Some of the 10 stories that made up this list were tragic and demand our collective sober reflection while some just made us laugh out loud. Either way, we recall 2017’s most scandalous moments.
- Mercy Aigbe and hubby air filthy laundry
Nollywood actress Mercy Aigbe’s seven year marriage to Asiwaju Larry Gentry collapsed spectacularly amidst allegations of battery, domestic violence and infidelity. Their he said-she said was messy and played out shamelessly in blogs and tabloid columns. He said she cheated, severally. She said he beat her up, continuously. She had pictures to prove. He didn’t. She left the home, he slept in prison. She got a restriction order and the Lagos state government stepped in somehow. No reason for them to put us through all that, come to think of it.
- Dammy Krane’s own goal
Pop star, Dammy Krane was embroiled in an identity scam in June when he was arrested in the United States. A private jet service company, TapJets, had alerted the US police that the singer made a booking totaling $10,943 using stolen credit card details. Dammy Krane was detained at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center before making bail. However, a Circuit Judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, in the Criminal Division later discharged Mr Krane of all charges, facilitating his return to Nigeria. What he did next? Pick up beefs with fellow musicians, Orezi and Tekno.
- Sex and the Senator
The Senator representing Yobe East senatorial district, Bukar Abba Ibrahim was in the news, not for any sound lawmaking, but on account of his sexcapades, via a grainy video detailing his encounter with two young ladies who were filming their encounter. Ibrahim who was a nonperforming Governor of Yobe back when a controversial Sharia bill was signed into law, and is husband to a serving minister, owned up to the video but maintained he had done nothing wrong. And he got away with it. The patriarchy stays winning.
- Aisha Mohammed is Queen of Rosewood
The world may love Aisha Mohammed, present deputy secretary general of the United Nations but according to an advocacy group, Environmental Investigation Agency, Mohammed granted illegal permits to Chinese firms to import endangered species of Nigerian timber during her time as environment minister in the Buhari administration. Investigators reveal that Mohammed signed thousands of retroactive CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permits in January 2017 in her final hours as minister.
- Babachir Lawal, the grass cutter
What kind of human being benefits from human tragedy? Look no further than Babachir Lawal, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Lawal had his appointment terminated after both the Senate ad hoc committee and the Yemi Osinbajo led panel, investigated allegations of violations of law and due process made against him in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE). He was found complicit twice over. Lawal awarded contracts worth 500million Naira to companies in which he had interests.
- What manner of prophet is Apostle Suleman?
Stephanie Otobo may be a gospel singer now, but in her former life, she was what some would call a stripper. Based in Canada, Otobo apparently carried on a torrid affair with the very married General Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Johnson Suleman. Things fell apart between the two. Otobo went rogue, revealing details of their affair and publishing receipts too. Amidst denials and intimidation, Otobo stuck to her guns, exposing another adulterous affair Johnson reportedly carried on with occasional starlet, Daniella Okeke. This saga had it all; screenshots, pregnancies and drugs.
- Oando shares and the Securities and Exchange Commission
In November, Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun suspended the DG of the (Securities and Exchange Commission) SEC, Munir Gwarzo and two others based on corruption allegations against them. Independent investigations, however, revealed that the ongoing scandal rocking oil firm Oando was the major trigger for the suspension. The SEC had recently directed a technical suspension of Oando shares on the stock market and was set to commence a forensic audit of the oil firm. Oando had recorded increased trading in the company’s shares before declaring a N183 billion loss. Gwarzo accused Adeosun of instructing his office to drop the forensic probe.
- Lopsided recruitment in the DSS
In March, the State Security Service (SSS) commissioned 479 cadet officers following a passing-out parade in Lagos. Investigations showed severe lopsidedness in the composition and posting of these new officers. While each state, in respect to federal character principle was allocated a minimum of five cadets, a state like Katsina, home state of the Director-General got 51 cadets. Kano got 25 while almighty Lagos had to make do with 7. To put in perspective Katsina got more cadets than the entire South East states.
2. Ikoyi flats and ghost money
Acting on a tip-off from a whistleblower, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), discovered $43,449,947 million, £27,800 and N23 million in a private residence on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. After no one came forward to claim the flat in which the monies, said to belong to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Justice Saliu Sadu of a Federal High Court ordered the temporary forfeiture of the flat. The monies have apparently been returned to government.
- Maina gate
The biggest political scandal of the year, humongous enough to take down presidencies in saner climes, has Abdulrasheed Maina right at the centre. Fired from his perch as head of the Presidential Pension Task Scheme in 2013 for absconding from duty, Maina was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for fraudulent activities in the management of pension funds, to the tune of billions of Naira. He managed to wriggle himself back into employment of the civil service and has shown neither remorse nor repatriation. Everyone from the President to the Head of Service has been tainted by this mess.
The writer tweets from @drwill20
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.