves by ownership showed that CBN reserves stood at $35.05 billion (N12,775,725,000,000) (82.3 percent), Federal Government reserves, $5.29 billion (N1,928,205,000,000) (12.4 percent) and the federation reserves, $2.26 (N3,291,435,000,000) billion.
As at the 18th of December, Nigeria’s external reserve was $43,084,864,561 (N15,704,433,132,484). The foreign exchange reserves in Nigeria has reached an all-time high of 62081.86 USD Million in September 2008.
Unemployment And The Nigerian Economy
There is no doubt that Nigeria’s economy is still recovering from a harsh recession that plunged the country into despair. During that recession, many SMEs closed shops, big farms shredded part of their workforces and aspiring entrepreneurs found it difficult to set up a new business.
The grime situation reflected in the last job figures released in Q3 of 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). At that time, the unemployment rate in Nigeria has put at 18.80 per cent an increase of 2.60 per cent in the figure for Q2 of the same year.
A year later, the statistics office said it was not able to present regular job figures because it was broke. “The work can’t be completed due to budgetary releases”, Yani Kale, who heads NBS said on November 13.
When the latest was eventually released a month after Kale’s comment, there was nothing to cheer. In fact, the figures showed what people feared: Nigeria’s unemployment rate was spiralling higher.
With 20.9 million people(that is 23.1 per cent of Nigeria’s workforce) out of job, the economy is the worse for it.
But the government said the latest figures were not a true reflection of its achievement in the agricultural sector, where it claimed about 12 million jobs have been created.
“The Presidency may want to discredit the latest job figures released by NBS but the truth is that the truth is that the APC came into power on the back of promises, which included massive job creation. That promise has not been kept”, Online Editor, The Guardian Nigeria.