Nigeria Twitter community was abuzz with several stories last year, stories that united and divided netizens in laughter, shock, celebration, fear and of course grief.
From #NigeriaDecides to COZA pastor’s rape scandal, #EndSARS, the unfortunate xenophobic attacks in South Africa and suicide, WuzupNigeria has selected the top eight defining moments and memories on Twitter Nigeria in 2019.
Here are our Top eight Twitter stories/trends of 2019:
1. COZA Rape Scandal: Fatoyinbo vs The Dakolos:
Twitter Nigeria was taken by a storm in May and June this year over rape allegation against the Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) Biodun Fatoyinbo.
Timi Dakolo had in May posted a subliminal tweet which was obviously implied that Fatoyinbo had been molesting young girls.
A month after, when we thought the dust raised by his shade had subsided, his photographer wife, Busola, in an interview with YNaija broke the table when she alleged that she was raped at 17 by Fatoyinbo in her father’s house while his church was still in Ilorin, Kwara state before he relocated to Abuja.
Twitter boiled in rage. Anger exchanged hands, several clerics and celebrities also aired their opinion. Pastor Enoch Adeboye, who is always silent on public debates, was also forced to react.
The following Sunday was not so rosy at COZA in Lagos and Abuja as protesters stormed the church to demand Fatoyinbo’s prosecution and also called on him to step down as Senior Pastor of COZA for investigation.
Fatoyinbo stepped down, the church’s annual convention was suspended, the Dakolos filed a lawsuit. The police invited the accused and the accuser for questioning.
In November, a High Court of the FCT in Abuja struck out Dakolo’s case, but the celebrity photographer has promised to appeal.
The #EndSARS advocacy which gained momentum in 2016 is far from over, gory incidents of indiscriminate killings and harassment of innocent youths have shown.
In this year alone, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) sent sorrow and grief into many homes, as expected outrage trailed the reported incidents but we doubt if that will mark the end of police brutality and notoriety.
Prominent among some of police extrajudicial killings that sparked outrage in 2019 are killing if Kolade Johnson at a viewing center in Mangoro Lagos by SACS operatives in March and the killing of a 20-year-old lady identified as Ada by some policemen in Ajegunle area of Lagos in April.
While the policemen have been dismissed from the force, their cases are believed to be ongoing at different courts in Lagos.
3. Suicide, Suicide, Suicide everywhere:
Reports of young people taking their own lives gained a lot of prominence in 2019. From drinking deadly insecticide, Sniper, to jumping off the third mainland bridge into Lagos lagoon, suicide had a field day mostly among young Nigerians in 2019.
Prominent among the suicide cases in 2019 is Michael Arowosaye, a gospel minister who committed suicide in Abuja.
Nigerians on social media received a shocker very late on Friday 16th August after reports filtered in from the United States that Forbes magazine-celebrated young billionaire Obinwanne Okeke has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for wire fraud valued at over $11 million.
Invictus Obi as he is popularly called is the founder of Invictus Group of Companies, an investment conglomerate dealing in construction, agriculture, oil and gas, renewable energy, telecoms, and real estate. He became a continental sensation in 2016 when, at 28, he was named in Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list and was featured in the magazine’s June cover. But it looks like all that has been a hoax with his arrest by the FBI revealing that he could be nothing more than a fraudster. He is presently remanded in a prison in the US.
A week after, 77 Nigerians were indicted and arrested by a US Federal Grand Jury on August 22, 2019, for their involvement in massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) scams, romance scams and other fraudulent schemes. The FBI has already arrested many of these persons while the remaining suspects are believed to be at large, in Nigeria and elsewhere.
It wasn’t a good year for Nigeria’s image and for Nigerians in diaspora, we doubt if it was the best for them to be identified as a Nigerian.
5. Naira Marley
This time last year, the name Afeez Fashola may not strike many as a name to reckon with, not even the mention of Naira Marley would ring a bell to many Nigerians on social media. Today, Naira Marley is one of the most mentioned names on social media, that is the power of social media. No publicity is bad publicity, Donald Trump once said, and that seems to be absolutely correct, putting Naira Marley’s rise to fame into cognizance.
He was relatively living in obscurity until he court controversy with his faceoff with Simi, after he claimed the singer snubbed him at an event in Lagos following his comment on Yahoo Yahoo. During an Instagram live session in April, he also urged Nigerians to pray for internet fraudsters (Yahoo boys) “as they are crucial to the circulation of money in the economy.”
He then went ahead to release ‘Am I A Yahoo Boy?’
His comments and song sparked controversial debates on social media with many celebrities and Nigerians lambasting him for justifying fraud.
EFCC operatives raided Naira Marley’s Lekki apartment on Friday, May 10 which happened to be his birthday and arrested him, Zlatan Ibile and three others. He was arraigned, remanded and freed and still standing trial for fraud. Since he returned from prison he has been enmeshed in one controversy or the other.
He wasn’t going to let that frenzy that followed his arrest go without taking advantage, he rode on it and today he is still relevant with his controversial lifestyle, releasing controversial songs – ‘Soapy’, ‘Puta’, ‘Mafo’, ‘Opotoyi’, which many say promote immorality.
Well, immoral or not, Naira Marley seems to be here to stay with the cult-like followership – the Marlians – he enjoys online and offline.
6. Xenophobic Attacks
Xenophobic attacks may not be new in South Africa, but it took a horrible dimension this year, escalating beyond the borders of the country.
The August 2019 attacks were fuelled by fake news about a foreign national who shot dead a South African cab driver who stopped him from selling drugs to some South African kids.
The South African nationals were said to have assumed the killer was a Nigerian, an assumption that turned out false. They started attacking Nigerians and gory videos of people being burnt in the country posted on social media sparked retaliatory attacks on South African-owned businesses in other African countries and boycott of other activities in the country.
The Federal Government in partnership with Air Peace, which volunteered to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa, have since brought back hundreds of its citizens to Nigeria.
How can we forget how the xenophobic attacks also sparked a rivalry between Nigerian artistes and South African rapper AKA Worldwide.
About five months after the social media war between AKA and Ycee, Burna Boy, the South African rapper and Burna are still at loggerheads.
7. #SexforGrades: BBC Documentary
Monday 7th October 2019, a day the Nigerian Twitter community was shaken to its root following the release of BBC Africa Eye investigative documentary on sexual harassment on campuses in West Africa dubbed ‘Sex for grades’.
The report sent chills down the spines of many, it looked like a movie scene, many couldn’t believe men in their 50s could be soliciting sex from undercover reporters who posed as teenage admission seekers.
The University of Lagos and the University of Ghana were singled out for the investigation which brought down some lecturers notorious for demanding sex from students in exchange for marks.
As expected, the report gave many the confidence they’ve been yearning to share their tales of sexual harassment.
#SexForGrades was a trending topic on Twitter for several days, the revelations and uproar were alarming.
8. #NigeriaDecides: 2019 Elections
Lastly on WuzupNigeria’s list of 2019 top Twitter NG trends is the 2019 general elections – #NigeriaDecides.
Drama, frenzy, and panic heralded the election, it pitched many friends against each other, put asunder among family members over support for different candidates and political parties.
Election period in Nigeria is not a beautiful scene to behold, from violence to vote-buying and malpractices, the 2019 election was definitely not the best the nation could boast of.
Winners emerged and the Supreme Court has since given judgement in several cases challenging winners from the Presidential election to governorship elections. At the Senate, House of Representatives and State Assembly levels, many have also known their fates.
The 2019 election also set a new precedent in the history of electioneering in Nigeria.
In Zamfara State, the Supreme Court sacked all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had all won the general election and declared the first runners-up in the elections in the state as the winners of all the posts earlier declared to have been won by the APC and their candidates.
The APC, following unresolved crisis, lost the Governorship seat, NASS seats and all seats in the State Assembly to the PDP except one won by the National Rescue Movement (NRM).
In Rivers, the Supreme Court also sacked all APC candidates a few weeks before the election. It’s unprecedented in the history of elections in Nigeria.
New records were set in 2019.
Some Governors who could not get the APC ticket for their preferred candidates also fielded the candidates in other political parties – Ogun, Imo, Ondo are good examples. Some of the candidates have since returned to their party – APC.
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