WE HAD high hopes, visions and expectations as the year was ushered in. Some glittering events were slated to take place; such as the Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020.
With hope and vision into 2020 as a new year, the world was elated but oblivious of what was in store. The year was defined by COVID-19 pandemic amongst other events which impacted on the lives of people around the world.
The year presented political, social and cultural upheaval across the world.
From a global health pandemic, ASUU strike, #EndSARS protests, herdsmen killings, kidnapping, injustice, increasing volatile climate, the impact of 2020 will be felt for some time to come.
The coronavirus pandemic which is still ongoing is unarguably the biggest happenings of 2020.
It was first identified in December, 2019, in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern in January, 2020, and a pandemic in March, 2020.
The first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria was confirmed on February 25, 2020.
The pandemic caused global social and economic disruptions. It led to the cancellation of events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, agricultural disruptions and food shortages.
An event that was associated with COVID-19 was looting of COVID-19 warehouses in some states.
Palliative was one of the most used word in 2020 as countries sought for assistance to help quell the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike was an ugly event in year 2020.
The union had gone on strike all to the successive governments’ inability to improve on the educational system and meet their demands for funding for revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, visitation panels to universities and renegotiations of 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement.
On March 9, 2020, ASUU began two weeks warning strike to protest non-payment of salary to lecturers and went on indefinite strike on March 23, 2020.
ASUU called off its nine months strike on December 23, 2020.
While still in the midst of the pandemic and ASUU strike, the #EndSARS protests crippled activities in Nigeria in year 2020.
The protest with the hashtag #EndSARS culminated into an international cry and movement against police brutality and injustice in Nigeria.
The protest saw young Nigerians take to the streets protesting for the disbandment of the police unit known as Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) that have been accused of kidnapping, murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, humiliation, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings and extortion of Nigerian citizens.
#EndSARS protests which started in Lagos on October 8, 2020, took place in several cities across Nigeria and gained international attention with similar demonstration organised by Nigerians in the Diaspora.
The hashtag #EndSARS became the number one trend on social media and also sparked reactions from public figures.
The protest came to a climax in what has been tagged “Lekki Massacre” on the night of October 20, 2020.
Kidnapping of school children was an unhealthy event in 2020. On December 11, 2020, over 300 pupils were kidnapped from a boys’ secondary boarding school on the outskirts of Kankara, Katsina State. A gang of gunmen on motorcycles attacked the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara. On December 17, 2020, the boys were released.
With these events in 2020 in Nigeria, the year was also characterised by economic crunch fuelled by increase in electricity tariff, fuel price and value added tax leading to price increase of goods and services.
In the foreign scene, there were also notable events that took place in year 2020.
The United States of America had its presidential election through physical presence and postal means. The election saw Mr Joe Biden emerge as the 46th president of United States of America.
The Black Lives Matter protest was an event that happened in year 2020.
This protest saw people take to the streets to say enough of systemic racism in USA. This was propelled after the killing of George Floyd.
In May 2020, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police set off movement to dismantle structural racism.
In 2020,” I Can’t Breath”, was a phrase used by African American George Floyd, before his by the police.
In the United Kingdom was the finalisation of the Brexit deal. The year witnessed Britain leaving the European Union.
Also in the foreign scene, we witnessed wild fires in some parts of America, Brazil and Australia. There were also hurricanes.
The year came with the production of multiple vaccines to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic.
The year 2020 has been described s an exceptional year, the year that the world has never witnessed because of global lockdown and its attendant economic, social and psychological tolls on people.
As 2021 comes in, we can only hope for the best. Although things are not exactly back to normal, there’s no way to get back all the lost lives, but we crave change and the New Year gives us hope that we will get just that.