It is a year of mixed feeling for the country politically. While som key political figures had their day in the sun, others were not so lucky. Deaths, impeachments, electoral losses and security issues took the shine off the year. ABIODUN ADEWALE AND DAN AJANAKU report.
The year 2012 could be viewed with mixed feelings considering the landmark events that occurred during the past year. Like many other years that came before it, 2012 recorded the good, the bad and the ugly politically.
.The year took off on a dizzying note early in January when the nation was grounded for about one week with the fuel subsidy protests. That followed the January 1 increase of prices of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as Petrol by the Federal Government. Although the protest was later to be interpreted to have political undertone by the government, the protest was a storm that set off the year.
The effects of the protest is still being felt till today as many of the lords of fuel importation are still battling for their political and economic life, with many dragged to the courts for economic crimes.
It also led to the setting up of various committees by the Federal Government on the oil sector, which culminated in the unravelling of billion Dollar scandals in the sector. One of such panels is the now controversial Nuhu Ribadu report which raised so much dust on its authenticity. There was also the probe by the House of Representatives, which metamorphosed into the Farouk Lawan-Femi Otedola Scandal.
Early on February 10, the ruling party at the centre, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, held its national convention. It saw the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the National Chairman and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the National Secretary. The convention capped the congresses of the party that started in January. The convention generated controversies of its own as many candidates were forced to step down for preferred candidates of the party leaders.
One event that shook the nation was the week long funeral rites of leader of the defunct Biafran, leader and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2003 and 2007 elections, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu- Ojukwu.
His remains toured Owerri, Aba, Enugu, Abakaliki and Awka before his burial at his home town of Nnewi, in Anambra State on March 3. That was aside various activities held in other parts of the country and beyond by the Igbo, different state governments and Igbo in the Diaspora. The burial also had a presidential touch as he was buried with full military honours in his Nnewi home town, with President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance.
The political life of the country in 2012 would not be complete without mentioning the Bayelsa State governorship election, the home state of the president. A predominantly PDP state, the war was between the President and the then Governor, Timi Sylva. At the end, the president triumphed and his candidate, a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Seriake Dickson emerged as the flag bearer of the PDP and eventually won the election. Sylva threatened fire and brimstone and is currently being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
After all the campaigns, mudslinging and loss of life that preceded it, the Edo State governorship election took place on July 10. On July 11, the incumbent Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was pronounced re-elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. He defeated his closest challenger, Gen Charles Airhievbare and other candidates to emerge victorious.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Oshiomhole, alleged assassination attempts on him and some of his aides by supposed agents of the PDP. Of course, the election took with it, his Personal Secretary, Olaitan Ojerinde, three journalists and few others.
On October 20, it was the turn of Ondo State. Incumbent Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party, (LP) squared up against the propaganda machinery of the ACN and also the PDP. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN was the candidate of the ACN while Olusola Oke, a former National Legal Adviser of the PDP was the candidate of the PDP. Mimiko beat them and other candidates to achieve a historic second term in office. He was pronounced winner on October 21.
After a failed attempt to register another political party, the United Progreesives Grand Alliance, UPGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie in August scored an ace when he registered a new party, United Progressive Party, (UPP). He has gone ahead to zone the 2015 presidential ticket to the south east.
2012 is also a major year in the issue of Constitution Review by the two chambers of the National Assembly. They want a holistic amendment of the 1999 constitution. Both Houses have held public sessions at both the states, Federal Constituencies and regional levels to aggregate the opinion of the people.
It also had its Gail of impeachments. The former Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Sani Abubakar, was impeached by the members of the state House of Assembly for allegedly abusing his office as deputy governor on October 4. Abubakar had been dropped from the National Merit Award honours list. Also, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Bello Abdullahi was impeached by his colleagues on October 16. The impeachment was believed to have the backing of the state governor, Captain Idris Wada.
Perhaps, the biggest events that shook the nation this year was the involvement of some governors in accidents. The Governor of Taraba Danbaba Suntai is still in a German hospital following injuries he sustained when his private aircraft he was piloting crashed at the Yola airport on October 25.
His four aides who were on board with him sustained very serious injuries. On Saturday, December 15, there was another air crash involving now former Governor of Kaduna State, the late Sir Patrick Yakowa. The crash which occurred in Okoroba, Nembe local government area of Bayelsa State claimed the lives of Yakowa, the immediate past National Security Adviser, late General Andrew Azazi and four others. Yakowa’s former Deputy, Ramahllan Yero has taken over as the governor.
Yet, on December 28, the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Idris Wada was involved in a car crash that left his ADC dead. Wada was flown to Abuja because of injuries he sustained in the crash.
But some other governors are not involved in crashes but have been out of circulation for some months, even though, Governors Sullivan Chime and Liyel Imoke of Enugu and Cross Rivers states are said to have transmitted letters of accumulated leaves to their states Houses of Assembly. Chime has been away since September this year.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the de-registration of 28 political parties and another three in December. The commission said it took the action in exercise of the power conferred on it by Section 7 of the Electoral Act 2011.
Those deregistered include,African Liberation Party (ALP),Action Party of Nigeria (APN),African Political System (APS),Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP), Congress for Democratic Change (CDC),Community Party of Nigeria (CPN),Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA)
Freedom Party of Nigeria (FPN),Fresh Democratic Party (FDP),Hope Democratic Party (HDP),Justice Party (JP),Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria (LDPN),Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ),Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD),Nigeria Advanced Party (NAP), New Democrats (ND),National Majority Democratic Party (NMDP) and National Movement of Progressive Party (NMPP).
Others include, National Reformation Party (NRP),National Solidarity Democratic Party (NSDP),Progressive Action Congress (PAC),Peoples Mandate Party (PMP),Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP),People’s Salvation Party (PSP),Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN),United National Party for Development (UNPD),United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP),African Renaissance Party (ARP),National Democratic Party (NDP) and the National Transformation Party (NTP).
During the year, Nigeria lost some of its notable politicians and elder statesmen, among whom were Dr. Olusola Saraki, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Chief Hope Harriman, among others. In 2012, the country has had to mourn giants in her national life who took the eternal bow.
Lam Onaolapo Adesina, teacher, pro- democracy activist and former governor of Oyo State took his exit in November. He was the former governor of Oyo state and a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria.
In the same month, Justice Kayode Samuel Esho passed on at 87. He was noted as a courageous and upright judge who in the days of the madness and power drunkenness called military rule, looked tyranny in the eye and without blinking, told it the truth.
Among the eminent politicians that passed on were Dr. Olusola Saraki, Second Republic Senate leader and Alhaji Dr. Lateef Adegbite, the former Secretary General of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Also, Senator Gyang Dantong representing (Plateau North, PDP) and honorable Gyang Fulani (Member, House of assembly) representing Barkin Ladi of Plateau State were shot dead by suspected Fulani gunmen. They died during a mass burial for scores of people killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen. Simon Mwadkwon, who is a member of the house of representatives was critically injured during the attack.
Senator Gyang until his death was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health and also a member senate committee on Aviation.
2012 could be described as Boko-Haram year considering the casualties perpetrated by the Islamic sect. Until now, President Goodluck Jonathan is still searching for the terrorists behind Boko-Haram.
Meanwhile, despite the spirited efforts of the Jonathan-led Federal Government to wipe out Boko Haram and its ugly activities from the Nigeria’s system, it is almost impossible for a day to go by without reports of Boko Haram’s deadly attack in one part of the country.
Sustained attacks in Kano, Yobe and Borno states have led to the closure of some police formations because of the high causality figures among the men in black. There has been several attacks at churches, mosques, military barracks, police stations and other formations in 2012. One major bombing was Jos on a Sunday as the group bombed St. Finbars’ Catholic Church. The attack, which came two weeks after a similar one killed three at the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), also in Jos, Plateau State, claimed at least 10 lives.
On Sunday, October 28, it was the turn of St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Kaduna, the Kaduna State capital. About 10 worshippers were killed in the bombing carried out by a lone suicide bomber who drove a bomb-laden vehicle into the walls of the church, as the congregation was about to be served the Holy Communion. More than a hundred worshippers were injured in the incident.
There was also the arrest of a Boko Haram commander, Shuaibu Bama, in the house of Ahmad Zanna, a Senator representing Borno Central in the upper legislative chamber.
Since the sect leader was arrested by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri and Senator Zanna confirmed him to be his nephew, Nigerians are being entertained with cross-allegations between Zanna and former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, on the actual place the sect leader was arrested. Zanna has alleged that Bama was not arrested in his house but that of Sheriff, a claim that Sheriff has disputed.
In the outgoing year, a former old Oyo State governor, Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo, decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). This development generated controversy as it has been described by the immediate past governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, as an inheritance of political liability.
Landmark developments of 2012 cannot be completed without mentioning Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola $620,000 oil subsidy bribe scandal.
Farouk Lawan is said to have wept in one instance when it dawned on him that he had been abandoned by his colleagues to swim alone and was neck deep in the bribery allegation and that it will take close to a miracle to escape the consequences.
In 2012, The Local Government election petition tribunal that looked into the local government elections in Lagos State delivered judgment on some local governments in favour of ACN.
It would be recalled that after losing Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the ruling party in Lagos State, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, lost another local council, the Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA, to the PDP.
The tribunal also nullified the declaration of Mr. Jide Jimoh of the ACN as the winner of the election held in Yaba Local Council Development Area and ordered a fresh poll in the council. The tribunal said it based its decisions on the irregularities that took place during the conduct of the election in the two councils.
Another major political development within the PDP in 2012 is the voluntary resignation of former president Olusegun Obasanjo as the PDP BOT Chairman. Following his resignation, 20 persons have signified their intentions to become the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Investigations by our correspondent indicated that among those who had applied for the position are a former Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anenih; a former National Chairman of the party, Senator Ahmadu Ali; and Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.
In the race also are the former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani and a former National Deputy Chairman of the party (South), Chief Shuaib Oyedokun.
Convener of Save Nigeria Group Pastor Tunde Bakare was Summoned by state security service (SSS) over a Sermon he preached on President Jonathan.
Men of the State Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police had to extend invitation to fiery Lagos preacher, over what police sources see as a controversial sermon against President Goodluck Jonathan.
The invitation signed by one Usman Ayuba (a chief superintendent of police) is sequel to a sermon which he (Pastor Bakare) delivered in his church wherein he accused President Jonathan of deliberately trying to bankrupt the country.