An array of events have shaped our lives this year; some good while others bad. The good ones have left us motivated to reach for even greater heights and the bad ones have left us even stronger in our resolve to face and beat back adversities. As the countdown to 2012 begins, we cast our mind back to the major events that have affected our lives this year. They range from entertainment trailblazing and events that occurred to business triumphs and the people behind them. Our lives could not have been the same without these people that affected it and helped shape it in part. Public personalities had a major bearing on the kind of outlook we possessed. Undoubtedly the biggest issue on the political front was the passing of the Prohibition of same-sex marriage bill by the Nigeria Senate. Ordinarily, the elections would have been the biggest issue this year on the political front but it takes a back seat due to this bill. A lot of mixed reactions followed the passing of the bill but the Senate did not foresee the caustic criticisms that came with the reactions. Even though the law is reason devoid of emotions; I understand only too well the excerption that the passed bill creates. Admittedly, the question of gay union borders on societal interactions thus, making a bill prohibiting such union a socio-political one and open to emotional outpourings. Popular social media commentatorsgave their voices against the bill passed, condemning it as either “misplaced priority” or “a poor attempt to win public favour and trust” and terribly missing on what is right and just. Few peopleexpressed commendation for the bill even though a large percent of Nigerians support this position.  What can be drawn from all this is, Nigerians now possess an increased sense of awareness and are ready to press home their desires. The social media provided a viable platform where show of support for popular opinions is expressed.  Very little would go wrong in our society without public notice and reactions trailing and policies that did not serve the public were questioned and challenged and largely overturned. As a result, government has become more cautious and detailed, thus accountable in the process of governance.  This is a laudable positive step. The elections this year were of note especially after the tribunals and court cases were concluded. There has been a shift on who reins power, at least at the state level. The south west states swept the poll to gain full control on all the states comprising it. This showed that there is an ideology Nigerians want more proactive and reliable leaders. There had been a lot negative forecast, trailing Goodluck Jonathan’s candidacy as the flag bearer of the PDP, as to what the outcome of the elections would bring. For a nation’s whose democratic system is yet to be perfected, we held our breath as these events played out. Still our political entity stands and we are grateful. The major event that has shaped society on security and continues to be disturbing is the Boko Haram menace that, alarmingly, the government has been unable to curtail. The Terrorist group’s attack on Nigeria reached the height of impunity when the Police headquarters in Abuja was bombed on the 16th of June and very little was learnt from that experience. The U.N building, also in Abuja, was attacked on the 26th of August and this has been followed by a series of random attacks in different parts of northern Nigeria. We are always a step behind and if asked where and when the next attack might occur, my guess is as good as the governments. The inadequacies and lapses of security agencies in handling this are worrisome to say the least. The question that needs an answer is whether our security agencies have the requisite know-how to tackle the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist sect. On the international scene, even though few would agree with me, the ouster and prosecution of Hosni Mubarak and the deaths of Osama Bin Laden, Moamar Ghadaffi, and Kim Jong II marked a memorable event for all countries facing the threat of terrorism. As Nigerians, we are strengthened by these events in our resolve against the fight of tyranny and oppression. There is hope then that Boko Haram would be a thing of the past. Another event worthy of note, even though on the environmental front, was the torrential rains that swept through most parts of the country of which Lagos was most affected. The resultant flood was unprecedented and there were casualties. What seems to be the theme in most cities in Nigeria is environmental degradation and dumping of refuse in drainages which leads to flooding. This occurrence highlighted the environmental challenges we face and the unpreparedness of government, also in this regard, especially now in the face of global climate change. We hope in the New Year, measures would be put in place to adequately foresee climate and tackle the throwback effects of what it brings. The Economic year ends however, on the note of uncertainty as there is an impending issue on the removal of subsidy on petroleum products by the federal government. The effects this would have on businesses and the economy would be numerous. A date is yet to be fixed for the subsidy removal and this is due, more out government’s fear of a strike action by Nigeria Labour Congress rather than its unpreparedness to cushion the effect of the subsidy. The announcement of the proposed subsidy removed has done quite some damage by placing an uneasy strain on the economy. The federal government insists that this is the way to steer the economy to greater heights. While this seems unlikely and labour holds firm on its threat of strike action should the subsidy be removed, we cannot help but wonder what 2012 would bring with this peek preview stirring us up. Very little changed in business with regard to the strata of corporate organizations in Nigeria and internationally. While Alhaji Dangote retained the title of “richest man in Africa” our economy, ironically, seemed to suffer the more. The cost of living and inflation rate rose daily and we were left at the whims of the market index. Unemployment rate rose to an alarming level and this brought the issue of the lack of foresight for job creation as major challenge. Everything that would add to make an economy soar seems to be neglected or maybe even unnoticed. We were left with even more promises of change like the past governments had made. A real promise however, came from two the innovativeness of medium scale businesses in Nigeria that helped give value to our dwindling economy. They are Chocolate City Group, Abuja and Pepperoni Foodsbased in Port Harcourt both of whom where recipients of $ 50,000 each at the African Awards for Entrepreneurship. This was the high point on business in Nigeria for the year amongst the take overs and acquisition in the bank sector. This feat gives impetus to the several medium scale businesses across the nation and reinforces the notion that the sky truly can be the limit. We reserve our skepticism as to whether the seemingly tunnel vision 20: 20:20 would affect viable result on the economy especially with partial and non-adherence to its policies. With full implementation of economic plans we are hopeful that the New Year would the best ever!   On the entertainment scene, 2011 proved to be the coming of age year for performing artiste both, musicians and movie stars. Shakespeare’s advice -If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On-was heededand boy did our musicians rock! Nigerian artistes that have been around for a while and the newcomers came ofage, maintaining the strong presence we have had in Africa and the world with no exception. The most impact of which came from the Chocolate City Crew to Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Ice Prince, anda host of others. If you had any doubts previously about the new comers, they got erased.  The veterans did not rest on their laurels; reacting to keen competition with even more ingenuity, flare and class, with Tuface, D’Banj and The Mo’Hit Crew, Banky W, P-Square, M.I leading the foray positively. What warms the heart is how closely knitted they all are, this perhaps accounts in part for all the good music. The production of good music by Nigerians has brought about international acclaim and recognition thus the collaboration between D’Banj and Snoop Dogg.  This is the first of its kind between an African and a renowned American rapper. In addition Akon, another American of African descent, recently signed P-Square, Wizkid and Tuface on to his Konvict Muzik Record Label as representatives. It has really been a good musical year for Nigeria. We expect more good stuff next year. The most impact made from the entertainment scene however, was arguably the film “Damage” by Uche Jumbo, where she uncannily depicts the genesis and effects of domestic violence and spousal abuse on children. The film is the first of the trilogy she intend s to shoot. It would be followed by two sequels: “My Life My Damage” and “My Country Their Damage”. Uche managed, and remarkably so, to show her audience the effects of abuse without being cliché. Nowadays we rarely see films employ didacticism needlessly, thus straining ad nauseum the moral it seeks to teach. I must say we look forward to the next sequel. In all we are grateful to God for the gift of life and another opportunity to see a new day, a new year. We promise to make the best of this opportunity by serving you even better. Happy New Year!

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This article was first published on 31st January 2012 and updated on June 1st, 2012 at 8:42 pm

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