By Kemi Olatunde
The year 2022 has come and gone but Nigerians will not forget in a hurry all it dished out to them as it was actually a year that had it all; The Russian invasion of Ukraine alone and its impact on global politics was what was put on the table before the world at the early days of the year. Right from the first day of the year till almost the last day, Nigerians were greeted with mostly negative news with very few positive ones to calm their nerves. On the first of January, 2022, the new year brought before all the death of the late Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Adetunji Aje Oguniso while on January 3, also, a former Oyo State Governor Adebayo Alao – Akala died in Ogbomosho.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on February 14 announced a strike action to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.
However, several meetings between ASUU and the Nigerian government ended in deadlocks for over eight months.
Consequently, the Nigerian government went to National Industrial Court to challenge the strike.
On September 21, the court granted the government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the union approached the Court of Appeal seeking leave to challenge the lower court’s decision. The Court of Appeal subsequently asked the parties to explore the option of an out-of-court settlement.
However, both parties agreed to proceed with the hearing after failing to reach a settlement.
Delivering a ruling at the resumed court session on October 7, the appeal court ordered the union to call off its strike.
The appellate court said ASUU should obey the order of the industrial court before seeking to appeal the judgment.
On Monday, October 17, 2022, the union resumed academic activities.
HEALTH SECTOR’S BRAIN DRAIN
From a decline in cases of COVID-19 to reemerging disease outbreaks, signing the health insurance bill into law and a massive brain drain, the health sector has witnessed many ups and downs.
Nigeria moved from reporting over 5,000 COVID-19 cases weekly to reporting only 77 cases in two weeks as of November 20, 2022. The death toll also fell.
Over 63 million of the total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have been fully vaccinated while over 12 million of the total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have been partially vaccinated so far.
Development partners, including the United States government, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and traditional and religious leaders equally commended the government’s strides in the vaccination rate.
The Ambassador of the US to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said she is confident that Nigeria has laid a firm foundation to minimise morbidity and mortality as a result of COVID-19.
Athletics in Nigeria recorded its best moment in 2022. From the country’s participation at the World Championship in Oregon, USA, to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, it was an unforgettable year for the country.
Top on the list of athletes who made Nigeria the talking point were Tobiloba Amusan and Ese Brume. Amusan, who was named Africa’s Best Female Athlete of the Year 2022 by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), towered above her contemporaries last year
Just when Nigeria’s hope for a medal was fading at the World Championships in Oregon, Amusan produced one of the biggest surprises of the championship, by speeding to a world record 12.12 seconds in the semifinals of the 100m hurdles, following it with a wind-assisted 12.06 seconds in the final to win gold.
A few weeks later, Amusan won gold for Team Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where she also set a record. She took a step further by winning the Diamond League trophy for the second successive season, which made her one of the best in the world and Africa’s undisputed number one in track and field in 2022.
Amusan, a former footballer from Ogun State, will be proud of her unprecedented feat in 2022 despite failing to claim the global accolade of World Female Athlete of the Year, which was won by America’s Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone.
Amusan started 2022 with a successful defence of her African Championships title in Mauritius in early June. Thereafter, she was in Paris, where she improved on her 12.42 seconds African record as she ran 12.41 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Paris.
In Benin City, Edo State, at the 2022 All Nigerian Championships, Amusan effortlessly erased the 12.63 seconds record set in 1997 by Angela Ateda as she won another national title for herself, having run an impressive 12.58 seconds.
Long jumper, Ese Brume, also took Nigeria’s athletics to a new level in 2022. The Delta State-born Brume proved again why she remains the most consistent medal-winning Nigerian athlete in the past few years.
Brume was Nigeria’s only medallist at the World Indoor Championship in Belgrade, where she leapt to a Season Best (SB) of 6.85m to win the silver medal. Doing this, she became Nigeria’s first World Indoor medallist in 14 years since Olusoji Fasuba last won the 60m title in 2008.
At the World Outdoor Championships in Oregon, USA, Brume grabbed a ‘golden’ Silver medal with a brilliant Season Best of 7.02m in the final. In the process, Brume made history as the first African (male or female) to win two long jump medals at the World Championships, in addition to her bronze medal from Doha 2019. She is also the second Nigerian and African woman after Blessing Okagbare to make the long jump podium at the World Championship. Brume capped off her exceptional season at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, as her sixth jump (7.00m) broke the previous Games Record (GR) of 6.99m and in the process regaining her Commonwealth title from 2014.
Brume became the first African woman to jump four legal marks over 7.00m. She hit the 7m twice, jumping 7.02m to finish second in Oregon and her victorious GR mark in Birmingham.
While athletics brought joy to Nigerians in 2022, it was not so for football, as it appeared a case of one step forward and two steps backward. From Super Eagles’ worst outing at the 2022 AFCON in Cameroun, where they crashed out in the round of 16, failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, as well as unimpressive outings at regional football tournaments, Nigeria’s football was nothing to write home about this year.
The failure to qualify for Qatar 2022 World Cup was a major talking point on how the nation’s football deteriorated in 2022. After qualifying for the last three editions of the FIFA World Cup in 2010, 2014 and 2018, many football-loving Nigerians were optimistic that the Super Eagles would join the party to Qatar, which hosted the first World Cup in the middle East.
Their level of optimism followed Super Eagles’ promising start in Group C in the second round of the qualifier, where Nigeria was grouped alongside Cape Verde, Liberia and the Central African Republic (CAR).
With only the first-placed team in each group (of 10) eligible to qualify for the final qualifying round, the Super Eagles finished top of the group with 13 points having won 4, drew 1, and lost 1. That was when the team was handled by the German tactician, Gernot Rohr.
Augustine Eguavoen took over as Super Eagles coach, following outcry by some Nigerians that Rohr’s team was not entertaining enough. The 10 group winners were paired to fight for the five spots allocated to Africa at the World Cup, and the Super Eagles were drawn against familiar foes, Black Stars of Ghana in the final qualifying round.
After a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Cape Coast, Ghana, Eguavoen and ‘the gang’ played out a 1-1 draw in Abuja, thereby, losing the World Cup ticket on away goal rule, having failed to score in Cape Coast.
In 2022, Nigeria’s oil sector was riddled with numerous challenges, most notably the fuel scarcity crises that hit the different parts of the nation and crippled businesses.
In the first half of the year, the country’s oil revenues fell drastically due to a decline in production occasioned by crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism. The situation, exacerbated by the rising crude oil theft, hindered the developmental aspirations of Nigeria, a country heavily dependent on oil revenues to meet its needs.
This year, due to its inability to refine oil locally, Nigeria also spent significant part of its oil revenues on importation of petroleum products and subsidy. The high prices of oil due to the Russia-Ukraine war also increased the landing cost of petrol, increasing subsidy payments.
At the beginning of the year, millions of Nigerians were thrown into chaos amid a scarcity of fuel in petroleum outlets across the country.
As the scarcity continued to bite harder, the government in February said the discovery of high amounts of methanol in imported fuel caused the shortage as authorities tried to replace the off-spec products across the country.
Nigeria suffered its worst floods in 10 years, surpassing the dastardly floods of 2012. Thirty-two of its 36 states were affected.
The floods, a result of heavy rainfalls in short periods attributed to climate change and the opening of Cameroon’s Lagdo dam, led to a humanitarian disaster that took over 600 lives, displaced 1.4 million people and wreaked havoc on businesses and properties.
Thousands of people lost their homes and sources of livelihood to fire disasters in the first three months of last year. While some of the fire outbreaks were a result of negligence on the side of the victims, others were beyond their control. Data compiled from newspaper reports on fire incidents between January and March 2022 showed that 700 shops were burnt and 688 makeshift shops were affected by these fire outbreaks across the country. Oyo: Fire razes 38 shops at Ibadan’s Bodija market On Monday, July 11, 2022, multimillion naira worth of goods was razed by fire in 38 shops at the popular Bodija market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. It was gathered that the goods in the affected shops were completely razed before officers and men of the Oyo State Fire Service could render any help.
On 28 March 2022, an Abuja–Kaduna train was attacked in Katari, Kaduna state. At around 7:45 pm, hundreds of passengers travelling northwards on their way to Nigeria’s northwest were kidnapped in Katari, Kaduna State, while others were killed and injured by bandits who bombed an Abuja-Kaduna train. In response, the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) briefly halted operations along the route.
Zamfara Massacre: Over 140 locals were allegedly killed by bandit kingpin, Bello Turji, and his men in Zamfara State, in January 2022. In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari was outraged and condemned the killings. The locals were said to have been shot and killed when Turji and his men were relocating from Shinkafi forests to another forest near Bukkuyum and Anka Local Government Areas.
Kebbi massacre: On the 8th of March, 2022, bandit gangs carried out two mass shootings in Kebbi State, killing over 80 people.
Plateau State massacre: On 10th. April, 2022, a gang of bandits killed more than 150 people in series of attack in Plateau State. The attacks were linked to the ongoing Nigerian bandit conflict. About 70 people were also kidnapped in the attacks.
The lynching of Deborah Samuel was one of the most tragic events of the year 2022. It was the brutal killing of a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto state who was accused of blasphemy. It was an incident that top major discussions in the polity for several weeks and months as Nigerians, religious leaders, and notable personalities including President Muhammadu Buhari, vice president Yemi Osinbajo condemned the evil act. Samuel, a second-year student of the college, was killed, following an allegation that she had blasphemed Muhammad (SAW), the prophet of Islam.
Ondo State Governor described the terror attack on innocent worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, as a massacre and horrific on June 5, 2022, which was another terrorist attack and a tragic event that hit Nigerians. No fewer than 40 worshippers, including children, were reportedly killed on the church premises after Sunday service by the rampaging gunmen. They were said to have operated unchallenged by security agents for about 30 minutes. The state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu cried openly as he designated a memorial park in honour of the victims, stressing that the killers had blood on their hands.
Murder of Bamise Ayanwole
Bamise Ayanwola, was a 22-year-old fashion designer who was found dead after boarding a bus belonging to the Bus Rapid Transport scheme, in February. Her body was found at Carter Bridge after she entered the BRT bus from Chevron Bus Stop in Lekki heading to Oshodi, Lagos state in February. Her death shook Nigeria and spark calls for justice.
2022 began with news that Nigerian music duo,Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye,of the musical group P-Square had settled their differences and were coming back together as a group,after pursuing individual music careers for more than four years.
TEMS WON TWO BET AWARDS
In June 2022, Tems snagged three nominations for the BET Awards and ended up going home with two of them. This fast-rising singer, songwriter, and producer was nominated for Best Collaboration with Justin Bieber and Wizkid, Best International Act, and Best New Artist. Tems won the Best Collaboration and Best International Act categories in one night.
WIZKID SOLD OUT THE MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
What a way to show the world that it’s Afrobeats time! In November, the Afrobeats heavyweight performed to a full MSG, thrilling fans with hits from his latest album “More Love, Less Ego“, as well as taking fans down memory lane to where it all started over a decade ago.
REVERSAL OF TWITTER BAN
2022 got off to a great start as the Nigerian government called off its ban on Twitter. The social media platform was suspended from operating in the country two days after a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account was deleted on June 2, 2021. This led to a 7-month Twitter ban lasting from June 4, 2021, to January 13, 2022.
Revealing the reasons for the reversal of the ban, the federal government stated that the social media platform had agreed to meet all its conditions, including “legal registration of operations, taxation, and managing prohibited publications in line with Nigerian laws”.
On December 15, new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes were injected into circulation. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with the approval of the president, had implemented currency redesign of the three notes.
The apex bank made known its decision to redesign the notes in an earlier announcement on October 26, and on November 23, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new banknotes.
The new notes will be used simultaneously with the old notes until January 31, 2023, when the latter ceased to be legal tender.
There are also several other remarkable events such as the Kuje prison break by some gunmen where over 600 inmates were freed, the attack on the President Buhari’s advance convoy deployed ahead of his trip to Daura, Katsina State for sallar celebration by bandit and NANS’ ASUU strike protest which grounded activities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja, conferment of national honours on 447 individuals in Abuja in September 19 among others.