Editor’s Note: It’s been a very ‘different’ year for mankind – the first in at least a century.
Apart from being visited with an unforseen pandemic that has led to the death of young, middle-aged and old, some countries of the world have had their own peculiar challenges. All of these contributes to what many have described as a ‘deeply traumatic year.’
Given such circumstances (and of course, the limited nature of human memory), it is expected that most of the notable developments that happened in the course of the year may have been long forgotten.
It is in this light that the #YNaija2020Review brings to your remembrance; a roundup of about 25 notable developments that took place this year. We commence with Notable Nigerian Deaths of the Year.
Oba Israel Adegoke Adeusi
The Oluifon of Ifon in Ondo State, Adegoke Adeusi was shot dead by yet to be identified gunmen at Elegbeka, along Owo-Ifon Road in November. The traditional ruler was returning to his domain after attending a meeting of the council of traditional rulers in Akure when he was shot. He died as a result of the injuries sustained.
After a period of morbidity, former Senator of the Federal Republic and governor of Oyo state, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi passed away on 25, June. According to Lagos state records, Ajimobi drew his last breath at First Cardiologist Consultant; a private COVID-19 approved care facility in Lagos State. He died from multiple organ failure following complications from COVID-19.
Chief Harry Ayoade Akande, the Agbaoye of Ibadanland passed away in the early hours of Saturday, December 5. A renowned business tycoon and former presidential hopeful, Akande was 77. Once billed as one of Nigeria’s richest men, Akande was Chairman, Akande International Corporation (AIC), with interests in healthcare, engineering, building construction, and power.
Nollywood actor, Chief Jimoh Aliu, died in September at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti at the age of 81. Aliu was a multi-hyphenate artist, a seasoned producer, location designer, director, make-up artist and singer. He was a former president of the Association of Nigeria Theatre Practitioners (ANTP).
Twenty-four year old Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot died of head injuries sustained after a freak accident at the NAF base in Kaduna. Arotile lived a short but impactful life, contributing significantly to efforts to rid the North Central States of armed bandits and criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI.
Poet, John Pepper Clark, popularly called J.P. Clark passed away in October at 85 after an undisclosed chronic ailment. Clark, studied at the University of Ibadan and worked as a professor of English at the University of Lagos, from where he retired. Famous for his poems, plays and activist stance, Clark was perhaps best known for his poem, Ibadan.
Tina Ezekwe, a senior secondary school student, was hit by a stray bullet fired by police officers at the Iyana-Oworo area of Lagos under unclear circumstances on 26, May. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she died two days later. Two police officers have been arrested in Lagos for the senseless killing.
Majek Fashek, singer, songwriter, superstar, reggae icon, hero, prophet, rainmaker and eventual cautionary tale passed away in New York on the night of 1, June. Once one of the brightest stars of his generation, Majek Fashek benefited immensely from the fame monster and was then hollowed out by it. His spectacular rise and fall remains the stuff of legend.
In the afternoon of 17, June Nigerian-based, American broadcasting icon and On Air Personality, Dan Foster had passed away in a Lagos hospital due to complications related to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. His wife, Lovina confirmed to Channels Television. According to news reports, he was 62 years old. Until his death Foster worked at Classic FM 97.3 as the morning show host.
Shehu Idris was a Nigerian teacher who served as the 18th Emir of Zazzau. He also served as Chairman of Zazzau Emirate Council and Kaduna State Council of Chiefs. A member of the Fula people, Idris ascended the throne in 1975 and became the longest reigning monarch in the history of the Zazzau emirate, having reigned for 45 years. He died in September.
Ibidun Ighodalo, founder of events management company, Elizabeth R and wife of Pastor Ituah Ighodalo passed away suddenly in a hotel room in Port Harcourt in the early hours of Sunday 14, June where she was working with the state governments of Rivers and Bayelsa to deploy COVID-19 isolation centres. She was about a month shy of turning 40.
The former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, also one of the most powerful men in the country, died on April 17 at a private centre in Lagos. He was said to be 67. The cause was complications of the new coronavirus, according to the Lagos state government. He is survived by his wife, Hajiya Kulu Kyari, and their four children.
Obi-Enadhuze, a 21-year-old graphic designer and recent graduate was a victim of the hijack of the #EndSARS protests by criminal elements. Caught in the middle of the violence, Obi-Enadhuze lost his life after a stabbing injury he sustained when the home which he shared with his mum and siblings in Oshodi was vandalised and set on fire.
Actor and performing artiste, Pa. Kasumu, veteran of over a hundred films died at the age of 66. Kasumu had been battling from complications of liver, heart and kidney diseases. Odumosu was born on March 16, 1953 and started his acting career in 1968 at the age of 15. He was a household name in the Yoruba movie industry until he was sidelined by a diagnosis of biventricular heart failure in 2013.
11-year-old Favour Okechukwu was allegedly raped by a gang of men and left for dead in the Ejigbo area of Lagos. According to reports, the victim, on returning from school, Favour was sent to buy a carton of gala, a popular snack from a nearby shop when four men lured her to a room and raped her till she passed out.
Uwaila Vera Omozuwa
Only twenty-two years old at the time of her tragic and untimely death, Vera Omozuwa was studying microbiology at the University of Benin. She was found dead, lying half-naked in a pool of her own blood at the church where she had been a member of the choir. Omozuwa’s death, part of a spate of violence involving young women became a rallying cry to tackle widespread gender-based violence.
Onifade was a young journalist with Lagos-based Gboah TV and one of the heroes of the #EndSARS protest. His recording of a politician shooting at unarmed #EndSARS protesters in Lagos went viral and became one of the most powerful visuals of the movement. A 200-level student of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Onifade was found dead at a mortuary; days after his arrest by the Lagos State Task Force on October 24.
Until his death in June due to complications of COVID-19, Adebayo Osinowo was the Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district at the 9th national assembly. Osinowo also known as Pepper served as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Industry and Investments.
21-year-old Kazeem Tiamiyu was assistant captain at the second-tier side Remo Stars in Ogun state when he was knocked down and killed in an apparent hit and run. Tiamiyu’s club has since alleged that the defender was a victim of police brutality. His death led to a protest march demanding justice and for SARS to be disbanded by residents of Sagamu.
Anthony Onome Unuode
Anthony Onome Unuode was brutally stabbed and murdered by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest in Abuja. Anthony joined other Nigerians in Abuja to take to the streets to demand an end to SARS as well as a total reform of the Nigerian police. On October 17, some thugs attacked the protesters and stabbed Anthony. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died. He was 28 years old.
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.