Forget what you’ve heard, Nigeria is a jungle and the shame is ours
ANA owing young writer
Every time this country fails a young person, something small dies in all of us. So we found it rather distressing when president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Denja Abdullahi meted out such cruel and unusual treatment to Ernest O. Ògúnyemí, a budding writer whose only sin was winning a prose prize for young writers organized by the ANA. After his win in 2018, a then 18-year-old Ògúnyemí tried unsuccessfully to claim his 100,000 Naira prize money. Abdullahi showed bad faith by threatening and intimidating the young, upcoming writer. What does this say about us though?
Glory Osei’s lengthy Twitter tirade
Twitter was shook to its core when allegations of shady business practices, scam deals and undignifying treatment of staff began to emerge across several business operated by Divergent Enterprises, the company set up and run by Glory Osei and Muyiwa Folorunsho. The picture that emerged was a workspace culture so toxic, self-respecting persons had no business existing there. Osei showed not a bit of remorse for being caught out there and her crisis handling strategy was to go on a lengthy self-serving Twitter tirade that showed no remorse, no empathy and no learning. What a jungle.
Nativeland’s messy unraveling
One of the key stops in the lengthy December concert calendar, Nativeland built a reputation in three years as the go to showcase for the best of alternative sounds. This year it all went haywire and everything that could go wrong did. The organization was shoddy, security was overwhelmed, guests were attacked. Phones went missing and the VIP stage eventually collapsed with multiple people sustaining injuries for their efforts. The organizers’ initial response was worse still. Showing no sensitivity, little empathy and a desperate insistence on avoiding responsibility. Only in Nigeria?
Davido’s jungle justice
It seems like there is a fresh Davido controversy every year. This time, two young women chasing clout on the internet streets accused pop singer Davido of impregnating one of them. Their post soon went viral and an expectant father Davido pledged to deal with them. He followed through with this promise when his hype man uploaded a video of both girls in handcuffs on the receiving end of threats of violence. Proof that wealth and privilege can buy you the right to enforce the law as it suits you.
The church and Biodun Fatoyinbo
This paper started an avalanche via an emotional interview with Busola Dakolo where she accused Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of the trendy Commonwealth of Zion Assembly of raping her repeatedly when she was a teenager. Other women came forward and YNaija was on top of the story, pursuing it to wherever it would lead. While some pastors chose to stay on the side of truth and justice, distancing themselves from Fatoyinbo, other high-profile men of God, ranging from fencists to downright enablers were less than forthcoming, The Shame.
Xenophobia ‘reprisal’ attacks
In response to reports of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians coming in from South Africa, mobs of people mobilized themselves and decided to retaliate by attacking businesses and brands with any relation to South Africa. This is of course a misleading explanation as Nigerian businesses with the misfortune of sharing physical space with popular South African franchises like Shoprite and MTN were burgled, with property destroyed or carted away. It was a show of shame and mobs broke into shops stealing, pilfering and looting from their compatriots with no rhyme or method to the madness.
The people vs SARS
The impunity of police brutality came to a head this year with the senseless murder of Kolade Johnson, a young football fan. Johnson’s life was terminated after he was hit by a stray bullet from officers of the Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) – a branch of SARS. The officers were trying to disperse a crowd during an operation to arrest another suspect. The killing sparked public outrage and renewed opposition to the police units that have become synonymous with brutality, extra-judicial killings, extortion and impunity. The trigger happy officer, Ogunyemi Olalekan has been arrested but the SARS menace has continued unabated.
Presidency has no idea what rule of law means
Muhammadu Buhari won a decisive second term victory at the polls this year and perhaps his presidency did some things right. But all of it was overshadowed by the governments casual disregard of the rule of law as well as disrespect for the human rights of the citizens it was elected to protect and defend. Weeks to the elections, Buhari suspended Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, a mere 15 days after allegations of impropriety were lodged against him. A successor was soon announced. Then there is the utter disgrace of the Omoyele Sowore matter.
FGN vs Omoyele Sowore
In a direct and revolting attack on human rights, free speech and the rule of law, officials of the Department of State Security (DSS) violated the sanctity of the courts when they swooped in in dramatic fashion to re-arrest journalist, political activist and former presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore hours after he was freed on bail. Sowore is detained for calling for a nationwide demonstration against President Muhammadu Buhari and is charged with treason, money laundering and cyberstalking the President.
The killing of PDP women leader
The spate of election violence took an ugly, barbaric turn when Salome Abuh, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women leader of Ochadamu Ward in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State was murdered in cold blood. Political thugs set her home ablaze while she was asleep inside and her remains were burnt beyond recognition. Five days after the incident, President Buhari ordered a “scrupulous investigation of the murder.”
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.