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The 12 biggest events that defined Nigeria in 2023

This is a breakdown of the biggest events in Nigeria by month in 2023.

These are the events that defined Nigeria in 2023

Many events defined the past year for the country and we've compiled the 12 most significant ones according to each month of the year they happened.

This is a breakdown of the biggest events in Nigeria by month in 2023.

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Nigerians started the year in distress that was artificially manufactured by Godwin Emefiele who was the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the time. In his attempt to solve many problems, including political ones that were not even his business, he engineered the redesign of the ₦1,000, ₦500, and ₦200 currency notes. But he failed to supply enough of these new notes, starving Nigerians of cash to spend in the new year. Many of them spent fruitless hours at ATMs nationwide and tensions boiled over and turned into protests where a few people died. It was not the best way to start the year, and the policy was eventually reversed.

After another four-year journey around the electoral sun, Nigerians got a fresh opportunity to elect their leaders at the polls. The presidential and National Assembly elections happened on February 25 and the governorship elections in 28 states and state legislative elections in all states happened on March 18.

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After days of anticipation and counting of votes, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the presidential election. The two closest runners-up, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, contested the result but ultimately failed in petitions that were thrown out at the Supreme Court in October. Tinubu took the oath of office on May 29 after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari.

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17 years after Nigeria conducted its last housing and population census, 2023 appeared to be the year to finally do a fresh one, especially since the National Population Commission (NPC) sounded very serious about it. However, the outgoing President Buhari postponed the exercise, scheduled for May, indefinitely and it did not happen until the year ended. Maybe 2024 is the lucky year Nigerians will find out the actual number of people in the country.

Hilda Baci, a Lagos-based chef entered the kitchen to break the record for the longest cooking marathon which stood at 87 hours and 45 minutes when she started. Hilda later finished cooking with a recognised time of 93 hours and 11 minutes, cheered on by the goodwill of Nigerians online and offline. The virality of her feat was so immense that the Guinness World Records is still dealing with the flurry of people also trying to snag one record or the other.

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In one of Nigeria's biggest tragedies of the year, an overloaded boat transporting wedding guests in Kwara State capsized. At least 108 people were confirmed dead and many are still unaccounted for.

After a less-than-stellar season the previous year, the popular Big Brother Naija reality TV show returned in 2023 with an all-stars season that brought back housemates from previous seasons. The move paid off, and fans enjoyed an explosive show that ended with Ilebaye winning the grand prize in October.

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Since he made his big break, Asake has been the toast of the Nigerian music industry, and he capped his hot streak in 2023 with a headline show at the prestigious O2 Arena in London, earning rave reviews for his performance.

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The Nigerian music industry was thrown into a state of shock when Street Hop sensation, Ilerioluwa "Mohbad" Aloba, suddenly died on September 12 due to a medical incident. The tragedy sparked a wave of protests across the country with many Nigerians demanding a closer look into the circumstances of his death, especially based on reported maltreatment by his former label, Marlian Music, led by Naira Marley. The police identified five major suspects in the case, but they are yet to be charged in court.

Afrobeats shining young prince, Rema, made history when he performed at the year's glossy Ballon d'Or ceremony surrounded by the world's biggest football stars. It was the first time an African artist had performed at the ceremony and one of the year's crowning moments for the Mavin star.

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While Nigerians were still reeling from Mohbad's death, the announcement of the unfortunate passing of Oladipupo "Oladips" Oladimeji, another rising star, hit a nerve. But the feeling of grief turned into confusion when unconfirmed reports indicated he was still alive, and his management continued to promote his album, which launched a couple of days after his "death," without further updates about burial arrangements. The rapper "resurrected" after a week with a bucket of explanations, but he already lost the angry Nigerian public by that point.

The final month of the year was a very grim one for the country, starting with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) accidentally bombing a civilian community in Kaduna and killing more than 100 people. Over 100 people also died in a string of attacks by gunmen in Plateau State towards the end of the month, around the same time the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, lost his battle with prostate cancer while receiving treatment in Germany.

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