Abuja - Every passing year comes with its defining moments and events that make that particular year memorable.
The same was true of 2015, as the year witnessed many breaking events.
Nigeria had its own fair share - from the controversial to the awe inspiring, to the frightening and to the absurd.
News24 Nigeria brings you a recap of some of the major events that shaped the year 2015.
April general elections
The general elections, which were initially scheduled to commence on February 14 with the presidential vote, were postponed by six weeks due to national insecurity and lack of proper distribution of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs). The delay was also meant to allow the Nigerian troops to take over territories controlled the by the Boko Haram militant group.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections were finally held on March 28.
The elections were successful despite many controversies that trailed the processes leading to the exercise.
Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan. This was the first time that an incumbent president was defeated in the history of Nigeria as a nation.
Buhari scored a total of 15 424 921 votes, while Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got a total of 12 853 162 votes to come second.
One significant thing that changed the course of history was the acceptance of the outcome of the election by Jonathan. He did not wait till the end of the exercise before congratulating Buhari.
The governorship election two weeks later was also a success, as the APC cleared most of the states hitherto occupied by the PDP.
President Buhari and the newly elected governors were sworn-in on May 29.
National Assembly leadership
While still basking in the euphoria of its victory in the general elections, the APC was caught in internal party squabbles over how to fill legislative positions in the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Weeks of politicking and even mock polls failed to salvage the situation.
However, in what could be described as a perfect political coup d’etat, Senator Bukola Saraki defied all the odds and hurdles placed in his way by the APC by emerging Senate president.
Saraki defeated his rival and the party’s choice, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who was not even present on the floor of the Senate, to clinch the Senate presidency unopposed.
But his victory could not have been achieved without the assistance of the opposition PDP senators.
With its appreciable numbers, PDP was able to cause for the emergence of Saraki and one of its members, Ike Ekweremadu, as deputy Senate president, causing an unprecedented situation since 1999, where an opposition member was part of the principal officers of the Senate.
In the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara from the North-East was elected Speaker in contravention of the resolve of the APC leadership to install Femi Gbajabiamila from the South-West as Speaker. The party leadership, however, had its way by making Gbajabiamila the House Leader.
Unveiling Buhari’s ministers
While the National Assembly boiled over the leadership crisis, Nigerians eagerly awaited for the unveiling of president Buhari’s cabinet members.
However, when Buhari started appointing members of his “inner cycle”, there were hues and cries from some geo-political zones, especial the South-East over what was termed a lopsided appointment.
In a bid to fulfill his pledge to appoint ministers by September, the president on the last day of the month submitted a list of his ministerial nominees to the Senate.
Names on the list included those of long-time associates of the president, politicians as well as technocrats with no known political affiliations.
The nomination of the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, however, generated a lot of controversies as senators from the PDP opposed his nomination.
Amaechi was eventually screened and confirmed after series of political horse trading and intrigues.
The assignment of portfolios on November 11 came as a surprise to many as those expected to head particular ministries were assigned to others.
The militant Islamic group Boko Haram rose to infamy in 2015 as the world’s most dangerous terrorist group.
The group has so far killed more people than the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.
The group pledged its allegiance to ISIS in March 2015 and changed its name to Islamic State in West Africa.
The radical group’s conquests threatened almost the entire North-East communities and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
In the year under review, the group was unrelenting in its bombing of parks, mosques, schools, markets and all other crowded places.
The terrorists took their destructive activities beyond the hotbeds of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States into Kano and Abuja.
In 2015, the terrorism sect adopted a new approach that saw it using teenage girls as suicide bombers.
President Buhari has, however, given the military a December 31 deadline to decimate the terrorists.
Pro Biafra protesters
Dismissed until now as an errant group, the Pro Biafra agitators managed to seize attention, if not territory.
Since the beginning of 2015, there had been a series mass protests by the Biafra agitators, who called for an independent state of Biafra.
The protests sometimes went violent with reported deaths.
Shaken by the resoluteness of the demonstrators, the government wielded the big stick by clamping down on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the State of Biafra (MASSOB).
But the protests got worse following the arrest and prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB and promoter of Radio Biafra, a pirate radio the Nigerian government accused of spreading hate and violence.
Kanu was arrested on October 17, by DSS operatives, shortly after he arrived in Nigeria from his base in the United Kingdom.
The pro Biafra groups in December decided to put on hold all protests over the continued detention of Kanu.
This was to allow the federal government room for dialogue on Kanu’s release.
A few days after the suspension of protests, the government withdrew the charges against Kanu.
Similarly, a Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja ordered the unconditional release of Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Security Service (DSS).
The court ruled that the continued detention of Kanu after three months without trial, violated section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Act 2015 and section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.
New INEC Chairman, inconclusive elections
Prof Mahmud Yakubu was appointed as the new Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace Prof Attahiru Jega, whose tenure expired few months after the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
Yakubu’s appointment came barely a month to the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections. Both elections ended inconclusive on first ballot.
In the Kogi election, the sad news of the demise of the APC governorship candidate Abubakar Audu on November 22, a day after the election was held, created a whole new dimension not just for the election but to constitutional issues with regards to electoral matters.
Audu was already leading with over 41 353 votes before the election was declared inconclusive by INEC.
The permission to APC by INEC to replace Audu with Yahaya Bello, (first runner up at the party’s primaries) was greeted with resent and legal objection by the PDP’s candidate and incumbent governor, Idris Wada and Audu’s running mate, James Faleke.
While Wada disagreed with transfer of votes to Bello, Faleke believed he is the rightful one to continue with the mandate.
INEC took to its stance and the supplementary election was held on December 5. Bello was declared winner of the election.
On the same day the Kogi supplementary election was held, the Bayelsa State governorship election was also held but it was also declared inconclusive by INEC following the violence that was recorded in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area LGA.
INEC has, however, fixed January 9, 2016 for the conduct of a supplementary election in the state.
Although fuel scarcity has always been a normal occurrence in Nigeria, the one that rocked Nigeria in 2015 was regarded as one of the most tragic in recent years.
The 2015 fuel scarcity brought lots of hardship to majority of Nigerians causing slowdown in production and services.
Earlier in the year, fuel scarcity prompted financial institutions and other organisation to shut down their operations due to lack of petroleum products to run their businesses.
The price of fuel rose to N250 per litre in some part of the country with many selling black market fuel mixed with diesel, engine oil or as some said, mixed with water to gain more, thereby perpetrating evil.
Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser to former president Goodluck Jonathan is probably the most popular man in Nigeria at the moment for the wrong reasons.
Sambo was on the spotlight in the latter part of the year for diverting over $2.2 billion meant for procurement of weapons in the fight against Boko Haram to other uses.
The load of revelations that have so far come out from the trial of Dasuki shows how the country’s leadership has been squandering public funds for their selfish interests.
As events unraveled, Dasuki gave names of alleged accomplices in the arms deal controversy including Raymond Dokpesi, owner of DAAR Communications, Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State and other top PDP chieftains
President Buhari was also implicated in the scam for accepting a gift of two Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) from Dasuki
Buhari said he received the two cars shortly after the attack on his vehicles in Kaduna State in July 2014 by members of the Boko Haram sect.
This revelation birthed the hashtag – #Buharigate.
Also read: Nigerians take to Twitter with #Buharigate
Soldiers in the convoy of Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on December 11 engaged Shiite sect members who blocked the highway on a public procession in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Hundreds of people were killed in the fracas that erupted.
The COAS said his convoy acted in self-defence after pleas to clear the road were rebuffed.
Sect members subsequently protested in six northern Nigerian cities against the military crackdown while Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani weighed in, phoning President Buhari on the incident which the Federal Government termed “a military affair”.
Human rights groups and international organizations have condemned the Nigerian military and have called for a probe of the unfortunate incident.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has set up a Special Investigations Panel into the clash.
Also read: WATCH: Army officers, Shiites members clash in Zaria
Golden Eaglets successfully defending their world title in Chile
The national U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, made history in Chile when the team successfully defended the 2013 title it won in UAE.
The team matched Brazil’s feat of winning the trophy back-to back.
The team also for the second time running, produced the best player of the tournament. Kelechi Nwakali succeeding Manchester City’s teen star Kelechi Iheanacho as the best player of the tournament.
Nigeria’s D’Tigers win Afrobasket championship for the first time
The Nigeria senior basketball team, D’tigers, emerged the African champions for the first after beating former champions Angola, at the finals of the 2015 Afrobasket by 74 – 65.
With this victory, D’Tigers have now automatically qualified for the men’s basketball event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
- News 24