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Nigeria’s Major Political Events In 2012

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As 2012 comes to an end today,it is important and pertinent to analyze the political events of the year and evaluate the activities of the key players, with a view to making them check their actions and decisions in 2013.

Although it has been observed that Nigerian politicians and leaders hardly learn from mistakes of the past leaders. If they did , corruption which has been the major factor working against our democracy would have been eliminated and Nigeria would have been a better country of our dream.

For the wary, 2012 came, set in density the nation was deeply enmeshed in the fuel subsidy protests, which political undertone is yet to settle and clean.

In the melee, the nation stood on edge as every government policy, action and inaction reverberated in the fuel subsidy problem. The crisis in all grace, dictated the pace and tone of the year, exerting heat, anxiety and tension in equal measures.

The PDP Convention

Early in the year, on the heels of the fuel subsidy protests, came the National Convention of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Date was February 10 and Abuja, the national capital, was agog. The current national executive of the party, led by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, was constituted at the convention.

Ojukwu’s Burial

A month after the national convention of the PDP, came the week long funeral rites of the ex-Biafran leader and twice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2003 and 2007 elections, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu- Ojukwu.

The funeral train, which came with elaborate reception in Port Harcourt, Owerri, Aba, Enugu, Abakaliki and Awka, was rounded off with his burial at his home town of Nnewi, in Anambra State on March 3.

Politicians across the various ethnic divides and parties, including President Goodluck Jonathan, participated actively at various segments of the orchestra.

Edo Governorship Election

On July 10, the governorship election in Edo State took place. The pre-election campaign and the election proper generated intense confusion, almost to a boiling point. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate and sitting governor, Adams Oshiomhole, alleged assassination attempts on him and some of his aides by suspected agents of the PDP.The election was held and the people of Edo re elected Comrade Oshiomhole who defeated other parities,including the Peoples Democratic Party

( PDP) who were bent on reclaiming the political power in that state.

Ondo Governorship Election

This was another major event that heated up the political space in the intervening period.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who is of the Labour Party, (LP), generally adjudged as a Small Minority Party, was pitched heavily against arsenals from the ACN armada from the South West, and of course the PDP. The excitement the campaigns generated and the eventual seeming anti-climax of the verdict was as interesting as it was hilarious.

Bayelsa Elections

Before the Edo and Ondo elections was the governorship elections in Bayelsa State, the home state of president Goodluck Jonathan. It did not live up to the billings of the two.

But the events that culminated in the removal from office of the former governor, Chief Timipre Sylva were of more significance and alluring. His tango with the presidency was dripping with red-hot political manouevres, hydra-headed machinations, intense intrigues, and what looked like an unending battle. In the end, Seriake Dickson coasted home with victory.

Farouk Lawal Subsidy Bribe Scandal

Detectives at the Police headquarters investigating the $620, 000 oil subsidy bribe money collected by erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Subsidy Probe Panel, Hon. Farouk Lawan from oil magnate

The Embattled Farouk Lawan, had told an Abuja High Court that he was immuned from civil prosecution for any action he took on the floor of the House while serving as the chairman of the ad-hoc committee that probed the management of fuel subsidy in the country.

He said this in a preliminary objection to N250bn suit filed against him by a businessman, Femi Otedola. He asked the court to dismiss the suit on the basis that the action over which he was dragged to court was taking in the course of his duty as chairman of the committee.

Lawan was removed as the chairman of the committee amid accusation by Otedola that he (Lawan) obtained $620,000 bribe from him in order to strike out the name of his company, Zenon Oil, from the list of indicted firms.

The Lawan-led committee had indicted some firms and individuals of shortchanging the subsidy regime to the tune of N1.7trn. It consequently recommended their prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Otedola had alleged intimidation by the House in the wake of his accusation against Lawan and consequently sued the lawmaker; the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; the Clerk of the National Assembly; and the National Assembly. He is asking the court to make the defendants pay him N250bn as damages for the loss of goodwill as a result of their actions in the course of the probe.

APGA Crises

Although, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) had an interminable seven year long crises, the bad turn it took on a fresh wing in the month of June, festered all year long and is yet to abate. A new faction emerged and announced the sacking of the National Chairman Chief Victor Umeh and some members of his national executive.

Allegedly, the two governors produced by the party were said to be backing the opposing factions which deepened the crises immeasurably.

UPP Registration

Chief Chekwas Okorie in August presented a proposal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a new party to be registered, United Progressive Party, (UPP).But the Electoral body rejected the proposal.

Constitution Review:

The two chambers of the National Assembly in the going year embarked on a more holistic amendment of the 1999 constitution.

As part of the constitution review exercise, the House of Representatives held a public session on the constitution across the 360 federal constituencies in the country.

Impeachments

In the outgoing year, the 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. The impeachment came as a shock to the former deputy governor who had thought that he had been left off the hook by the legislature. Before his eventual impeachment on October 4, Abubakar was first dropped from the National Merit Award honours list on account of his problem with the state legislature.

Also, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon Bello Abdullahi was impeached by his colleagues on October 16. The impeachment which threw the Assembly into chaos was believed to have the backing of the state governor, Captain Idris Wada.

Following the furore that trailed the impeachment, the House of Representatives made moves to take over the functions of the Assembly. However, after series of interventions, Abdullahi was given a soft landing, as his impeachment was quashed and in return, he promptly resigned from office.

Crashes Of Governors’ Aircraft

The private jet of the Taraba State governor, Suntai Danbaba piloted by the governor himself crashed on October 25. Danbaba and four of his aides who were on board with him sustained very serious injuries. Since that crash, the governor has been in Germany where he is receiving treatment.

On Saturday, December 15, there was another air crash involving the governor of Kaduna State, 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.

The two air mishaps that left Danbaba in a very bad state and Yakowa dead, greatly altered the power configurations in the respective states, particularly in Kaduna State.

Deregistration Of Political Parties

On December 5, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the de-registration of twenty eight political parties. The commission in a statement said it took the action in exercise of the power conferred on it by Section 7 of the Electoral Act 2011.

According to the section, “The commission (INEC) shall have powers to de-register political parties on the following grounds: (i) breach of any of the requirements for registration, and (ii) for failure to win a seat in the National Assembly or state Assembly election.”

The deregistration exercise opened a floodgate of litigations with the affected parties heading to the courts to challenge the action of the electoral body.

On December 21, INEC deregistered another 3 parties bringing the number of deregistaered parties to 31.

 

Ibim Amieyeofori

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APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request

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The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn. 
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.

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A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law

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Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs.  Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.

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NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System

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Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed. 
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and  the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
  “We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
 Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers. 
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
 ”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
 “Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat. 
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc. 

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