Person Of The Year 2020

January 5, 2021
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ABDULSAMAD ISIYAKU RABIU AND HIS BUA FOUNDATION

In 2014, when the Ebola virus emerged from the shores of Africa, the outbreak quickly turned into an epidemic, which deemphasized borders. Immediately the world witnessed the health community respond to the danger of the disease with unparalleled courage in the face of adversity. In recognition of the medical health community, Time Magazine named the fighters and health workers involved in the battle against the Ebola Virus as its Person of the Year, 2014. As Person of the year, Time described the health workers as having a hero’s heart for… “Not the glittering weapon fights the fight, but rather the hero’s heart!”

2020 saw the return of the communicable disease as the novel Coronavirus quickly made its way around the world. As Covid-19 spread in Nigeria, it brought with it the revelation that our government was overwhelmed, wasn’t adequately equipped to respond to Covid-19 and did not have the resources to support the citizenry in protecting them, halting the spread of the disease and combatting it. While it seemed as if little could be done to stop the disease from spreading, a new kind of hero, in the form of the Nigerian philanthropist emerged and stood tall, together with the health workers in a bid to fight the disease.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria, these philanthropists rallied together and the nation bore witness to patronage’s vital role as major donors scrambled to provide relief. One by one, these distinguished Nigerian-treasures selflessly contributed funds, medical equipment, support for frontline health workers, community awareness, grants and so many other measures that were vital in the fight against Coronavirus. They rose to the moment and applied their ability to provide succor in order to feed poorer brethren and in order to save lives. They reminded the nation what service to humanity truly really means.

Of these philanthropists, one stood head and shoulders above the rest; of these philanthropists, one possessed the unique hero’s heart and distinguished himself with exceptional generosity and empathy.Of these philanthropists, one truly understood that Nigerians were desperate and needed immediate relief, food, health care and prescriptions; so he rose up to answer the calling.

Abdulsamad Isiyaku Rabiu, the founder and Chairman of BUA Group, the conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining, real estate, manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture and so much more utilized his wealth in the service of the greater good and bared his hero’s heart in the spirit of philanthropy to save communities ravaged with the dearth, hunger and suffering brough about by the cruel hand of the greatest threat to humanity. He wholeheartedly gave charity in order to rescue and produce the most beneficial results for vast communities all over Nigeria.

At the time when Nigerian industrialists and entrepreneurs were generously donating hundreds of Millions of Naira in the fight against Covid-19, Abdulsamad raised the anti by donating billions! At a time that the Nigerian citizen had given up on hoping for assistance from government, Abdulsamadused his magic to reawaken their hopes. He gave with abandon and in pursuit of a safer and healthier community. He used his national and international influence to inspire others in the struggle to end the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria and lessen the death and agony it brought with it.

The founder of BUA Group managed to capture the imagination of the nation by giving a donation of over N8.6 billion spent in cash, grants, medical supplies and equipment, foodstuff, awareness campaigns, amongst other things to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. Through his BUA foundation, Abdulsamad Rabiu took the initiative to act in order to improve people’s conditions and save lives. With his organization, he coordinated and supplied on-the-ground services to relieve people’s pain. He used his machinery to supply ravaged communities with the funds, personnel and equipment they needed in the fight against Covid-19. He used his strength to address a systemic and health national disaster.

From North, East, West and South of Nigeria, Abdulsamad provided and continues to provide assistance and relief. In addition to the N1,350,000,000 (Billion) he donated to the Central Bank of Nigeria-led Private Sector Coalition Committee against COVID-19, he donated medical equipment and funds to State governments all over the country. Among his donations, Abdulsamad has given N300,000,000.00 (Million) to the Presidential task force on Covid-19 to aid logistics and the operations of the taskforce. Additionally:

·      In the Sokoto State government, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000 (Million) and 3 Ambulances.

·      In Kebbi State, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000.00 (Million) to support flood victims in the State during the lockdown.

·      In Kwara State, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000.00 (Million) and 6 ambulances.

·      In Kaduna State, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000.00 (Million), 6 ambulances and 50,000 facemasks.

·      In Ekiti State, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000.00 (Million).

·      In Rivers State, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000.00 (Million) and 3 Ambulances.

·      In Lagos State, Abdulsamad donated N200,000,000.00 (Million) and 5 ambulances.

·      In Adamawa State, Abdulsamad donated N200,000,000.00 (Million) and 3 ambulances.

·      In Ogun State, Abdulsamad donated N100,000,000.00 (Million).

·      In Kano State, Abdulsamad donated 20 Hilux vehicles and 5 ambulances.

·      In Akwa Ibom State, Abdulsamad donated 5 Ambulances and 100,000 facemasks.

·      In Abia State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances.

·      In Borno State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances and 100,000 facemasks.

·      In Bauchi State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances and 50,000 facemasks.

·      In Gombe State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances and 50,000 facemasks.

·      In Osun State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances and 50,000 facemasks.

·      In Edo State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances.

·      In Jigawa State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances.

·      In Delta State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances.

·      In Katsina State, Abdulsamad donated 3 Ambulances.

·      Abdulsamad has donated 1 Ambulance to National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies.

·      Abdulsamad has donated 1 Ambulance to Aminu Kano Teaching hospital.

·      Abdulsamad has donated over 65 ambulances all across the country and more are still being delivered.

·      Abdulsamad has donated 1.5 million reusable facemasks, which are being delivered across Nigeria.

·      Abdulsamad has built a permanent 200-bed special care facility in Kano State.

·      Abdulsamad has provided support for frontline health workers in some states in Nigeria through the payment of a special hazard allowance in some locations and he continues to do this.

·      Abdulsamad continues to have Non-perishable food items and staples delivered to 1million residents of Kano monthly since April 2020 without abandon.

·      Abdulsamad has supported the Noella Foundation/FoodClique Emergency Foodbox initiative,which is still providing meals across Lagos daily. So far, this initiative has distributed over 950,000 meals in their food boxes since the pandemic hit Nigeria (each box contains about 30meals).

·      BUA provided 10,000 cooked/processed meals across Lagos daily. This continued till the end of the ramadan period for a total of 150,000 cooked meals.

·      BUA is also running a couple of COVID-19 awareness messages in Nigeria, Africa and Europe across various media platforms – ONLINE, CNN, CNBC etc.

·      Abdulsamad Rabiu and the BUA foundation continue to make a magnitude of donations to ease the plight of Nigerians all over the country.

The assistance that Abdulsamad gave and continues to give has reached almost every corner of Nigeria. By linking his philanthropy during the crisis, not just to the demographic, region or state he comes from, Abdulsamad extended the scope and rationale for philanthropy in Nigeria. In the processof his benefaction, he imbued charitable giving with an extra appeal for the generations of entrepreneurs and self-made men and women who will come after him.

By giving charity at the scale that he does, Abdulsamad makes mercy smarter and hope strategic and dares all those with capacity to follow his lead. By reacting to the coronavirus pandemic in the manner he does, he sets a solid precedence and encourages his fellow billionaires to give more generously. And because of his example, the donations flood in.

After his generous contributions in the fight against Coronavirus, Abdulsamad Isiyaku Rabiu may just be the most influential philanthropist in Nigeria today. The scale of his giving is almost without peer. His donations to combat Covid-19 exceed those of virtually everyone else in the country.

Just by is humility and generosity of spirit, he becomes a hero of our time. This Nigerian treasure is a giant of a man who humbles us all because he genuinely cares about helping those who are suffering and does something about it. In his own way, by giving to people in need on the scale he does, Abdulsamad has done more than most politicians, pundits and experts combined.

In life, charity and philanthropy is not an obligation. Therefore, those who use their prerogative to give do so out of magnanimity. This is exactly what Abdulsamad chooses to do with his fortune. With theample resources at his disposal and nearly unlimited opportunities to help others, he continues to choose to apply himself in the interest of the needy. He has the funds to make a big difference in Nigeria and the social capital to continue spreading his message of charity. And this he continues to do so eloquently and so munificently. Nigeria is blessed to have such men of pedigree and compassion within its shores.

Although the magnitude of Abdulsamad Isiyaku Rabiu’s accomplishments are historic, with his philanthropy, he has gone ahead and written his name in sheer gold and becomes Nigeria’s very own Andrew Carnegie, the biggest Billionaire philanthropist of all time.

It is men like Abdulsamad Isiyaku Rabiu that are humanity’s very own true heroes with a huge, benevolent and humanitarian heart. And of the hero’s heart, they say, “…it is not the glittering weapon that fights the fight, rather the hero’s heart does.”

May The Almighty help us all!

…FOR THE MAGNITUDE OF HIS SHEER GENEROSITY, SELFLESSLY DONATING IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE GREATEST THREAT TO HUMANITY, BEING THE ABSOLUTE SHINING GOLD STANDARD OF NIGERIA AND EMERGING AS THE MAN WITH THE HERO’S HEART, “ABDULSAMAD ISIYAKA RABIU AND THE BUA FOUNDATION IS THE PERSON OF THE YEAR FOR 2020.”

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NIGERIAN OF THE YEAR

THE #ENDSARS MOVEMENT

In 2020, Nigeria saw a new kind of reawakening when youth stood up, rallied around a common purpose and demanded change from government. While many may have recognized the agitation of the youth as a ‘transferred-aggression’ of sorts, they came together with the aim of demanding for the amelioration of SARS.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a specialized unit of the Nigerian police, was formed in 1992 to fight the growing crime rate in Nigeria. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, SARS became rogue, gaining notoriety for their impunity and flagrant violation of human rights of Nigerian citizens. It soon emerged as a police squad functioning above the law and using different means of torture to extract confessions, bribes and even committing extrajudicial killings.

The movement to end SARS was initially born in 2017 from the hashtag #EndSars, which trended on Social media where young people shared their experiences of violence perpetuated by the SARS unit.The #EndSARS movement remerged in October, 2020, when a video of SARS members brutalizing a young man went viral. Not long after, the hashtag #EndSARS had generated several retweets and was the number one trending topic in several countries. Youth took to the streets to demand a change from the government. Together with the demand to #EndSars, the youth generated other demands from government to ensure a better future for the next generation.

The protagonists of this protest are Nigerian youth, often the victims of SARS intimidation, harassment and torture. They have built a peaceful, organic, decentralized, nonpartisan mass action on social media and through street protests that cuts across ethnic and religious lines. Renowned national, continental and international celebrities readily got involved with the movement to offer the youth support.

In a reaction to another video that captured SARS officials stop an unarmed young man, push him out of his vehicle, shoot him dead and drive away with the car, a group of young #EndSARS protesters,united in their quest to end police brutality, gathered at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos. On that fateful day, chaos unleashed on the streets after the Nigerian Military arrived and shot at protestors. As a result, innocent lives were lost.

Police brutality and the kind of extrajudicial killings witnessed at the Lekki Tollgate has no place in the future of a better Nigeria. The incident that happened at Lekki Toll Gate should be investigated and those responsible for the massacre should be brought to justice. There should be justice for all victims injured and all the families who have lost loved ones.

The #EndSARS objective may have started as a rallying point where youth gravitated to in order to express their general grievances of the failed nation, but it became a movement that represents so much more. The way that Nigerian youth made their voices heard is quite admirable, even if one does not completely align themselves with their movement and purpose.  The #EndSars movement shows that young people are engaged with how Nigeria is run and are aware of the rights and power they have. No matter one’s position on the #EndSars movement, there is a need for governance that is beneficial, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective, inclusive and follows the rule of law in Nigeria.

…FOR THEIR TENACITY, SENSE OF SELF, LOVE FOR COUNTRY, PATRIOTISM, DESIRE FOR CHANGE, THE FACILITATION OF HOPE THAT NIGERIAN YOUTH ARE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO STAND UP AND DEMAND FOR A BETTER FUTURE… THE YOUTH OF NIGERIA WITH THEIR #EndSARS MOVEMENT, ARE THE ‘NIGERIANS OF THE YEAR 2020.’

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NON-NIGERIAN OF THE YEAR:

DR LI WENLIANG

Without doubt, 2020 has been recorded as one of the worst years in living memory. It was a year that saw the world crumble on its knees due to the emergence of a highly contagious and deadly novel coronavirus. Dr Li Wenliang, was the heroic Chinese doctor who sounded the alarm on the Wuhan coronavirus. He warned colleagues on social media in late December 2019 about a mysterious virus that would become the coronavirus pandemic. In the warning, he messaged his medical school alumni group on WeChat, informing them that seven people from a local seafood market who showed signs of a SARS-like illness were quarantined in his hospital in Wuhan. As a result, he was detained by the Chinese authorities in Wuhan on the 3rd of January 2020 for spreading false rumors, censored and reprimanded. Subsequently, he was forced to sign a police document acknowledging his misdemeanor and was made to admit that he had breached the law by seriously disrupting social order.

Not long after, he was infected with the virus during the fight against the initial outbreak and succumbed to it. His death crystallised the outrage and frustration felt over the initial cover-up of the deadly virus.

Dr Li is credited with being the first medical professional to sound the alarm on the virus in Wuhan. Given that manipulation and suppression of information is what allowed the wide spread of the novel coronavirus in the first place, had the public and authorities listened to the warning of Dr Li, the World would be a much safer place today and millions of lives would have been saved from the deadly Covid-19.

…FOR HIS BRAVERY, COURAGE, SELFLESS EFFORT TO WARN THE WORLD OF THE IMPENDING DANGER OF THE BIGGEST THREAT TO HUMANITY AGAINST ADVERSITY AND HIS DETERMINATION OF SHOWING SACRIFICE AT ITS BEST, ‘DR LI WENLIANG IS THE NON-NIGERIAN OF 2020.’

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CHAMPION OF THE YEAR FOR 2020.

DOCTORS, NURSES, AMBULANCE DRIVERS AND ALL HEALTH-WORKERS ALL OVER THE WORLD

Late in 2019, a novel coronavirus emerged from the shores of China, like a mythical beastly-serpent, spreading, infecting and devouring everything and anything in its sights. An outbreak of the disease turned into a global pandemic, deemphasizing borders, eventually spreading to every corner of the globe.

The virus, not a respecter of persons, age, sex or class, apathetically struck doctors and nurses in unparalleled numbers. The virus began assuming frightening proportions, essentially making anyone willing to treat Coronavirus patients run the risk of becoming its very victim.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Coronavirus scourge brought with it the revelation that national governments weren’t adequately equipped to respond to it. The World Health Organization (WHO) was in denial about the veracity of the virus and first responders were castigated for “crying wolf” over the devastating effects of the coronavirus.

With the certain promise of danger, disease, suffering and possible death that the coronaviruspresented, no one is more fitting to be ‘Champion of The Year, 2020’ than the heroes and knights in shinning white armor of the Coronavirus pandemic; the doctors, nurses and health workers who courageously and selflessly confronted it, despite its threat and menace. Gratitude and honor goes tothe local special forces of doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and all health-workers all over the world that stood and fought side by side, regardless of the risk of infection and death. It is to them the world needs to be grateful to.

As we go about in the very risky and dangerous world that Covid-19 has created, it is assuring to know that things can get better because a group of men and women are willing to sacrifice themselves andare prepared to perform tireless acts of courage and mercy in order to give the world enough time to boost its defenses. These heroes of our ages continue to persist, risk, sacrifice and save. They are willing to forgo their lives for the overall benefit of mankind.

These doctors, nurses and health workers show resilience and gallantry in order to ensure our world is made safer to live in. Their greatness is in their recognition that every life matters

…FOR SELFLESSLY SACRIFICING AND SAVING THE WORLD, THE DOCTORS, NURSES, AMBULANCE DRIVERS AND HEALTH WORKERS WHO PAINSTAKINGLY CONTINUE TO FIGHT CORONAVIRUSPANDEMIC ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE YEAR, 2020.

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DOUCHEBAG OF THE YEAR:

‘PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP.’

“That is the Presdient of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world, and we see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realising his time is over, but he just hasn’t accepted it and he wants to take everybody down with him, including his county.” – Anderson Cooper

The above description of President Donald Trump by Anderson Cooper couldn’t have been put better. As the world continues to watch the drama unfolding in the American White house, it is imperative to take a moment and breathe a huge sigh of relief and appreciate the fact that, after four jaw clenchingand punishing years, Donald Trump has finally been put in his place and been defeated.

President Donald Trump contested in a democratic, free and fair election and lost to President-Elect Joe Biden. However, in his usual arrogant and outrageous manner, he refuses to accept the fact that he lost. For Donald Trump, the only outcome he was ever going to accept is one where he was declared winner but unfortunately, that wasn’t what happened. He lost the election fairly! His refusal to come to terms with his defeat makes him the biggest douchebag to emerge in 2020.

The pliability of American democracy has been sorely tested by Mr. Trump’s first term. Four more years would have been unbearable. Mr. Trump stands without any real rivals as the worst American president in modern history!

But despite the obvious hold that Trump has on a large base of the American electorate, one should not be distracted from the colossal triumph of ending Trump’s Cancerous presidency; a malignant leadership that affected every corner of the globe negatively. President Trump is a man unworthy of the office he holds and the enormity and variety of his misdeeds can feel crushing.

As a leader presiding over an increasingly diverse country, President Trump was a real disaster; he is a racist, a hypocrite, a xenophobe, a bully, a bigot, an Islamaphobe, a misogynist, a liar, an isolationist and a narcissist, among other colorful descriptions. And he brought all these characteristics to factor in the way he governed America.

While America will have to find a way to process the harm brought about by the poisonous leadership of President Trump and a sore loser gung-ho on convincing a sizeable part of the country that their loss is illegitimate, for now, a mammoth hazard to American democracy and global harmony has been extinguished.

…FOR HIS ARROGANCE, HIS BRAIN DYSMORPHIA, HIS DILLUSION ABOUT THE REALITY OF AN ELECTION THAT HE LOST AND HIS INABILITY TO ACCEPT DEFEAT, “’PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’ IS THE SHAMELESS DOUCHEBAG OF 2020.”

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NIGERIAN GOVERNOR OF THE YEAR

‘GOVERNOR NASIR EL-RUFAI’

Like him or hate him, one can’t ignore the imp-like Governor Nasiru El-Rufai. From the time he became the governor of Kaduna State in 2015, he literally hit the floor running. However, what really set Governor Nasiru apart from other governors in Nigeria in 2020 was his rapid response to Coronavirus.

When it was confirmed that the coronavirus had come into Nigeria, it seemed as if the authorities froze and were confused as to how to halt its spread. From the National to the State stage, there seemed to be a delayed reaction and cause of action. However, this wasn’t the case in Kaduna under Governor Nasir El-Rufai. In his usual style, he took charge, made the difficult decision of locking down the state and took the required, responsible and necessary action to confront the threat of Covid-19 head on.

He made the best use of his condition as a Covid-19 patient to educate and enlighten people about the dangers of contracting the illness. He also adopted stringent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Kaduna State. He took responsibility by shutting down businesses and public places, closing the interstate borders with Kaduna and applying other necessary measures. Had every governor in Nigeria done what Governor El-Rufai did in the early stages of the epidemic, the spread of Coronavirus could have been halted. The story of Coronavirus in Nigeria would have been one of success, one where we would have been able to minimize its spread.

And while many political pundits see the insincerity and Machiavellian schemes that Governor El-Rufai imparts in everything that he does, it would be ridiculous not to give him his kudos for his handling of the Coronavirus epidemic. Governor El-Rufai is well ahead of his peers in this regard. The former DG of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (the head privatization agency in Nigeria), the former Minister of the FCT, and now a current Governor, still has a lot of positive role to play in keeping the state and citizens safer from the biggest threat to humanity.

‘…FOR HIS COURAGE TO TAKE THE ACTIONS THAT NEEDED TO BE TAKEN AS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF A STATE WHEN THE CORONAVIRUS CREPT INTO NIGERIA AND HIS UNIQUE ABILITY TO REINVENT HIMSELF, “GOVERNOR NASIR EL-RUFAI” IS… NIGERIAN GOVERNOR OF THE YEAR 2020 ‘

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BOOK OF THE YEAR:

‘THE GUEST LIST BY LUCY FOLEY’

This year, I was able to read more books than I did last year. Of the books, I had the opportunity to read, THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley stood out as my favorite.

THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley is a fairly entertaining mystery about a wedding from hell. Set on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, THE GUEST LIST gives an exclusive invitation to a highly anticipated wedding party, which has been planned to perfection. The wedding’s guest list comprises of the bride, groom, best man, wedding planner, bridesmaid and a plus one.

However, this reunion of old friends, classmates, and family doesn’t go smoothly as old secrets and resentments rear their ugly heads. When a storm traps the wedding party on the island, tensions ratchet up until someone winds up dead. Who will be the story’s victim? Who will be the killer? And what will be the motivation for the murder? In this glittering, glitzy crowd, everyone could be a suspect.

THE GUEST LIST is a delectable blend of Agatha Christie inspiration and modern-day psychological suspense. The story puts a modern spin on the classic locked-room-mystery and delivers a fresh kind of “whodunit.” The mystery is good and the remote island is a perfect for the mystery. The clues needed to unravel the story’s whodunnit is planted in the varying perspectives of her book’s narrators.

THE GUEST LIST is practically guaranteed to keep readers turning the pages. It is an irresistible reading experience, which sets a luxurious wedding on a crash course with disaster. I practically binge-read the book in two sittings. As an Agatha Christie fan, THE GUEST LIST was riveting reading.

…FOR ITS CLEVERLY-CONSTRUCTED PLOT, PLENTY OF JUICY SECRETS TO UNCOVER AND THE DELIVERY OF AN INTRICATE MYSTERY FOR READERS TO TEASE APART, ‘THE GUEST LIST BY LUCY FOLEY’ IS THE BOOK OF 2020.’

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COLUMNIST OF THE YEAR:

‘AZU ISHIEKWENE’-

As a writer and columnist, I have a profound appreciation for the work of other writers. Every year, I go through several publications in order to see which writer has best caught my attention. This year, publications of a man that is, not only, a big brother to me but someone whose work I aspire to emulate completely caught my attention. That man is AZU ISHIEKWENE.

Week after week, AZU ISHIEKWENE managed to churn out brilliant masterpieces addressing the most pressing issues of the day. His work is simply phenomenal.

AZU ISHIEKWENE’ is a Journalist and editor extraordinaire. He has worked at The Punch, Unilag Sun, Toplife magazine, Leadership, Saturday Punch, Sunday Punch and Saturday Punch amongst other publications.

He has won many awards, wears many hats and has served as a staff reporter, investigative reporter, feature writer, senior feature writer, deputy feature editor, feature editor and deputy editor. He was also a member of several publication’s editorial board, is a published author and lecturer. The achievements of AZU ISHIEKWENE go above and beyond what I can mention in this piece. His articles arefantastic, brilliant and engaging.

…FOR HIS COLUMN’S OBJECTIVITY, PHILOSOPHICAL UNDERTONE AND HIS SIMPLY AMAZING LITERARY PROWESS, ‘AZU ISHIEKWENE IS MY COLUMNIST OF 2020.’

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VIDEO CLIP OF THE YEAR:

‘THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD’

On the evening of the 25th of May 2020, American police in the city of Minneapolis responded to a call about a black man who was accused of making use of a counterfeit bill to buy some cigarettes. Police arrived on the scene and proceeded to apprehend the man. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, the man was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers with the knee of one of the policemen suspended on his neck, showing no signs of life. The man was pronounced dead around 9:25 p.m non that very day. The man was 46-year-old George Floyd!

Onlookers at the location took footage of the arrest and it was the witness videos that showed how a series of actions by officers turned fatal on that fateful day.

In the footage, a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck while he was pinned to the floor. He did this consistently for 8 minutes until George Floyd died. Transcripts of police bodycam footage show that Mr Floyd said more than 20 times he could “not breathe’ as he was restrained by the officers. He was also pleading for his mother and begging “please, please, please”.

At one point, Mr Floyd gasps: “You’re going to kill me, man.”

Following the death of George Floyd, while under arrest, protests consumed America and spread globally. It became a tipping point for an exhausted, racially divided nation baying for change. Floyd’s words reminded Americans of the oppressive reality of its past. It awakened the conscience of other communities riddled with racial profiling and discrimination.

The outrage over George Floyd’s death has, not only spread across the United States, it has forced the World to re-evaluate its treatment of black people.

…FOR THE ABILITY OF THE FOOTAGE TO TOUCH THE HUMAN CONSCIENCE AND FOSTER GLOBAL CHANGE, ‘THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD’ IS MY VIDEO CLIP OF 2020.’

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BEST HEADLINE/BREAKING NEWS OF THE YEAR:

‘…CNN PROJECTS THAT JOE BIDDEN WILL BECOME THE 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

It started with an announcement made by Wolf Blitzer that said… “After four long tense days, we have reached a historic moment in this election. We can now project the winner of this Presidential race… CNN projects Joseph. R. Biden Jr. is elected the 46th President of the United States winning the White House and denying President Trump a second term.”

Honestly hearing Wolf Blitzer say the words pronouncing the projection of the American elections was such a huge relief. The fact that the 2020 American election came down to the wire, where a great number of Americans reflected on the last four disastrous years of the Trump presidency and chose for more of ‘the same’ is a worrying sign for America.

Honestly, the pliability of American democracy has been sorely tested by Mr. Trump’s first term. Four more years would have been unbearable.

His ruinous tenure has not only damaged America internally, it has had negative ramifications around the world. As a President, he abused the power of his office and littered the corridors of power with his spawn.

President-elect Joe Biden, in his third run for the highest office, pulled off a rare defeat of a sitting Commander in Chief after the highest turnout of an election in a century with over 81 million votes. With Biden’s victory, Kamala Harris is set to become the first woman and first person of color to become the American Vice President.

…FOR THE GARGANTUAN RELIEF THAT REVERBERATED THROUGH THE WORLD OVER THE KNOWLEDGE THAT PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP HAD LOST THE AMERICAN ELECTION, ‘…CNN PROJECTS THAT JOE BIDDEN WILL BECOME THE 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES’ IS THE BEST HEADLINE OF 2020.’

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WORST HEADLINE/BREAKING NEWS OF THE YEAR / STORY OF THE YEAR:

‘A NOVEL CORONAVIRUS HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED… AND IT IS SPREADING!’-

Not much is needed to explain why the worst headline/breaking news of 2020 was about the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, which was eventually named as Covid-19. A look at the timeline of how the spread of the virus unfolded unveils the global horror we all witnessed.

·      31 Dec 2019- Chinese authorities, treated a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

·      11 January 2020- China reported its first death from patients with the pneumonia..

·      13 January 2020- Officials confirm a case of Covid-19 in Thailand, the first recorded case outside of China.

·      20 January 2020- Other countries confirmed cases.

·      22 January 2020- WHO issued a statement confirming evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan.

·      30 January 2020- WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

·      2 February 2020- The first coronavirus death was reported outside China.

·      7 February 2020- Dr Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor, who tried to raise the alarm died.

·      11 February 2020- The disease the virus causes was named as Covid-19.

·      23 February 2020- Italy saw a major surge in cases.

·      24 February 2020- Iran emerged as a second focus point.

·      26 February 2020-Latin America reported its first case.

·      27 February 2020- Nigeria confirmed its first case in Lagos State, an Italian citizen.

·      29 February 2020- The United States reported a death.

·      9 March 2020- The second case in Nigeria was confirmed, a Nigerian citizen who had contact with the Italian citizen.

·      11 March 2020- Due to the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction, WHO made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

·      16 March 2020- Latin America began to feel the effects.

·      24 March 2020- India announced a 21-day lockdown.

·      30 March 2020- There were multiple new cases in Lagos State, FCT, Kaduna, Ekiti, Bauchi, Edo, Enugu, Osun and Oyo State.

·      30 Mar 2020- Nigeria imposes a lockdown in major cities.

·      2 April 2020- Cases topped a million 171 countries across six continents, killing at least 51,000.

·      6 April 2020- Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved into intensive care days after going public with his coronavirus diagnosis.

·      10 April 2020- Cases surged in Russia.

·      21 April 2020- Officials discovered earlier known U.S. coronavirus deaths in California on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17

·      26 April 2020- The global death toll surpassed 200,000.

·      5 May 2020- The coronavirus reached France in December, doctors said, rewriting the epidemic’s timeline.

·      22 May 2020- Infections in Latin America continued to rise.

·      11 June 2020- Coronavirus cases in Africa topped 200,000.

·      22 August 2020- Global virus deaths surpassed 800,000.

·      28 September 2020- Global deaths reached 1 million.

·      2 October 2020- President Trump tested positive for the virus.

·      11 October 2020- The world recorded more than 1 million new cases in three days.

·      2 December 2020- The U.K. approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

·      8 December 2020- The U.K. began vaccinations.

Status as of December 30, 2020-

·       Total Cases Confirmed Globally: 82,115,011

·       Total Deaths Worldwide: 1,793,368

·       Number of countries with cases: 214

Just by looking at the timeline of the Coronavirus spread around the world, it is self-explanatory as to how the Coronavirus pandemic would qualify as the worst headline/breaking news of 2020 and as Story of 2020!’

…FOR THE HORROR OF THE REALITY THAT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US LIVING IS AT RISK TO THE BIGGEST THREAT TO HUMANITY, ‘‘A NOVEL CORONAVIRUS HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED… AND IT IS SPREADING!’- WAS THE WORST HEADLINE/BREAKING NEWS OF 2020 AND THE STORY OF 2020!’

MY WRITE-UP CHOICE OF THE YEAR: (TRIBUTE TO SAM NDA-ISAIAH BY HANNATU MUSAWA)

“DEAR SAM.”

In the early hours of the 11th of December 2020, Sam Nda-Isaiah passed away after a short illness. No words I can ever put together can describe the clashing feelings of pain and emptiness I had when I was told of his passing.

Sam Nda-Isaiah was my big brother and had been my best friend for the last 18 years. I was shattered, devastated and extremely sad at his loss.

I have read that there are worse emotions to have to live with than sadness. However vast and deep sadness might be, it can be uplifting, invigorating, strengthening and, above all, a powerful reminder of how much a loved one mattered. But, even with that knowledge, I didn’t feel uplifted, invigorated or strengthened. I just felt really, really sad that my friend, Sam has gone.

So, in the aftermath of his death, I wrote a tribute for my friend. It was one where I wrote the words I had never wanted to write, spoke about a subject I had never wanted to speak of and felt the loss I had never wanted to feel. My friend was the one who wrote tributes for people, yet I had to write a tribute for him.

Writing a tribute to him was hard because I couldn’t find the exact words to describe the brother/sisterhood Sam and I had and the dynamic involved in it.

So, in trying to write some sort of tribute worthy of my brother, my heart directed me to be selfish and speak, not of his history, achievements and accolades, but of my loss, of our almost two-decade old friendship and what his death means to me, how it has impacted me.

Perhaps that was the only way I could organically express the painful knot I felt at the pit of my stomach. I think that if people understood where I was with his passing, they would have a better understanding of who Samuel Ndanusa Isaiah truly was!

…FOR THE DIGNITY OF MY BROTHER/SISTERHOOD WITH SAM AND THE DEEP EMOTION INVOLVED WITH THE LOSS OF MY BEST FRIEND, ‘DEAR SAM’ IS MY WRITE-UP CHOICE OF 2020.’

MOVIE OF THE YEAR: ‘THE FATHER by Florian Zeller,

How does a daughter cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives? In Florian Zeller’s movie, THE FATHER, a woman tries to find a caregiver for her feisty, 80-year-old father as dementia continues to eat away at his memory.

THE FATHER, portrays the terror, fury and anguish of dementia from the inside-out because the story is told from the eyes of Anthony as characters and locations shift and the viewer becomes as muddled as he.

The Father starts out as a deceptively simple drama hinged on a deceptively familiar dynamic. Anne is losing patience with her 80-year-old father, Anthony, whose grip on reality is fading but who refuses to allow a carer to look after him. She’s moving to Paris and needs to ensure his safety while she is away, so before she leaves she must find someone who will endure him.

It’s an ingenious way to convey the horrifying state of mind of someone with dementia, how every day is filled with sudden shocks and how impossible it must be to let someone else understand just what you’re going through. THE FATHER presents a devastatingly empathic portrayal of dementia and is a difficult, often quite brutal, viewing experience.

In the lead role, Anthony Hopkins is astonishing and is likely to claim his second Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021. I honestly can’t see how any other actor could beat him in this role.

 It’s astounding, heart-breaking work, watching him try to rationally explain to himself and those around him what he’s experiencing. It’s breath-taking to watch him here but also incredibly harrowing.

…FOR THE AMAZING, TEAR-JERKING, HARROWING AND INVIGORATING TASK OF WATCHING A MAN RATIONALLY TRY TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF AND THOSE AROUND HIM WHAT HE’S EXPERIENCING AND THE OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE OF ANTHONY HOPKINS IN THE LEAD ROLE, ‘THE FATHER BY FLORIAN ZELLER,’ IS THE MOVIE OF 2020.

********************************

SHOW OF THE YEAR:

‘DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER’

I have watched many crime shows and horror movies, mostly because I struggle to understand what could possibly possess someone to commit atrocities against another human being. I have followed the stories of the scariest and most vicious serial killers in history and, while, I still don’t have an understanding as to what could possibly possess one human being to commit terrible atrocities against another human being, I am still intrigued by the alchemy that drives one to become a killer.

One such killer whose crimes have shocked me since I came across it some years ago is Luka Rocco Magnotta. Luka, once a small time criminal, began pursuing an unsuccessful career as an actor and model, while working as a stripper, escort and appearing in adult movies. His desperation for fame, internet infamy and notoriety led him to kill kittens and circulate the videos online and eventually commit murder, followed by necrophilia and cannibalism. In the story of one of Canada’s most infamous crimes, the murder of Lin Jun by Luka Magnotta is brilliantly told in this show.

Late in 2019, Netflix released a three-part series on the crimes of Luka Magnotta titled, ‘DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER.’ The docu-series gained widespread reach in 2020 and became a hit for the streaming service.

Before he was caught Luka Magnotta became the subject of an international manhunt and it was riveting to see how he was eventually apprehended. The docu-series, which plays between true crime and action thriller, was extremely well-directed and follows the story chronologically in exacting detail.

…FOR ITS DECONSTRUCTION OF THE PSYCHE OF AN INTERNET KILLER, THE DAZZLING, ADRENALINE-RUSH, FILLED WITH SUSPENSE THE SHOW PROVIDES AND BEING ONE OF THE MOST COMPELLING TRUE CRIME DOCUSERIES THAT I HAVE WATCHED LATELY, ‘DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER IS THE SHOW OF 2020.’

****************************************************************

SONG OF THE YEAR:

‘JARUMAR MATA BY HAMISU BREAKER’

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While I am not the biggest listener of Hausa Music, I have always appreciated some of the songs and voices of traditional Hausa Music artists such as Mamman Shata. I, especially love the tracks that make use of musical instruments of the alghaita, kakaki, goje and gangan,

Hausa folk music has played an important part in the development of Nigerian Music contributing such elements as the Goje. It is part of the music that introduced the African pop culture genre that is still popular today.

With the expansion of the Hausa Film Industry, a new kind of Urban Hausa Pop, which compliments it, has emerged on the scene. In 2020, a well-known melody by Kannywood vocalist, Hamisu Breaker, from that genre titled ‘Jarumar Mata’ resurfaced and became a huge hit.

Hausa is already quite a euphonious language, so the fusion of it with the meaningful words and emotional melody of the track gave way for a huge hit. My sister loves this song and can play it on repeat… And now I can’t get it off my head.

…FOR THE SONG’S ABILITY TO PUSH AND PULL AT EMOTION AND OFFER A PROFOUND APPRECIATION OF SPELLBINDING RHYTHM, ‘JARUMAR MATA BY HAMISU BREAKER IS MY SONG OF 2020.’

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