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2021 started with much uncertainty, with Nigerians having much hope for a better year on the back of a very challenging 2020 that was bedevilled by the COVID-19 pandemic. For so many who have been adapting to the new normal, 2021 was supposed to usher in a fresh start and new opportunities. Every year has its challenges and 2021 is n0 different, however, this year, 2021 presented a lot to smile about. Here are some of the highlights of the year, 2021.

In The Month Of January

Cowrywise Secures $3 Million In Pre-Series A Funding Round Nigeria's Cowrywise raises $3M pre-Series A to scale its wealth management  platform | TechCrunch Cowrywise, one of Nigeria’s leading digital savings and investment startups announced that it has closed a $3 million pre-series A funding round. The funding round was led by Quona Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in growth-stage fintech startups. Ruth Usoro Sets Triple Jump National Record USORO BREAKS 14-YEAR TRIPLE JUMP RECORD - Orange 94.5 FM Nigerian jumper, Ruth Usoro, made history after setting a new National Record in Triple Jump in the Texas Tech Corky Classic. In her first attempt of the year, She hit a remarkable 14.28m distance in the triple jump. Her achievement beat the previous 10-year record of 13.76m set by Nkeiruka Domike. Enyeama Makes CAF Team Of The Decade Former Super Eagles of Nigeria goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, was included by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) in the CAF Team of the Decade, from 2011-2020. ‘It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end’ Odion Ighalo, penned an emotional farewell to his English club, Manchester United, after confirming his departure from Old Trafford on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Ighalo said: ‘It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end. But I give God the glory for helping me fulfil this lifelong dream of putting on a Manchester United shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honour I will forever cherish and be grateful for. To the manager I say thank you for trusting and believing in me when many did not, to my amazing teammates I will miss you guys, it was always fun and a time I look forward to training and spending time with all of you. And I pray we win the LEAGUE and FA Cup this year. To the best fans in the world (the Manchester United fans) we have missed you, but we hear your voices cheering us on from afar, we can’t wait to have you all back on the stands. I’m still and would remain a MANCHESTER UNITED FAN forever. Once a Red, always a Red. Thank you Manchester United and God bless.’ Pope Francis Appoints Bishop Kukah Into Vatican Top Position High profile Nigerian religious cleric, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, was appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery with the main aim of promoting the integral development of human beings. Bishop Kukah alongside others is expected to advise the Pope on how to tackle issues relating to human rights, justice and peace, human trafficking, torture, and more. Biden Campaign Includes Burna Boy In Presidential Inauguration Playlist Burna Boy's Song “Destiny” Featured In Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Inauguration  Playlist (Photos) — Page 134 — Thedistin President-elect Biden’s inauguration playlist was curated by the record label owned by Hollywood Actress, Issa Rae, Raedio and Derrick Jones (popular with the stage name DJ D-Nice) and it included Burna Boy’s track ‘’Destiny’’ from his 2019 album, African Giant. Food Tourism: Fufu’s Gone Global! Videos of foreigners trying out African dishes trended on social media. One of such dishes is fufu. Tik Tokers went on a craze with the #FufuChallenge. Many were ecstatic about adding a new meal to their list of international cuisine conquest. African Edtech Startup uLesson Secures $7.5mn Series A Funding uLesson, the African learning technology platform, closed a $7.5mn Series A round led by Owl Ventures, with inclusion from existing investors, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective and participation from new investor LocalGlobe.

In The Month Of February

2021 Time 100 next Features Five Nigerians Times Magazine released its list of the 100 Next, an expansion of its Time100 franchise. The list celebrates an emerging group of leaders who Time deems to be setting the tone for the future across the world. In only its second year, it features five Nigerians who achieved prominence in the past year: Odunayo Eweniyi and Damilola Odufuwa (founders of Feminist Coalition), Davido, Feyikemi “FK” Abudu, and Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave. Nigerians In Sports: Oshoala Named Best African Woman The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named Super Falcons of Nigeria and FC Barcelona Femini of Spain forward, Asisat Oshoala, as the Best African Woman Player of the Decade from 2011-2020. Blessing Okagbare Breaks Usain Bolt’s Diamond League Record Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare Breaks Usain Bolts Record With "Most Appearance  At The IAAF Diamond League" Nigerian sprinter, Blessing Okagbare entered the Guinness Book of Records after becoming the athlete with the highest appearances in the Diamond League meetings. The record which was previously held by Jamaican sprint king, Usain Bolt, was broken by Okagbare who has participated in 67 IAAF Diamond League events so far. D’Tigers Beat South Sudan To Qualify For 2021 Afrobasket D’Tigers qualified for the 2021 Afrobasket in Rwanda after beating South Sudan 75-70 pts. President Biden Appoints A Nigerian To Lead The USTDA Nigerian-born Enoh Titilayo Ebong was appointed by America’s president, Joe Biden, to lead the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). Omo Ghetto Is The Highest-Grossing Nollywood Movie Of All Tim Funke Akindele's Omo Ghetto becomes highest-grossing Nollywood movie - Kemi  Filani News Omo Ghetto (The Saga) officially became the highest-grossing Nollywood movie of all time after ranking as number one for three consecutive weeks. Stats from the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) reveal that the 2020 comedy film grossed (earned) N468,036,300 within just the first three weeks of its release, beating Kemi Adetiba’s 2016 comedy ‘The Wedding Party‘, which previously held the position with N453,000,000. Sir Shina Peters Ordained a Bishop of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church High profile Nigerian Afro Juju singer, Sir Shina Peters, took a new dimension from music, this time to become a bishop. The legendary musician was ordained bishop of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church in the Iju area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes History As First African And First Women To Lead WTO Women this Week: First Woman Leader of the WTO | Council on Foreign  Relations Nigerian economist and development expert, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, made history on February 15th, 2021, after the World Trade Organization (WTO) confirmed her as its new Director-General. Social Media Trend: #BeLikeNgoziChallenge #BeLikeNgoziChallenge trended all over Twitter in the wake of Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s appointment as WTO Director-General. Netflix Appoints Nigerian As Director Of Payments Netflix announced the appointment of Ebi Atawodi as its new director of payments for Africa.

In The Month Of March

Super Eagles Travel By Water For The First Time In 71 Years The Super Eagles of Nigeria made history on Friday, March 26, 2021, after travelling to the Republic of Benin through a boat trip for their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against their West African neighbours. The last time the three-time African champions travelled by water was over 71 years ago in 1949 when the Colonial Eagles visited Liverpool for a tour. Super Eagles Qualify For AFCON 2022 The Super Eagles of Nigeria qualified for the continental showpiece slated for Cameroun, next year, 2022 even without kicking a ball in their remaining two AFCON qualifier matches against Benin Republic and Lesotho on the 27th and 30th of March 2021 respectively. 15-Year-Old Faith Odunsi Wins Global Mathematics Competition How I defeated UK, US, Chinese pupils, others at global maths competition – 15-year-old Nigerian - Punch Newspapers 15-year-old Nigerian mathematician. Faith Odunsi, joined the list of prominent Nigerians who have been flying the country’s flag high on the global stage after defeating competitors from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and America to win the Global Open Mathematics Tournament. Burger King Launch In Nigeria Popular American multinational hamburger fast-food chain, Burger King, made public its interest to launch outlets in Nigeria. Flutterwave Secures Series C Funding, Breaks 1 billion Dollar Valuation Hurdle Flutterwave announced that it had closed its latest funding round-a Series C- having secured $170 million. This is coming exactly a year on from the $35 million Series B raise in 2020. The latest round was led by New York-based private equity outfit, Avenir Growth Capital and hedge fund giant and private equity firm, Tiger Global. Other participators include Greysoft Capital, DST Global, Tiger Management, WorldPay and Salesforce Venture. The latest funding round has seen the African payment provider’s valuation top $1 billion. Teju Ajani Joins Apple As Managing Director For Nigeria Teju Ajani was announced by Apple as the new country manager and she will in particular supervise sales and business development, directly. Kudabank Secures Another $25 Million KudaBank has now secured $25 million in Series B funding round. The latest funding round was led by Valar Ventures and Target Global as well as a number of other unnamed investors, corporate and individual. In November of 2020, Kuda secured Series A funding to the tune of $10 million. Emmanuella Wins Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Emmanuella clinched the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. She won the award by beating off competition from fellow compatriots, Ikorodu Bois in the Favourite African Social Media Star category. Wizkid And Burna Boy Win Their First Grammy Awards Burna Boy, Wizkid Release New Collaboration 'B. d'Or': Listen – Billboard Nigerian singers, Ayo Ibrahim Balogun, professionally known as Wizkid and Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (Burna Boy) both bagged their first Grammy awards on the 14th of March 2021. Not bereft of its challenges, however, 2021 has presented things to smile about in the first quarter. Hopefully, the second quarter gifts us more to smile about.

In The Month Of June

Twitter Nigeria Twitter removes one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets and briefly suspended his account, leading to the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 2021 BET Awards Burna Boy won the Best International Act Award at the 2021 BET Awards held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. He was pitched alongside fellow Nigerian, Wizkid.

In The Month Of August

Akwa United Win First NPFL Title Nigeria Professional Football League side, Akwa United, made history on Sunday, August 1, 2021, after winning the Nigerian league for the first time in the club’s history. A 5-2 thumping of MFM FC in Uyo on Sunday gifted them the title for the 2020/2021 season. Made In Lagos Wizkid’s album, Made In Lagos, made the number one spot on the Billboard World Album Chart, ten months after it was released. King Of Boys The much-anticipated movie, ‘King Of Boys: The Return Of The King’, was released.

In The Month Of September

D’Tigress Win Third Consecutive AfroBasket Title   The Nigerian women’s national basketball team, D’Tigress, made the headlines on Sunday, September 26, 2021, after winning the FIBA Women’s Afrobasket Championship for the third consecutive time. D’Tigress beat Mali 70-59 to be crowned champions of the 2021 edition.

In The Month Of October

The Harder They Fall Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song was included in the soundtrack of the Hollywood movie, ‘The Harder They Fall’. #EndSARS/#LekkiMassacre The one year anniversary of the #LekkiMassacre was commemorated all over Nigeria. On the 20th of October 2021, Nigerians, defying all odds, took to the streets, again to make their voices heard.

In The Month Of November

Grammy Awards

Five Nigerians were nominated for the 2022 Grammy Awards. Femi Kuti, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Made Kuti, and Tems have all been nominated. Femi Kuti and his son, Made Kuti, were both nominated in the Best Global Music Album and Best Global Music Performance category. Wizkid and Tems, on the other hand, were nominated in the Best Global Music Performance Category alongside Femi Kuti, Burna Boy, and Angelique Kidjo. Davido Gives 250 Million Naira Donations To Orphanages Davido gave out all the monies from the donations made on his birthday to orphanage homes and foundations across Nigeria with an additional 50 million Naira from his personal coffers. Totalling the whole money to 250 million Naira. Nigerian Football Federation The Nigerian Football Federation decided to part ways with former Head Coach, Gernot Rohr after five years. In the absence of a permanent Head Coach, Augustine Eguavoen was appointed as the interim Head Coach of the Super Eagles. #LekkiMassacre The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry presented its report on the #LekkiMassacre and other #EndSARS related matters to the Lagos State Government.

In The Month Of December

Chess In Slum Africa
Children In Nigeria's Slum Are Finding Solace Through Chess - HumAngle Media
HumAngle
19-year-old boy, Adeoye Fawaz, who worked as a bus conductor to survive and has been living under the Oshodi bridge all his life had his life transformed for good when he emerged as the Oshodi Chess In Slum Champion. Featured Image Source: The Japan Times
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This article was first published on 30th December 2021

chidozie-ahaneku

I am a poet. I am a moderate thinker who abhors radicalism on every front and believes that most things are relative. I am a social and political critic. I love writing, reading and international politics.


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