A LOOK AT ALL THE REASONS WHY WE WON’T FORGET 2020 IN A HURRY

A LOOK AT ALL THE REASONS WHY WE WON’T FORGET 2020 IN A HURRY

In the trailer of some Real Housewives of something-something, one of the women can be heard saying something about how she is so done with 2019, and that 2020 is surely going to be the best year ever.

LOL!

That season was clearly filmed in January, because if 2019 was a blockbuster movie of memorable moments, then 2020 is that Game of Thrones episode that everyone can’t stop talking about, even months and months after it’s aired. This year showed us why it’s a decade-starter, and there are many, many, many reasons why we won’t quickly forget it.

 

1. Remember The Time Meghan Markle Said “Boy, Bye” To The Royal Family?

If ever there was a hint 2020 gave us as to what it had in store for us, it’d be the time when the Sussexes sashayed out of Buckingham Palace in January, with Meghan Markle giving her British haters a middle finger so fierce, it’s still burning in their hearts twelve months later. They’ll probably hate her forever, but the (former?) Duchess of Sussex is happily raising her son in America, chasing her bag and not giving a fuck.

“There’s always going to be naysayers,” Markle said in a September interview for Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit. “…the moment that you’re able to be liberated from all of these opinions of what you know to be true, then I think it’s very easy to just live with truth and authenticity. And that’s how I choose to move through the world.”

Take that, Piers Morgan!

 

2. The Celebrity Deaths That Just Wouldn’t Quit

Tragedy hit in February when the news of Kobe Bryant’s passing in a helicopter crash rocked the world. And with him in the helicopter was his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant. Black Mamba was dead! It was unbelievable! Hollywood grieved. America grieved. The whole world grieved.

But 2020 was not done with us. The year was only starting in its mission to shock us with unexpected losses.

In July, actress Naya Rivera – well known for her significant role as Santana Lopez in the cult TV show, Glee – sacrificed her life for her four-year-old son. The actress disappeared at Lake Piru after she rented a boat with her son, Josey. The little boy told rescuers that he and his mom had gone into the water to swim but she did not return to the boat. A week later, her body was recovered and she was pronounced dead from drowning at the age of 33.

While the world was still reeling from that loss, the following month, tragedy struck again, this time, claiming the life of our very own Wakandan king, Chadwick Boseman. The actor, who had become beloved to the world when he took on the role of Black Panther, had been battling colon cancer since 2016, undergoing multiple surgeries and chemotherapy – and not saying anything about his condition or that he was fighting for his life!

His fight ended in August 28, when his heart stopped beating, an exit from this world that still echoes in our hearts.

And then, in September and October respectively, veteran and senior actors Dianna Rigg (aka Lady Olenna, Game of Thrones’ the Queen of Thorns) and Sean Connery ended their sojourns in the land of the living.

The notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also joined the long list of tragedies we experienced this year, when she gave in to the complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, a major blow, especially because her passing left her seat in the US Supreme Court to be filled by the Trump appointee, Amy Coney Barrett.

 

3. Let’s Not Forget That Utali Ekwensu Confessed To The Murder Of A Gay Man

It feels like a lifetime ago, but in fact, it was just in April when two young men in Anambra were caught trying to get rid of a dead body. And their confession of the murder of the person, who turned out to be a homosexual (and is unnamed and unknown till today), was captured in a video that went viral.

After such a horrific incident, such a bold proclamation of the inhumanity of this society on its LGBT community, do you know what didn’t happen?

A trial and conviction of the criminals!

Do you know what did happen?

The media trying to humanize the criminals!

 

4. But The Law Tried To Convict The Egbeda 57

Yes. Criminals come and go, but the members of the Nigerian justice system become awake and ready to do their jobs when young men are found partying and enjoying life.

For two years, a vindictive justice system dragged 57 men through an unnecessary and dishonest judicial process based on false charges of them being part of a gay initiation ring – a process that achieved nothing but humiliate the defendants and ruin their relations with their communities.

Finally, after two years of a very weak prosecution, in October 27th, the case against the 57 men was struck out.

This was a welcome development, but as noted by The Initiative for Equal Rights, it was disappointing that the case was struck out instead of getting dismissed, as a dismissal means the defendants are free of all charges and the case against them would never be brought up again in any court of law. A strikeout, however, means that they are free to go now, but the police can arrest them again anytime in the future on the same charges.

Here’s to hoping that that future will never come to pass!

 

5. The Pandemic That Humbled The Entire World

The coronavirus pandemic became very much our reality in March. In response to a virus that had started to claim lives at an alarming rate, all the freedoms we’d been enjoying in the first two months of the year were snatched away as civilizations around the world went on lockdown. Life as we knew it changed drastically, triggering unique circumstances that may not have taken place had COVID-19 not happened.

First, President Buhari’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died from coronavirus complications, and Nigerians cheered Ms. Rona for giving the government a lesson on the importance of improving our healthcare.

Secondly, the criminal gang known as One Million Boys terrorized locked down communities in parts of Lagos with armed robbery – until Lagosians began fighting back with jungle justice consequences.

Prophet TB Joshua made a prophecy about rain falling on March 31 to wash away the coronavirus. And even though the rains respected the authority in his prophecy and fell on that day, Ms. Rona refused to be bullied and defied his prophecy, continuing with her reign of terror. TB Joshua has long since informed his lawyers that he won’t be suing Ms. Rona over this blatant disrespect.

Then Pastor Chris Oyakhilome exhibited his foolishness in more ways than one:

– When he argued that coronavirus was just a rise to cover the fact that China was advancing a deleterious 5G network on the rest of the world.

– When he exposed the sinister plot that Bill Gates was scheming to kill Africans with a COVID-19 vaccine.

– When he decried social distancing as a ploy governments around the world are using to destroy families.

– When he insisted that Donald Trump was on the side of Christians, and that his opposition to the Democrats was his contribution to the war against those who rise up against Christianity.

– When he chastised Christians who go to the church with masks, reminding them that Jesus had died and ripped the veil apart – so why commit the sin of veiling yourself in the presence of God?

– When he condemned the Nigerian government for not giving the churches time to pray before convening with the lockdown.

This man was such a spree of idiocy, we had to wonder if he was suffering a COVID-19 complication targeted at his brain.

 

6. Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Many people lied this year. You lied. I lied. Everybody lied. But do you know the difference between your lie and, say, Kanye West’s lie? Well, you didn’t lie against Taylor Swift.

Look, the Kanye-Taylor feud is a beef as old as time, so we are not going to bother getting into that history. But we must point out that at some point in the timeline of this feud, in 2016 precisely, Kanye released a song, Famous, that wasn’t so flattering of Taylor, and she called him out on it. He said he got her approval for the unflattering lyrics. She said he didn’t. Then Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, turned the world upside down when she released the snippet of a video that showed Kanye indeed having a phone conversation with Taylor about the song.

There was catastrophe! The blowback was swift (See what I did there?)! People turned on Taylor. And she was made the Matron Saint of Snakes.

But 2020 had some surprise receipts for us. In March, new footage of that phone conversation was leaked, showing the full 25-minute phone call, which told a very different story from what we knew from the heavily-edited snippets that Kim first presented to the world.

Hardcore fans of either West or Swift may not have their minds changed about who the snake is now. But Swifties claimed some vindication and enjoyed making the #KanyeWestIsOverParty hashtag be one of the top trending global items on Twitter, the way #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty trended the day Kim released her snippets.

But who leaked the 25-minute video and why? Maybe 2021 will provide us with those answers.

 

7. In Case You Forgot, Nigeria Has A Rape Culture

All sorts of nastiness thrived on social media during the ample time that the pandemic afforded us. They say idle minds are the Devil’s workshop; well, the Devil did wonders at his workshop this year, because when actor Yul Edochie made a Twitter post in April, celebrating his daughter’s birthday, the scum emerged in the shapes of men, drooling and thirsting over the teenage girl. These grown-ass men were posting lewd tweets, sexualizing the girl, in a way that is reminiscent of predators circling a young prey, hoping its mother will look away long enough for them to pounce.

On the heels of that, an escalation of some social media bickering led to Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s son, Bello, threaten to gang-rape the mother of the Twitter user he’d clashed with over a political matter.

“Tell your mother I’m passing her to my friends tonight,” he said to his opponent in a private message, before adding an ethnic disparagement: “No Igbo sounds please.”

After the Twitter user made the threat public, the outrage was swift and prolonged, but the moves the El-Rufai family was alleged to have made to block the media from reporting the messy situation and the fact that Bello’s mother, Hadiza El-Rufai, refused to denounce her son’s behaviour is evidentiary of a painful truth: that the Nigerian society is protective of perpetrators of rape.

Because, why else will we be this close to the end of the year and still not know anything about what is going on with the case of the men who were apprehended over the crime of raping and murdering Vera Uwaila Omosuwa back in May?

#JusticeForUwa was a hashtag that trended furiously on social media following the rape and killings of two young women in the space of five days. Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, was raped and brutally assaulted in a church near her home on May 28. She died a couple of days later from her injuries. And another young student, 18-year-old Barakat Bello, died on June 1 after reportedly getting raped during a robbery in her home, her killers butchering her with machetes.

In August, six suspects were apprehended by the Edo Police Command in relation to Vera’s murder. The suspects – Nelson Ogbebor, Akato Valentine, Tina Samuel, Mary Ade, Nosa Osabohien and Collins Ulegbe – confessed to killing Vera for ritual purposes.

As of today, there are no reports of any prosecution of these animals. Remember Utali Ekwensu? Does this sound familiar?

 

8. Kito Has Become Institutionalized In Nigeria

Police brutality took on a new face when the men of law and order in Benin turned their homophobia into an unabashed sting operation that targeted the gay community in Benin. They ambushed and arrested young men whose only crimes were that they were connected to someone they’d earlier arrested for being gay. At the height of the nationwide lockdown, a period that was supposed to afford Nigerians the moments to reflect on their humanity, these uniformed criminals weaponized their homophobia against Nigerian people who simply wanted to live. By the time human rights organizations started getting involved with the situation, it was being reported that a police chief had threatened that he would do everything in his power to hunt down the gays.

In fact, Edo State appears have turned homophobia into a fine art. In September, the state conducted its gubernatorial elections, where the frontrunners were the incumbent PDP governor, Godwin Obaseki and APC’s Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Ahead of the September 19 election, the campaign got shockingly ugly as an infomercial calling out Obaseki for being a homosexual began circulating on WhatsApp. Whoever sponsored this infomercial didn’t even want to be subtle; the purveyors of the video could be heard repeatedly calling Obaseki a “man-to-man governor” who has a “contract wife” and is carrying on with an illicit affair with his personal assistant who hails from Delta State.

In the end, Obaseki emerged the winner of the election with 57.3% of the votes.

What a lesson on how homophobia breeds losers.

 

9. 2020, The Year Of Simi’s Homophobia and Repentance

The Nigerian entertainment industry is littered with celebrities who court relevance by dumping on the LGBT community. From comedians such as AY and Williams Uche Mbah to actors like Gideon Okeke and Uche Maduagwu, we have no shortage of celebrities who can’t resist the urge to publicize their bias and ignorance at the expense of our community.

When, in May, singer Simi went on her Youtube show, Stoopid Sessions, to express a stupid opinion about gay people, there was outrage, as evidenced in the backlash that followed after. Much to many people’s dismay, the usually strong advocate for feminism had apparently joined the burgeoning list of trashy Nigerian celebs.

However, what no one and their lesbian grandmother saw coming was Simi’s apology. In August, the singer tweeted a statement, apologizing to the Nigerian LGBT community.

“Nobody deserves hate like you’re often given,” she said. “Nobody should have to live in fear… It was not my intention to hurt you, but I did and I’m sorry.”

 

10. The World Decided To Cancel The Un-cancellable JK Rowling

“People who menstruate”… That was the latest label being ascribed to cisgender women in an opinion article about global health which provoked the withering irritation of the once-universally-celebrated author, JK Rowling, in June. And in response, she tweeted the words that ignited a war that is yet to abate: “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

The backlash that descended on the Harry Potter author happened with the kind of fury that would have decimated a lesser mortal. But this is JK Rowling – the woman who helped The Boy Who Lived defeat He Who Must Not Be Named.

She has since doubled down on her comments with an essay about sex and gender; maintained a dignified silence in the face of the vicious #RIPJKRowling trend that swept through Twitter; returned a human rights award to the group that condemned her as being transphobic; released a bestseller book that reignited the anti-trans row over allegations that she wrote a cross-dressing serial killer into the book; had her essay nominated for a BBC award; and got the approval of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who thought her essay was “a perfectly reasonable piece.”

All this in the space of six months!

Phew! Busy woman, wouldn’t you say?

 

11. Gabon Said It’s Okay For Gay People To Have Sex

While Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda are vying for which African nation is the most homophobic, Gabon, in July, took a major step in favour of progression when the country voted to repeal a 2019 law that criminalized same-sex relationships.

“This critical win for basic human rights gives us reason to hope for more awareness and more victories across the continent,” said the Human Rights Campaign president, Alphonso David in reaction to Gabon’s move.

You hear that, Nigeria? The African continent will give her LGBT people their victories, and you will be a part of that moment, whether you like it or not.

 

12. Remember That Time “Entanglement” Became A Brand New Word?

We were minding our business, trying to stay safe in the corona-ridden times of the month of July – when R&B singer, August Alsina gave an interview to promote his then new album, The Product III: State of EMERGEncy. He talked to Angela Yee of The Breakfast Club about how he’d had a past relationship with actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, a relationship he said even got the blessing of Jada’s husband, Will Smith.

As the world was buzzing over the spilled tea, Jada took to her show, Red Table Talk, with Will to address the situation, describing what she had with august as “an entanglement”.

That word quickly assumed a life of its own; it became so big a moment that even August had to cash in by dropping a track titled – you guessed it – Entanglements.

Has anyone checked to see if any of these dictionary institutions has updated the definition of the word?

 

13. History Was Made In The African LGBT Books With Pride Afrique

Forget whatever you may have heard of the mess that some people tried to pull off as the “first ever pride event in Lagos”.

Pride Afrique, the virtual event that took place in August, became the first of its kind for Africa, a three-day inaugural event that celebrated Africa’s diverse and colourful community of sexual minorities. Against the backdrop of a continent stacked with nations that are heavily prejudicial toward LGBT people, it was very important to throw the light on us.

The multimedia celebration of Africa’s rainbow of queer communities was held virtually over three days, amid restrictions across the globe that prohibited large gatherings, and thousands of people tuned in digitally.

It was a celebration, one we hope will grow from strength to strength in the upcoming years.

 

14. And So, Nigerians Finally Had Enough

October 2020 marked a turning point in the Nigerian society as we knew it. Before that month, #EndSARS was a social media rumbling, a mere hashtag that seemed to be going nowhere.

But the far-reaching Black Lives Matter protests, which started in June after the murder of George Floyd in America, had laid out a blueprint that was ultimately going to light up in countries where police brutality is a thing.

And Nigeria established itself as a nation furiously determined to say with one voice: “END SARS!”

After several incidents of police brutality characterized by harassment, robbery, false arrests and rape, among other vices, plus the many times the government had promised to check the excesses of the criminal anti-robbery unit, Nigerians had finally had enough.

And a vast majority all over the country left the social media and took to the streets to exercise the power of the people.

It was beautiful.

It was loud.

It was hopeful.

It refused to be intimidated.

It was oftentimes problematic – what with the homophobia that reared up its ugly head over the visible inclusion of the gays.

But it was there. It was present. And hopefully, it’s not going away.

2020 gave us that gift.

And for that and many other things that this year has done to and for us, we shall not soon forget it.

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3 Comments

  1. Delle
    December 30, 13:00 Reply

    We need to know the Author of this amazing piece! 😍😍😍

    Chris Oyakhilome is daft shaa.

    Corona, EndSARS and Bozeman’s death were the highlight for me this year.

  2. Legalkoboko
    December 30, 18:26 Reply

    This piece beautifully sums it up. Well written.

  3. Rudy
    January 01, 07:14 Reply

    A vivid compilation of all the crazy events we endured in the past.
    Naya Riveira’s death was heartbreaking in so many ways than one, Kobe’s and his daughter coupled with lockdowns which some of us are still enduring and cases increasing, 2020 couldn’t have exited the door any sooner.
    A better 2021 to all KDians.

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