It is without a doubt that 2015 was a very eventful year, full of ups and downs. The year got off to an exciting start as Nigerians were eagerly looking forward to electing their leaders in the general elections that held earlier in the year. It was also a year that witnessed many innovations in the entertainment world, as well as in corporate, security, government, sports and diplomatic circles.
In this piece, E24-7 MAGAZINE’S BIODUN KUPOLUYI, EMMANUEL OMENE-JOHNSON, and FRANK SUNDAY take a look at 30 people who created water-shed moments that shaped our lives and changed our world in 2015; though in no particular order. Enjoy…
Seen as a savior by many, President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power at a time when lots of people had given up hope in Nigeria. His integrity and acclaimed zero-tolerance to corruption are factors that are believed will help restore Nigeria to the path of dignity and sanity. His doggedness at reaching his goal was also a source of motivation for many as he had contested for the presidency four times before he finally won.
Former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan was heavily criticized during his tenure as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for his actions and (in)actions, but he was also credited for promptly conceding defeat and congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari after he lost the presidential election in March. He has since been regarded as a hero by some, and he also travels around the world now giving lectures.
Globally acclaimed for his role during the last Nigerian presidential election, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu attained god-like status when he helped his party unseat an incumbent president; a feat which had never been recorded in Nigeria. Several international media like Financial Times profiled him, and they admitted that he is indeed politically shrewd, sound and sagacious.
Olamide is one of the hardest working music artistes in the country right now, and the facts are there to prove it. In 2015, he released ‘Eyan Mayweather,’ his 5th album, in five years, and it was well received by his teeming fans. This dude also staged the second edition of his successful Olamide Live in Concert (OLIC 2) this year, and it was sold-out. This is coupled with numerous collaborations he had with other artistes, as well as a number of foreign shows.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun is fast removing doubts in people’s mind that he is an international star. In 2015, his friendship with American singer, Chris Brown, grew stronger, as they were spotted together on different occasions. Wizzy’s hit song, ‘Ojuelegba’ was also remixed by Canadian-American rapper, Drake and Skepta. Other foreign artistes that worked with Wizkid in 2015 are R. Kelly, Radio and Weasel, Nico and Vince, among others. He also signed a mouth-watering deal with Glo as a brand ambassador this year.
She calls herself the King of Queens, and that was also the title of her debut album. If you want to know why she gave herself such a title, all you need to do is follow her career and see the list of awards she has won for herself; especially in 2015.
Needless to say that she was one of the brightest shining stars in Nigeria’s entertainment industry this year, and she also launched a jewelry line, Yemi Alade Collections, which, according to feelers, is already doing well.
OBA ADEYEYE ENITAN OGUNWUSI (OONI OF IFE)
When the former Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade died in 2015, the news was greeted with sadness in many quarters. The choice of who would succeed him also generated controversy. However, like soothing balm on a nagging ache, the ascension of Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi to the throne calmed frayed nerves. His relatively young age of 41 also gave his subjects hope that he would bring a cosmopolitan, unique and vibrant approach to the palace.
On his part, Oba Ogunuwusi has promised to change the fortunes of Ife people, nay the entire Yorubaland, while stating that he has a passion for helping less privileged people. His coronation was attended by several eminent personalities such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor Ajimobi, among others.
Regarded by some as Nigeria’s foremost record label, Mavin Records is here for serious business, and their antecedents prove it.
In 2015, the label’s new artistes, Korede Bello, Di’ja and Reekado Banks, were signed by Glo as brand ambassadors. The crew also had successful singles like ‘Jantamata’ as well as several individual hits by their solo artistes.
It will be very hard to find a Nigerian businessman who has so much passion for entertainment and sports, and who is sparing no resources in celebrating those pursuits like Otunba (Dr) Mike Adenuga.
Adenuga’s Globacom has one of the highest number of brand ambassadors in the country, and it also sponsors the Nigerian Premier League, as well as the National football team’s supporters club. The company also sponsored lots of events in 2015, as well as the soar-away reality show, Dance With Peter.
MIKE DADA (AFRIMA)
The name Mike Dada may not readily ring a bell with many Nigerians, but the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) is quite popular. And Dada’s PRM Africa is the brain behind it all.
Now in its second year, the continental award is operating out of its comfort zone, and daring to step where others fear to tread, by uniting Africans irrespective of their language or geographical location. This comes at an auspicious time as many Africans have complained of marginalization by many of the existing award platforms. The 2015 edition of AFRIMA held at the prestigious Eko Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria, and it attracted a host of top African music artistes and eminent personalities from across the continent. It is also in partnership with the African Union (AU).
TOUN OKEWALE-SHONAIYA (WFM 91.7)
For deeming it fit to establish the first-ever women radio station in the country, Toun Okewale-Shonaiya is worthy of our admiration and appreciation.
Founded to stop ‘the culture of silence’ against women, WFM 91.7 is strictly dedicated to the female folks, and their families.
For this project to see the light of the day, Toun teamed up with her brother, renowned Medical Doctor, Dr. Babatunde Okewale of St. Ives Hospital, and just within months of operation, the station has already found listening ears in many Nigerians.
Acclaimed actor and filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, is not a giant, but he sure takes huge strides.
In 2015, his movie, ‘October 1’ garnered more awards than any other film in the country. He was also appointed as a brand ambassador for top flight companies like Air France and Peugeot Nigeria, among others.
Fondly referred to as 2Baba, it is an open secret that Innocent Ujah ‘2face’ Idibia is one of the most loved artistes in Nigeria. Everything he does is well received by the public, and many adore him for the sensible lyrics in his songs.
He attained the age of 40 in 2015, and to celebrate it, he staged one of the best concerts of the year which was well-attended by his colleagues, and the cream of the society. It was at the concert that one-time partners, D’banj and Don Jazzy, announced their intention to work together again. Organizations like Red Cross, Airtel, among others, also celebrated the icon in their own ways.
Dasuki Sambo is Nigeria’s immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), but he gained more popularity after the expiration of his tenure.
He is currently in the eye of the storm on account of financial impropriety he perpetuated while in office. He is alleged to have squandered billions of Dollars meant to equip the Nigerian army. Needless to say, he’s one of the most talked about Nigerians at the moment.
Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola aka DJ Cuppy is the daughter of a very wealthy businessman and oil magnate, but not one to be complacent with her father’s status, she is more interested in charting her own course for herself. And she has been doing that successfully as a Disc Jockey (DJ). In 2015, she embarked on a tour of eight African countries, and during the tour she visited several charity organisations in her bid to show love to the less-privileged ones.
It is usually said that when the English Premier League sneezes, the entire world catches cold. That much was proved when the former coach of Chelsea Football Club, Jose Mourinho, was given the boot in the latter part of 2015. The action generated so much discourse and arguments both on the physical streets, and online; with fans pitching their tents on different sides.
As at the beginning of 2015, not much was known about Nnamdi Kalu. But he became (in)famous as the face of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the latter part of the year. He was subsequently clamped in detention by the Federal Government, and this sparked protests in several South-Eastern states. Kanu’s actions also led to a re-awakening of the Biafra agitation by a section of the country who believe that secession is the best way to go.
From a blogger who was hardly noticed to a landlord owning a multi-million property in one of the choicest parts of the country, Banana Island, Lagos; that’s Linda Ikeji’s story.
From the proceeds of adverts and other paid materials on her blog, Linda makes a lot of money, and she also decided to help a lot of young girls realize their dreams by supporting their businesses with cash grants.
Dogged, talented, hardworking, innovative, and funny are only some of the words to describe ace actress, Funke Akindele. She began shooting her widely-acclaimed TV series, Jenifa’s Diary, this year, and within months, it attracted sponsorship from several companies. She serves as a role model to several young people.
Popular actress, Toyin Aimakhu was a lot in the news this year. Partly for her roles in movies, but mostly for her shenanigans off-screen. In 2015, she had several fights with her estranged hubby, Niyi Johnson, which led to the couple breaking up and making up many times. She was also reported to have been beaten by new lover and boss of Ebony Films, Seun Egbegbe. Fans on the street of course lapped up every news item about her.
Some people are of the opinion that no honest man can be found on the streets of Lagos, but Josephine Ugwu proved them wrong. She is a Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, cleaner who returned the whooping sum of N12m which she found in an airport hotel. Her action drew her widespread commendation, and she was celebrated by churches, the Lagos State House of Assembly, and other organizations who also rewarded her.
‘Omo Baba Olowo’ singer like he favours to be called, Davido has continued to garner acclaim, awards and laurels in the music industry. He welcomed his first child, Imade, this year with Ovation Magazine publisher, Dele Momodu’s niece, Sophie, and he was clearly besotted with the little angel as he flaunted her at every opportunity he had. However, in the twilight of 2015, he got involved in a bitter spat with the mother of the child and Dele Momodu. Davido and his family were accused of trying to take the baby out of the country without the consent of her mother, and they were stopped at the airport. On his part, Davido also alleged that Sophie wasn’t a good mother, and that even traces of marijuanana were found in Imade’s blood. The battle was still raging as at the end of the year.
BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA
A two-term former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) was the Chairman of the Strategy Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which drafted the manifesto of the party for the 2015 General Elections. He was also the Head of the Fund Raising Committee for the Buhari-Osinbajo Campaign Committee; both a success under his watch. He is for these considered one of the arrowheads for the successful transition of civilian power from the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC). No wonder, added to his profound profile of impeccable performance as the executive governor of Lagos state (2007-2015), he was granted a triple portfolio by President Muhammadu Buhari in the present dispensation to oversee the ministries of Work, Power and Housing.
PASTOR PAUL ADEFARASIN
Over the past few years and most especially in 2015, if any clergy has added to the lives of millions of Nigerians, the name Pastor Paul Adefarasin would be mentioned. The founder, Senior Pastor and Prelate presiding over the House On The Rock church with headquarters in Lagos, with his annual ‘EXPERIENCE’ has touched the lives of millions and turned failures to fortunes.
With a professional Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Miami, and having practiced as an Architect in Florida before his call into ministry, the revered man could be said to be one of the foremost role model of the youths and the aged. To cap it all, he has the privilege of having in his congregation top Nigerian entertainers such as Sammie Okposio and Desmond Elliot. He is also the Founder and President of the Rock Foundation; a charity organization committed to social reformation, education, provision of healthcare and relief work for the downtrodden and disadvantaged in Nigeria and West Africa at large.
Peter Ayodele Fayose, the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, can be x-rayed from both sides of the microscope. There are those that love him and many that don’t admire his firing guts. The Ibadan-born politician has become the most famous or infamous of the present bred of Nigerian politicians. He could be said to have gotten more notoriety than fame from his sheer bravado and unparalleled arrogance to the powers that be. For that, not many can actually put him on the scale. He is a fearless fighter, but most times he is seen as not knowing where he stands. For a while now, Fayose has become the unofficial mouth piece of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Presently, the controversial governor and man of the people can be correctly considered a lone ranger, for he is the only voice that is challenging the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Former governor of the oil-rich Rivers State and present Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi can easily be likened to a cat with nine lives. Like the Ekiti ‘warlord’ Fayose, Amaechi is one man many of his opponents want dead, but he always lives to torment his foes. Before the 2015 elections which his party won, Rotimi was between the devil and the deep blue sea. For more than a year before the last elections, he was an unwanted child of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. He personally fought the PDP to a standstill, resulting in his expulsion from the party for anti-party activities. In respect of his doggedness and refusal to kowtow to prevailing voices, even while the fate of the then opposition party APC was hanging in the balance, Amaechi can rightly be referred to as a role model for truth. He came, saw and conquered; Rotimi has become the one with the last laugh.
Her emergence as the first female Chairman of First Bank Nigeria (FBN) is historical. For the board to arrive at her choice, the process was not only exhaustive, it was competitive as well. No doubt, her enviable career as a professional in all spheres of her endeavors reinforced the decision of the Board to appoint her
SENATOR OLUBUKOLA SARAKI
His entry into politics was as a Special Assistant on Budget Issues in 2000 to the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo. Riding on the back of his father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, a former president of the Senate, he emerged the Governor of Kwara state. Gradually, he became a force in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) before his political sojourn took him to the All Progressive Congress (APC) where he contested and won a Kwara State Senatorial seat. His plot to become the Senate President against the wish of his party portrayed him as a PDP mole in the governing party. The game of power against fierce opponents heated up the polity and drew the attention of all. But in the political chess game, he has proven he is not a pawn.
HON. YAKUBU DOGARA
The incumbent Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives represents a Federal Constituency in Bauchi State. His activities in the House since 2007 made him to receive a high degree of attention such that when he indicated his interest to lead the Red chamber as the Speaker, he drew measurable support that divided the House against another equally vibrant candidate, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamla. The intrigues played out, democracy was at play, party politics crippled and the majority voted Dogara against the dictates and ploy of the party’s big-wigs.
Outspoken and trendy Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has always wanted to join politics. After two attempts at contesting for public office, he won a Federal senatorial seat in Bayelsa State during the last election.
With his vast media empire-Silverbird TV and Radio- he talks to the nation preaching common sense. While he asks probing questions, criticising the government in power, he also proffers solutions as well as reminds his listeners of the good times of his kinsman, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.