2021, And All That We Cant Leave Behind. (2) By Igboeli Arinze

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The year was also witness to the flippant ‘ajorojarajoro’ (apologies to Fela)  movement of Nigerian politicians from one party platform to another. The likes of Governors Ayade and Matawalle of Cross River and Zamfara States were high profile defectors but not even the ‘Olimpostic Meristemasis’ and ‘Conjugated Agglutination’ of  such defections could outshine that of Nigeria’s political enfant terrible , Femi Fani Kayode. Not only did such a decision jolt Nigerians, it also cast FFK as an ideological bohemian of sorts. Was this not the same Fani Kayode who  who had called the APC and President Buhari and the APC all sorts of names? Here was the same fellow readily jumping into the same ship he had once lampooned.

Away from these defections to issues pertaining to national security. 2021, saw Buhari bowing to pressure by sacking his service chiefs and appointing a new set of officers. Following this, it did look like the spirit of sacking had descended on our President as he also showed his Minister of Power and Agriculture the exit doors. While the main reasons for the sack have continued to elude the mainstream media, it is obvious that the duo were sacked for not meeting up with the administration’s agenda in their various ministries.
Governors Wike and his Lagos counterpart , Babajide Sanwo-Olu were in the news again as both governors launched a tax war against the federal government. The legal battle again  much echoed the arguments for and against restructuring  stoking division along North and South.
The Electoral Amendment Act Bill was also the subject of a number of political debates last year. The bill which was supposed to remedy a number of fallouts of the Nigerian style of elections much looked like the silver lining in the sky.
The bill was an attempt to repeal as well re-enact the 2010 Electoral Act while approving INEC’s introduction of technology into our electoral process, such as the accreditation of voters, electronic voting and electronic transmission of results (Section 52)which was the most contended clause.
Initially, both chambers were against the idea, with a number of senators  and representatives citing the presence of no network within their areas.  The outcry that did greet such a stand by the National Assembly forced the Senate to rethink its stand and adopt electronic voting. But then the National Assembly went on a road too far when it also insisted on the adoption of the mode of Direct Primaries for all political parties.
The National Assembly perhaps out of the need to break the monopoly of the Governors who control their delegates via the indirect primaries had inserted such a clause. There is also the suggestion that such an insertion was borne out of mischief, with the deliberate attempt to railroad the bill into oblivion and true to the thinking of many, President Buhari  after much delay, declined his assent to the bill citing the issue of Direct Primaries as his reason for doing so.
President Buhari mooted the point that the mandatory use of direct primaries for all political parties would be too expensive to execute, adding that it would put a financial burden on Nigeria’s slim resources. In addition to this the president noted that such conduct would stretch the security agencies as well as violate the rights of Nigerians , marginalize smaller parties and create a room for more litigation by party members.
The Pandora Papers saw a number of
Nigerian politicians mentioned in what looked like a scheme meant to aid global tax evasion.
The Pandora Papers, which was the outcome  of the collaborative work of 600 journalists in 117 countries exposed how a number of elite Nigerians set up businesses in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, as well as in countries like Switzerland and Singapore. The likes of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, and the present Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola were accused of setting up secret companies abroad, but had failed to declare them as assets. Other notable Nigerians who featured in the list asides the earlier mentioned are the likes of Abubakar Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Stella Oduah and Pastor David Oyedepo.
Last on my list would be the Anambra guber elections which drew the attention of the nation and the world to the state which was then scheduled to hold elections to produce a successor to the outgoing governor. The state was much gripped by violence as the days to the election drew near with many fearing that the polls would not hold. Remarks by the Attorney General on the possible declaration of a state of emergency in Anambra was also greeted with mixed feelings as each party involved in the election traded accusations and counter accusations on the origins of such violence. Well the elections did come and go but not without the drama that accompanies most elections in Nigeria.

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