2016: What a year this has been
2016 has been the most awful and craziest year in recent human history. Hoping 2017 is a far better year.
No word can adequately describe the year 2016 AD. This leap year has been a true oddball and has had more twists and turns as well as shocking events than a season of Game of Thrones.
We have had very high highs and the deepest of lows. 2016 had no balance. It was a year of extremes that challenged your inner core.
2016 is surely one for the history books. It was the year of the underdog. It was the year the impossible became possible right before our very eyes. It was the year when convention was thrown out the window and made experts look like fools. All bets were off in 2016.
If you were a betting man, you would have lost your entire fortune on the US Presidential election. Analysts and experts told us it was Hillary‘s year. Polls told us she was going to win by a landslide. Common sense told us that there was no way an egomaniac was going to be President of the United States.
Well, common sense felt like a fool when Trump won the electoral college votes despite Hillary winning the popular vote by more than 3 million votes.
Donald Trump was the first son, the poster boy of 2016. His victory at the polls perfectly summed up the last 12 months- a bizarre mix of the unimaginable and WTF-moments.
Brexit was a WTF-moment, another shocker that dumbfounded the best of intellectuals. In one day, Great Britain voted itself out of the European Union. With Trump the ruler of the free world and England out of the EU, surely these are the end of days.
Conservatives all over the world won bigly in 2016 and liberals were left scampering with their tales in between their legs. And wait for it…Obama will be leaving. Wails.
What made 2016 so odd was that all that we believed in, what we thought to be true and right were seriously tested and in some cases destroyed.
Terrorism was at its peak this year. 49 people were killed in Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Suicide bombs in Istanbul, Turkey killed 45 people. 77 innocent lives were taken in the Bastille Day truck massacre in Nice, France.
In a seemingly woke world, the bad guys won in 2016. Faith, human kindness and empathy were lost. The change Nigerians voted for 2015 disappeared and this year we found out that things were still the same apart from the defeat of Boko Haram.
The government still doesn’t care about the average Nigerian and nothing has been done about corruption in high places.
It wasn’t all gloom, though. In the world of sports, there were pleasant surprises in 2016.
Leicester City, a team of outcasts and rejected players coached by a man who was seen by many as an unlucky manager did the unthinkable by winning the English Premier League.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool (the top four dogs of British football) were humiliated by a small team that was 14th in the 2014/2015 EPL season.
The following season, their brand of football- a throwback to the pure English style of kick and follow- made them lift the trophy in May 2016, shocking not only the football community but the world as well.
In a reversal of fortunes, the previous champions Chelsea slumped to 10th and fired its most successful manager Jose Mourinho. The Special One‘s story did not end here.
Jose joined arch-rivals Manchester United as manager in the summer. For those who do not know anything about Jose and the Red Devils, the controversial coach joining United is similar to Darth Vader signing up for the Rebel Alliance. Mourinho was/is an opposite of Manchester United’s traditions and philosophy.
In 2016, Mourinho wasn’t the only shocker in the Theatre of Dreams. The prodigal son Paul Pogba came back and re-signed with Red Devils for a sum of £89.3m which made him the most expensive footballer of all time. This expensive move reflects how money has sucked away a lot of the fun in football.
You can add Portugal winning the Euros (sorry Messi) and the Golden State Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA series against the Cleveland Cavaliers as the shocking sports stories of 2016 but in the world of sports, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was the greatest sports story of 2016.
In November, after a 108 year wait the Chicago Cubs were champions. Despite the gloom of 2016, the story of the Cubs was a story of hope and endurance during tough times.
Nigeria had a lot of tough times this year with the recession and the general aloofness of this administration. The President Buhari administration made a lot of gaffes but there was none greater than the first citizen saying his wife belongs in "the other room."
From January 1st, 2016, the Nigerian entertainment was a scene of fights, subs, shades and a whole lot of drama. On New Year’s Day, Don Jazzy and Olamide went at it on live television.
Davido gave us the best pop culture moments of the year when he took shots at Dele Momodu not on one but two tracks. Ice Prince came out on Twitter to defend the honour of his girlfriend and we all watched as Tiwa Savage‘s marriage crashed.
The tech space also got its fair share of global recognition with Nigerian start-up Andela got $24m from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. Speaking of Zuckerberg, our tech guys brought the founder of Facebook to Nigeria where he spoke about more geek stuff and the beauty of Nigerian jollof rice.
2016 being the year of the underdog, a worthy mention has to be given to Linda Ikeji for beating the geeks to it by creating her own social network. Linda Ikeji Social had 50,000 members in its first 48 hours. Say what you about her or the site, remember she was the least qualified to do it but she did it. Fortune favours the bold. Oh, she and Wizkid had a thing this year too.
This strange year took away a lot of our heroes but Mohammed Ali, the charming and super cocky boxing champion is top of the list. Nobody wanted to see Ali go but the champion had fought a long and brave battle with Parkinson’s Disease. When he died, the world paid respects to one of the greatest sportsmen and human beings to have walked this earth.
2016 will be over in less than 72 hours. It is our sincere hope that this year has no more surprises for us. 2017 should be a more positive year for not only us but the world in general. Human empathy and kindness should rule again and the bad guys should take a serious beating next year. We want no curve balls and surprises we can’t deal with in 2017.
Happy New Year in advance.