2016 was a significant year for us at Nigeria-Canadian Newspaper. So it was for our countries (Nigeria and Canada) and elsewhere around the world. Our newspaper continues to experience steady growth and recognition around the world. Our coverage and readership also grew along with improvement in our content and quality. To cap it all, our Publisher/CEO, Ngozi Ugoh, was recognized and honoured with the prestigious Media Award of Excellence by the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO), and No Limits Ministry, Brampton, Ontario. Nigerian-Canadian Newspapers was accredited to give full coverage of the world event.
We also covered major news stories in Africa and around the world. Perhaps a few recap will not be out of place. In Nigeria major political developments also took place. President Muhammadu Buhari remains relentless in his war against official corruption which has seen some past and present public office holders including Senate President Bukola Saraki, former Service Chiefs, Ministers and Supreme Court Justices retired and prosecuted for corruption.
The allegation of Budget-padding also pitched President Buhari against members of the National Assembly. The stand-off resulted in the suspension of the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon (Dr) Abdulmumin Jubrin for 180 legislative days. The President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, also publicly fell out with her husband over the latter’s unwillingness to extend political patronage to some sections of his party membership who worked for his election as President. Former President Patience Jonathan’s wife, Patience Jonathan, also feature in the news when her name was linked to a $15 million corruptly laundered money which she claimed belonged to her. The case is still in court.
But it is not all about corruption. Heart-warming news also came the way of Nigeria when 21 of the 276 female students kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State in 2014 were released by the Boko Haram terrorist sect. In the closing days of the year, Nigerian Army announced the defeat of Boko Haram and the recapture of the dreaded Sambisa forest, the operational headquarters of the terrorist sect. The Army also announced the capture of over a thousand soldiers of the insurgent group, a white foreigner believed to be a mercenary and the capture of some of the group’s fleeing commanders.
Also in the year, the Supreme Court of Nigeria nullified an age-old native law and custom in the Igbo ethnic group that forbade female children from inheriting their deceased fathers’ property. By virtue of this ruling, female children in the Igbo ethnic group will now benefit from their deceased father’s property.
Nigerian-born Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye of Texas Children’s Hospital performed a miracle of sorts when he had the fetus of an unborn baby extracted from the mother’s womb, operated on it and then returned it right back to the mother’s womb. The baby was subsequently born healthy through C-section.
And in Canada, Immigration authorities began implementation of a new policy to disallow Canadians with dual citizenship from flying into Canada unless they are carrying their Canadian passport. This policy is the final phase of a planned transition to electronic travel authorization.Obaidullah Siddiqui, an Afgan native on permanent residency status, was stripped of his right to stay in Canada because he had made three trips to his home country since arriving Canada.
Also within the year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau undertook his first African trip with a visit to Liberia and Madagascar where he pledged Canada’s support for democracy, peace and security and gender equality in Africa. Trudeau also signed off on lifting visa requirement for Mexican visitors effective December 1, 2016. The gesture was aimed at deepening ties between Canada and Mexico as well as increase the flow of travelers, ideas, and businesses between both countries, while also preventing the increase in asylum claims and other irregular migration.
We also reported that prior to becoming the leader of the Liberal Party Trudeau hired a nanny under temporary foreign worker program. It will be recalled that Trudeau was a harsh critic of the Harper government for expanding the temporary foreign worker program which he claimed resulted in wage cuts and unemployment for Canadians. Also within the year, one of Trudeau’s cabinet members, Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo quit his cabinet position and the Liberal caucus so as to enable him to have time to deal with addiction problems. And in Ontario, the Liberal Party pledged an estimated $1 billion (about 8 percent) annually in the tax cut on electricity bills to residential consumers.
Still, on Canada, an Ontario Superior Court Justice granted a $12.5 million settlement for unpaid overtime at BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., thus ending an employment class action lawsuit that had lasted for six years.
Finally, on Canada, controversial, brash and strait-talking former Toronto mayor Rob Ford died of cancer at the age of 46. It would have been interesting to know what Ford’s views would have been on the controversial bill seeking to legalize euthanasia (doctor-assisted dying) which was brought before parliament in the course of the year. This bill has predictably split Canadians into proponents and opponents of the bill.
In the United States, a curious outcome emerged for the fifth time in US history as Hilary Clinton, Democratic Presidential nominee, failed to win the race to the White House despite polling superior vote over and above Republican rival Donald Trump in the popular vote.
Also within the year Britain voted in a referendum to exit the European Union (EU). The vote saw David Cameron resign as Prime Minister as he was unable to convince his country to support his stand that the UK should remain in the EU
Finally, America (and Capitalism’s) foremost arch-enemy, Fidel Castro, passed on to the great beyond at the age of 90. Castro was the world’s foremost revolutionary of the 20th Century. He led Cuba from 1959 to 2006 when he handed over to his brother Raul following repeated ill-health.
As the year 2016 comes to an end we are asking what else we can possibly say to our stakeholders. Our special appreciation goes to all our advertisers for their patronage over the years. It is to you that we owe our existence. All we can say is THANK YOU for sticking with us all through these past years; thank you for valuing Nigerian-Canadian Newspaper team and work, for caring about improvement in our publication, and for caring about our community. We hope for more patronage in 2017.
And to our staff, we have no words to qualify your dedication. We appreciate you. Together we hope to take our newspaper to greater heights in the coming year 2017. Thank you and God bless.