2019 is a year that many Nigerians await with baited breaths. It will be an election year, one that will determine the trajectory of the country for the next four years—whether it finally turns the significant corner that leads to sustained economic prosperity—or remains stuck in perpetual hopelessness. Nevertheless, one of the identifying factors that accompany every election season has featured once again: Shenanigans; political mischief amongst politicians, their cronies and (for lack of a better word), mentees.
The Ekiti Gubernatorial elections have come and gone, but the revelations that were made before, during and after the civil exercise should be a source of worry for any well-meaning Nigerian. The keenly contested race between Prof Olusola Eleka of the PDP and Dr Kayode Fayemi of the APC threw up many unwholesome practices that do not bode well for the electoral future of Nigeria. As early as the wee hours of election day, news already began to filter in about the massive vote-buying embarked upon by the two major political parties.
One is the Senate President of the most populous black nation in the world. The other is the current Prime Minister of the world’s sixth largest economy – The United Kingdom. Both are well read, seasoned politicians who had served in various capacities in government before attaining the (current) peak of their political careers. While Bukola Saraki was elected as the Senate President of Nigeria in 2015, David Cameron was re-elected as Prime Minister in the 2015 general elections in the UK. However, what the two men have in common at the moment is their indictment in the Panama Papers scandal which has earned them the unenviable tag of being two of the most controversial public officers in the world.
In a unanimous ruling that defied the business-as-usual characteristic that has been synonymous with many countries in the African continent, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was ordered to pay back a part of the $15m he spent in renovating his Nkandla private residence by the supreme court. It came as a pleasant surprise to see a court rule against a sitting president (a clear indication of an independent judiciary), a plot that would have struck as unrealistic if it had been cast in an African movie.
When you are born, bred and have lived all your life in this country called Nigeria, there’s always a tendency to assume or even believe beyond any reasonable doubt that you have seen it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. And one can hardly blame you. In a country where we have seen all sorts, especially among the political class; ranging from a former military Head of State who allegedly died in the hands of prostitutes to a former civilian Governor disguising himself as a woman in order to flee from the long arms of the law in the United Kingdom to another former Governor and Senator who staunchly defended his decision to find marital bliss in the arms of a yet-to-be-fully-physically-developed 13 year old to an entire Senate that makes a show of suggestion boxes in the 21st century and appears to be in love with setting up committees for the flimsiest of reasons. Yes, it is difficult to argue with the one who believes they have seen it all in Nigeria.
The demolition of Owonifari market in the popular Oshodi metropolis of Lagos State on Wednesday has understandably resulted in plenty of uproar among Lagos residents and observers alike. The market which has been in existence for over 40 years undoubtedly holds some form of attachment to it by residents and the traders who have plied their trade there for decades. Many of those affected by the pulling down of the market have accused the Ambode led government of being insensitive, elitist and further trampling on the already down trodden of the society by depriving them of their daily bread.
Recently, the government at the federal level and many states of the federation marked 100 days in office. A tradition that is largely supposed to give a clear blue print they intend to fully implement in the course of the next (almost) four years in office. While the average Nigerian can be said to be upbeat about definite strides at the federal level especially in areas such as power generation, the oil sector which has recorded a remarkable turnaround in the hitherto comatose refineries, and the fight against corruption, the same cannot be said of developments in Lagos State under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
In his most definite address regarding the growing criticism of his administrations delay in naming a cabinet since he assumed office over 2 months ago, President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed that he will not appoint ministers until September in his 20th of July Washington Post article following his four-day official visit to meet and discuss burning issues with President Obama of the USA in Washington D.C. He also cited the example of his US counterpart who also did not name a full cabinet as soon as he assumed office stating that that didn’t stop his administration from functioning in the interim.
It is now well over a month since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to say that many Nigerians are somewhat disappointed at the seeming slow pace of activities of the Buhari led administration would not be off the mark. There is a growing sense of discontentment in the air. Buhari’s victory at the polls and subsequent assumption of office came on the backdrop of extremely high expectations. Like I had predicted in a previous article here. Many Nigerians expect nothing short of the miracle of turning water into wine from Mr President, his pedigree as a no-nonsense former military head of state during his first stint at the helm of affairs further strengthened the popular belief that Mr President would dive right into things commando style, guns blazing and firing from all cylinders. But that has not been the case.
“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”- President Muhammadu Buhari.
When General Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the presidential elections on Wednesday, the Ist of April, 2015, the streets were jubilant, social media was agog with the news, and a good number of Nigerians basked in the euphoria of the new wave of hope and optimism in the air. Not a few could wait for him to take over the reins of leadership of the most populous country in Africa. It almost appeared as though the 29th of May would never come as the days dragged by. But alas! It did! And now we have a new Sheriff in town who shoulders the hopes and expectations of over 170 million people.