Ready. Steady. Fight.
2017 was a year all its own, for the quality, duration and diversity of brawlers who took their private squabbles into the public and on to the Internet. From accusations of infidelity, political squabblings and domestic drama, Nigerians showed us this year that we fight long and we fight petty.
- Apostle Johnson Suleman vs Stephanie Otobo
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, detailing 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 blackmail.
- Abdullahi Ganduje vs Emir Sanusi
The battle between Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and his former godfather Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso played out on another level, between Ganduje and the fiercely independent Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II. This battle royale culminated in an investigation by the Kano state Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Agency (KSPCACA) over an alleged misappropriation of around N5billion by the Emir. The beef only came to some resolution after some Governors led by Sokoto state’s Tambuwal intervened.
- Oba Rilwan Akiolu vs Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi
In a video clip that went viral on social media, the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu was seen responding dismissively to the Ooni of Ife after the Ooni had gone out of his way to pay his respects to him. Oba Akiolu, famous for unguarded and divisive statements later through a spokesperson, publicly dismissed any rumours of a beef. He explained it away as his attempt to bring back the ancient culture of responding to greetings. Nobody bought any of it.
- Dino Melaye vs Yahaya Bello
Disputes between governors and senators are part of the courses in politics, especially when one party is looking to unseat the other in the future. The feud between Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello and Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West district is quite fascinating in that barely a year ago, both were best friends. Melaye has criticised the Governor’s dismal leadership record and accused the Governor of staging an attempt on his life. Bello has fought back, allegedly sponsoring a foiled recall process.
- Game over for Psquare
Nigeria’s biggest music duo, Psquare finally called it quits after many previous attempts had fallen through and various reconciliation efforts yielded no positive results. Peter Okoye, who is now known as Mr P, demanded for a termination of the agreement as a group, citing lack of cooperation and irreconcilable differences with both Paul and their elder brother Jude. They have listed some of their joint properties for sale and both brothers have kicked off solo careers.
- Nnamdi Kanu vs the Federal Government of Nigeria
The lightning rod leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was released in 2017 on bail and not long after continued his calls for the process of secession of the entire South East, instituting a Biafran currency, military and civil service. In September, Kanu directed militia loyal to Biafra to obstruct elections in Anambra. The federal government responded with a show of force, raiding Kanu’s country home and secured a court ruling declaring IPOB’s activities as ‘’acts of terrorism and illegality.”
- Ibe Kachikwu vs Maikanti Baru
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, in a memo leaked to the public, and addressed to the Presidency, accused the NNPC boss, Maikanti Baru of insubordination, lack of transparency and of sabotaging his industry-wide reforms. The memo also highlighted contract scams worth billions of dollars. Baru responded with his own statement and both men were summoned and suitably chastised by the presidency. They both stopped talking shortly after.
- Kiss Daniel vs G-Worldwide
Pop sensation Kiss Daniel announced his split from G-Worldwide, the label that discovered him and nurtured his career in November. The split was far from a gentlemanly agreement. G-Worldwide promptly fired back with a court injunction and both sides have been going back and forth airing dirty laundry in public. Among the allegations thrown up by both parties, issues like recalcitrance, irresponsibility and lack of transparency in business dealings have been strongest.
- Daddy Freeze vs Pentecostal pastors
On a mission to #FreeTheSheeple, On Air Personality, Daddy Freeze has incurred the wrath of various powerful men of God with his anti-populist campaigns about tithing. Since he went public with his message, Daddy Freeze has drawn the ire of stalwarts like Enoch Adeboye, Paul Adefarasin and Matthew Ashimolowo. The depth of the Pentecostal argument has been lacking, frequently degenerating into cheap name calling but Daddy Freeze remains committed to his cause.
- The EFCC vs DSS
The continued standoff between the heads of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Security (DSS) has both bolstered and undermined the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption drive. The DSS has served as a foil to Magu’s legitimacy, with its damning reports cited by the Senate as reason for its refusal to confirm Magu. Magu on his part, has attempted – unsuccessfully – to arrest the former head of the SSS, Ita Ekpeyong.
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.