FlashBack: “Sex For Grades”, Phantom Presidential Wedding, Mercy Lambo and Other News Highlights Last Week


The just concluded week was replete with big talking points that easily eclipsed other events that happened simultaneously during the week. The BBC’s #SexForGrades documentary, Mercy (Lambo) Eke’s victory at the Big Brother Naija Season 4 and the ‘Phantom Presidential Wedding’ that ‘took place’ on social media dominated the public space both physical and virtual. However, The Politico reminds you of some news highlights that attracted huge attention last week.


1. Mercy Won Big Brother Naija Season 4

The week began with the razzmatazz of the last eviction night of the Big Brother Naija season 4 reality show on Sunday. After 99 days of the show, 26-year old Mercy Eke emerged winner of the #PepperDem edition as she garnered 41.77% of votes cast to beat Mike who got over 19% of the votes to place second. Mercy went home with N60m worth of prize as many netizens reacted to her victory as the first female to emerge winner in the show.


2. Buhari Presented 2020 Appropriation Bill to Senate

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presented 2020 Budget to a joint session of the National Assembly. He proposed N10.33 trillion as the aggregate expenditure for the Federal Government in 2020. The budget tagged “Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation” is N1.4tn higher than the N8.9tn approved by the Federal legislatures. Ministry of Works and Housing is proposed to have the highest allocation of N262bn followed by Power, Transportation and Defence with N123bn, N112bn and N100bn, respectively. However, the People’s Democratic Party said the budget was skewed to serve the rich while the ruling All Progressives Congress applauded the President.


3. BBC #SexForGrades Documentary Triggered Outrage


The week was dominated by the reactions that trailed the documentary released by the British Broadcasting Corporation Africa where lecturers in University of Lagos and University of Ghana were implicated in an undercover investigation of lecturers demanding sex from female students to give academic favours in return. Two lecturers from Unilag, Dr Boniface Igbeneghu and Dr Samuel Oladipo were indicted while Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor were implicated in the University of Ghana. The video caused uproar on social media as many users condemned the lecturers’ behaviour while some ladies also shared their experience of sexual harassment by randy lecturers on campuses. Of course, the last has not been heard about the saga as the two institutions have suspended the lecturers and set up panels to probe the allegations.


4. Presidential Wedding that Never Held

The social media was awash with the rumor that President Muhammadu Buhari was set to take a second wife last Friday as many Twitter and Facebook users gave the fake news prominence. Arguably, the rumor was one of the most discussed topics on Twitter last week under series of hash tags; #PresidentialWedding #BUSA19 and #BuhariWedding. The originator of the fake news had alleged that President Buhari was to tie the knot with Hajia Sadia Umar Farouq, the current Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management at Friday’s Jumat service. The News Agency of Nigeria reported that there were many worshippers, who were hoping to witness the ‘wedding’ at the Central Mosque, FCT, on Friday. The wedding report however turned to be a phantom.


5. Nobel Prize Winners Emerged

Winners of the prestigious Nobel prizes were named last week to honour people who have contributed exceptionally to their areas of specialization. Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr Abiy Ahmed was named the winner of 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the two decade long land dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In an unusual fashion, the Swedish Academy awarded simultaneously the 2018 and 2019 winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk and Austrian novelist and playwright Peter Handke respectively. Winners were also named in Chemistry, Physics and Physiology.


6. The World Celebrated International Day of the Girl Child

Since 2012, October 11 has been set aside as the day to create awareness and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. 2019 edition of the Day of the Girl Child was celebrated around the world on Friday which afforded many the opportunity to call for concerted effort in ensuring gender equality in society. This year’s theme was “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.”


7. Dino Melaye Lost at Appeal Court

Senator representing Kogi West at the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, again lost at the sppellate court as his bid to upturn the verdict of the Elections Petitions Tribunal, which ordered a fresh election in the Senatorial district, suffered a setback. The tribunal had ruled in favour of APC candidate, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, which prompted Melaye to appeal the judgment. The Appeal Court, however, upheld the judgment of the tribunal which nullified the election of PDP’s Melaye and ordered INEC to conduct fresh election within 90 days of its judgment.


8. Buhari, Jonathan Met in Aso Villa

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday was the guest of his successor, President Buhari at the Aso Rock. The pictures and video clips of the duo in a friendly and ecstatic mood circulated in the media before they went into a closed door session for a meeting. Jonathan did not reveal the details of their meeting to journalists on his way out of the villa. The former president, was visiting the Presidential Villa for the fifth time since the swearing-in of the Buhari administration, and he was last seen in the State House in 2016.


9. Turkey Began Military Offensive in Northern Syria

Turkey last week began a military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Northeastern Syria in what many analysts have described as another act that will further destabilise the politically unstable country. Turkey President, Recepp Tayyip Erdogan had ordered the military operation following US President Donald Trump withdrawal of American troops from the region. Erdogan said the operation was to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across Turkey’s southern border, and to bring peace to the area. He has been receiving backlash for his action which has led to over 60,000 fleeing their homes. President Trump has also been facing criticisms home and abroad for “abandoning” the Kurdish fighters—American allies—who helped defeat the Islamic State terrorists in the country.


10. 40 Years After, Iranian Women Allowed into Stadium

Iranian women cheer ahead of the World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C qualification football match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2019. – The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums for around 40 years, with clerics arguing they must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men. Women fans are attending the football match freely for the first time in decades, after FIFA threatened to suspend the country over its controversial male-only policy. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

Thursday, 10 October, 2019 will always be a day to remember for women in the Islamic Republic of Iran for the landmark event in the country. For the first time in 40 years, women were allowed into stadium to watch men’s football following pressure from the world football governing body, FIFA, and human right groups. The attention of the international community was drawn to the conservative law of the Islamic country banning women from entering stadiums to watch men’s football when a female fan, Sahar Khodayari, immolated herself last month to avoid being put in jail for six months by the Islamic Revolutionary Court for trying to enter a stadium dressed as a man. However, over 3,000 women filled a special women-only section to watch their national team wallop Cambodia 14-0 on the first day they watched from the pavilion of Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.