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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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Rivers Crisis: PDP Chairman Hails Jonathan’s Call For Truce

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The Lagos State chapter Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Philip Aivoji, has described former President Goodluck Jonathan’s call to end the political crisis in Rivers as commendable.
Mr Aivoji commended Jonathan  in an interview with The Tide‘s source on Monday in Lagos.
Recall that Jonathan had on Monday implored Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers  and his predecessor, (the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT) Chief Nyesom Wike, to sheathe their swords in order to douse the political temperature in the state.
The former president, who spoke at the inauguration of the N222.1 billion Trans-Kalabari Road construction, emphasised the necessity for Fubara and Wike to collaborate to promote the  progress and prosperity of Rivers State.
He noted that the political tension in the state was excessive and worrisome, and would not contribute to  development.
Jonathan said that destabilising Rivers State would adversely impact the Niger Delta region and could also trigger crises across the country.
Reacting to Jonathan’s admonition, Mr Aivoji described the former President as a man full of experience in mediation and conflict resolution, even at the international level.
“Jonathan is a leader in the party and a leader from South South; there is nothing wrong stepping in to broker peace. It is a good one,” the PDP boss said.
He, however, said that the former President should go further to speak the truth to the warring parties and point out  to each of them where they had erred.
“This is the way to settle issues. If we want to resolve it, we must tell the truth to them.
“The ex-President is an elder, he is an experienced person, who has been meditating in international affairs. Let us see how it goes,” he added.
According to him, the former President, being experienced mediator, must dig deep and probe the cause of the crisis.
“He (Jonathan) has seen it all. Peace of graveyard will not help the matter, they should resolve issues.
“We hope that the nitty-gritty will be looked into and the constitution of the party will be followed if they are true members of the party,” Aivoji said.

 

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Group Carpets Amaewhule Over Political Crisis In Rivers 

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A group, Coalition of Rivers State Leaders of Thought (CORSLOT) has blamed the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Martins Amaewhule, for the escalation of the political crisis in the State.
The coalition, which stated this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, said Rivers State would not have been in its current political situation had Rt Hon Amaewhule played the sacred role providence bestowed on him.
The text for the briefing which was read by the Convener, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, and co-signed by Prof (Mrs) Reginah Azunwena, Odinaka Osundu, George Ijoma and Elder Anuage Menegbo, also commended Governor Siminalayi Fubara for his peaceful disposition despite the crisis, adding that this disposition has marked the governor as a man of peace.
“Pitiably under him, the world saw a legislative arm of government that was vehemently out to frustrate the executive arm with all sorts of negative actions against the governor and the government of Rivers State.
“Had Martins Amaewhule seen the state as sacred, he would have mediated in whatever were the issues between our former governor, His Excellency, Chief (Barrister) Nyesom Wike. Amaewhule failed woefully to play a stabilizing role which his exalted office gave him ample role to play”, they said.
The Coalition also called on former Governor Nyesom Wike to have a rethink on the political crisis in the state as he has a cardinal role to play in the resolution of the impasse.
“CORSLOT wishes to advise trouble entrepreneurs and eye service politicians of Rivers State origin to take note that power belongs to God Almighty and the people.
“Rivers people are taking note of these political actors.
“Rivers State is owned by Rivers people and not  self seeking politicians”, they said.
“We begin by appreciating the governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalaye Fubara, for working assiduously for peace by embracing and working with the Presidential Peace Accord of 2023 and to state that it is in recognition of this that the governor has won awards and honours within the state and Nigeria”
The Coalition also thanked the Governor for attending to the needs and welfare of citizens of the state, particularly the welfare of civil servants and the planned employment into the Civil Service.
“CORSLOT further recognizes the governor’s attention on infrastructural development in the state with his continuation of projects he inherited from previous administrations and indeed his bold initiatives of new ones.
These come with spiraling advantages”, they added.
They also urged the governor to take immediate steps to fill his cabinet with men and women who have the capacity to add value to the State.

By: John Bibor

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Council Boss Hails Fubara Over Successful Project Commissioning

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Following the successful commissioning of the  Andoni Section of the Ogoni-Andoni- Opobo Unity Road by Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the Chairman of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam has commended the number one citizen of the state for his multiple  infrastructural development projects that have direct bearings on the lives and well -being of Rivers people, especially in NgoTown, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area and its adjoining environs.
The Chairman maintained that the road, as commissioned, will provide connectivity between coastal communities, cities, and hinterlands, facilitating the movement of people, goods and services, which enhances trade, commerce and tourism, and also contributes to local economic development and the local government area’s internally generated revenue (IGR).
On the event, Hon. CookeyGam lauded the efforts of the initiator of the project, 24 years ago, Dr.Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers State, for his determination and love for the people that found expression in the initiation of the Unity Road project which has been able to connect the catchment local government areas of Khana, Andoni and Opobo/ Nkoro, including the neighbouring states.
He described both Dr. Odili and Governor Fubara as beacons of infrastructural development.
The Chairman of Council also urged Andoni people to guard against vandalization and theft of the facilities that have been put in place for their betterment.
He further admonished the people of Andoni in particular, and Rivers people in general, to support the good work the Governor has come to do despite distraction from some politicians in the state who do not mean well for the people.

By: Bethel Toby

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