It was a rather interesting week for Nigerians with several events stirring conversations from politics down to the entertainment scene.
The Mysterious Snake
Launching the week, was the news of a missing sum of N36 million (in cash) from the office of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
However, the dramatic twist to the story came when an account’s clerk in the office who was being questioned over the missing cash, could not account for it and rather blamed its disappearance on a “mysterious snake”.
She said her housemaid and a fellow employee had confessed to using the snake to ‘spiritually’ steal the monies she kept in an office vault – a story many Nigerians found not only ridiculous but hilarious.
Before now, JAMB candidates purchased scratch cards from JAMB state offices and other designated centres, to gain access to the Board’s website for either registration or to check their admission status but reforms were introduced by JAMB registrar Ishaq Oloyede when he assumed office in 2016.
He ended the use of scratch cards, replacing it with more efficient and effective platforms.
In reaction to the news, however, JAMB described the case as that of pure criminality and fraud on the part of the staff and promised to get to the bottom of it.
Ever since, social media went agog even as a handle was created for the ‘mysterious snake’ and a lot of hilarious comments have trailed the matter while everyone waits to see how it will be resolved. Read More Here
Governor Okorocha And The Statues
Another topic that caught the interest of many was the statue of former South African President Jacob Zuma, which remains boldly erected in Imo state, despite his ‘bowing out’ of office in the course of the week.
The Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha had unveiled Zuma’s statue in October 2017 – One of the several gigantic structures erected by the state government in honour of renowned African leaders and other distinguished individuals.
The development was, however, received with much criticism, especially from Imo residents some of whom claimed that the government was yet to pay workers’ salaries but was rather giving priority to “less important matters”.
With Zuma announcing his immediate resignation on Wednesday after the ruling ANC party threatened to eject him from office via a parliamentary vote of no confidence, more criticisms trailed the erection of his statue in Imo state.
The frustration of many was based mainly on the fact that the former President, whose reputation has been stained by years-long allegations of graft, was, however, being “celebrated” in Nigeria as seen in the honorary gesture of Governor Okorocha.
Some aggrieved Nigerians did not hesitate to take a swipe at the governor via Twitter with some rather hilarious comments. Read More Here
Despite the backlash from social media users, President Muhammadu Buhari as well as some other top government officials, believe Mr Zuma had leadership qualities that were worthy of note and have wished him well in his endeavours.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, President Buhari said: “The Nigerian leader salutes the leadership and statesmanship of former President Jacob Zuma, and wishes him the best in his future endeavours.
While Nigerians have built a reputation of being able to see the ray of hope in every situation by making light of it, one issue that has remained a source of increased pain is the mass massacre of citizens by Fulani herdsmen, a menace that some say is fast growing into full-blown terrorism.
From the start of the year, it has been from one attack to the other and many families have been thrown into mourning, with the most recent case being that of Zamfara state in which at least 18 residents were killed. Read more here.
Nigerians including Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State and Senator Shehu Sani in the wake of the attack took to their Twitter handle to lament the spate of killings in various parts of the country birthing a trend #ZamfaraMassacre.
In reaction to the killings, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan Ali (Rtd), to proceed immediately to the state to undertake an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and report back.
He also ordered the security agencies to immediately mobilise and deploy their members to the vulnerable areas of the state, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to face the full wrath of the law.
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has, however, continued to throw criticisms at the leadership of the APC even as the 2019 elections draw closer. Read More Here
In a statement issued on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP once again accused the Federal Government of failing to live up to the responsibility of securing the lives of the people.
This also comes amidst agitations over the anti-open grazing law and the Federal Government’s proposed plan to establish colonies in different parts of the country to prevent cattle from straying.
Some have blamed the rising massacre on the implementation of the anti-open grazing law but on the other hand, the Federal Government’s proposed policy of establishing grazing locations to curb the menace; (what some have termed as colonies), has received major criticism.
While the anti-open grazing law remains enforced in some states like Ekiti and Benue, the common hope of many Nigerians is that whatever decision the Federal Government eventually comes to, is one that is able to bring a stop to the mass killings.
NHIS Boss Reinstated
Also during the course of the week, the President reinstated the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr Usman Yusuf, who was earlier suspended by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, in June 2017, for alleged gross misconduct. Read More Here
This comes weeks after a similar case of reinstatement involving the chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The controversy, which saw top government officials trade blames, poked holes in the Federal Government’s efforts in winning the anti-graft war.
Yet again, with the recent case, President Buhari came under criticism as many questioned the administration’s ability to root out corrupt officers.
He, however, believes that the reinstatement does not stop any ongoing investigations into the allegations levelled against Mr Yusuf.
Soyinka Blasts Buhari
The criticisms didn’t stop there. Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, noted that the ‘errors’ by the Buhari-led administration were becoming too many and this made him question if the President was in a trance.
Addressing journalists in Lagos on Tuesday, Soyinka said if he met President Buhari face to face, “I will say to him, Mr President, I think you are under a trance.
“Too many things are happening now which made me say that. I think he is under a trance,” Soyinka said. Read More Here
Making reference to the reinstatement of the NHIS boss, he added that the sooner the President got out of the trance, the better for the nation.
His comments come few week after Former President Olusegun Obasanjo released a special statement in which he equally blasted the President, pointed out the failures of his administration and advised him not to seek re-election in 2019.
The week, however, ended on a more cheery note in the movie industry with Marvel’s Black Panther hitting Nigerian cinemas, just in time for the Valentines celebration.
Celebrities, movie lovers and supporters of the “black movement” applauded all those whose efforts contributed to making the movie a success and the hashtag #Wakandaforever quickly became a thing.
Channels Television’s Entertainment News caught up with Nigerian Singer and Actor, Ayoola Ayobami at the Lagos screening of the movie on February 13 and he shared his thoughts on the movie, including the fact that he wished he was also a part of the cast.
“I envy everyone who has been a part of this project, it’s a healthy envy though (he laughed). For the rest of their lives, this goes on, on their resume that “I was part of the team that brought African Superheroes to the forefront”.
“I wish I was part of it but I’m sure there are other histories that we can be part of,” he said. Read More Here
The highly anticipated movie which tells the tales of an African country from the perspective of affluence, light age development and technology was welcomed with unconditional approval.
More exciting for some fans was the fact that Nigerian actors Sope Akuko (Female) and, Femi Olagoke (Male) and others were among the cast.
The movie which has been described as the world’s biggest black superhero film, also came in time for the celebration of the Black History Month and many are optimistic that things can only get better from here, as blacks work towards reaching more milestones.