1. Inauguration of Senate-Approved NDCC Board
There is hardly any good reason for herding the Niger Delta region into another season of avoidable crises, owing largely to an enduring breach of the governing laws establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). A couple of the deadly militant groups that held the region ransom until the Late President Umaru Yar’Adua reversed the trend with the Amnesty Programme have threatened to return to the warpath if the right thing is not done at the NDDC.
President Muhammadu Buhari has turned deaf ears to every plea from governors of the South-south states, led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and other stakeholders, to act correctly by discontinuing illegal interim managements at the federal agency since November 2019.
Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has exhausted all the excuses available in his worn-out script that purports to refine the NDDC. The NDDC Act does not permit the appointment of persons outside the Commission to act as Managing Director or Sole Administrator without compliance with the Act which requires nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate. In accordance with the law establishing NDDC, Buhari forwarded the list of nominees for the NDDC Board to the Senate for confirmation in October 2019 which the Senate confirmed in November 2019.
Rather than inaugurate the Board, President Buhari put it on hold and reversed to illegality in administering NDDC.
2. Choice of Political Party Candidates through Direct Primary
A tiny group of optimists are holding on to a flicker of hope that federal lawmakers might decide to override the President’s veto and re-establish the 2021 Electoral Amendment Bill as originally submitted, particularly the section that compels political parties to allow every member of their party participate in the choice of candidates for elections. The overriding thought was that use of direct primary in the choice of candidates will deepen the country’s democracy for effective governance.
This optimism, however, has met with unkind remarks by pessimists who think the 9th National Assembly is a ‘rubber stamp’ body that does not have the political will power to act independently.
3. Will the National Assembly Stop More Loans for the Federal Government
Incidentally, one of the glaring areas that the federal legislature is commonly believed to indulge the Federal Government without proper consideration is the manner with which it gives automatic authorization to requests for loans.
With the approval of $16.23 billion and €1.02 billion loans requested by President Muhammadu Buhari last November, the nation’s public debt has risen to N44.5 trillion.
The main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been criticized by some Civil Society Organisations for its implicit role in this worrisome occurrences because Senator Clifford Ordia, representing Esan Central Senatorial District, Edo State, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts was elected on the platform of the PDP.
4. Elective National Convention of the All Progressives Congress
It will be a make or mar February for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as it finally holds its long expected elective national convention. When the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) was set up in June 2020 to steer the activities of the party for an initial period of six months and also to prepare and conduct the party’s national convention, only a few political clairvoyants could predict correctly that the Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State committee would still be in charge of the party’s for close to two years.
From all indications, there is fearful apprehension for the survival for the survival of the APC beyond the convention. All the defined tendencies in the political party are up in arms for the soul of the party. As things stand today, the struggle for the leadership of the APC is between those inclined towards the former legacy political parties-Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Undoubtedly, this battle is the forerunner of the impending all-out war for the choice of the candidate that will carry party’s presidential flag in the 2023 national elections.
The APC is going to the national convention with the pain of deep, sharp and irreconcilable division in many state chapters. These disputes have led to court summons and in some cases a departure to opposition party.
5. Ekiti/Osun States Governorship Election
Arguably, the two most important elections for 2022 are the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, which have been duly fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for June 18 and July 16 respectively. Today, Monday, January 3, the timetable and schedule of activities for Ekiti State governorship election will be released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The commission also scheduled conduct of parties’ primaries for the state election between January 4 and January 29. Campaigns by political parties would begin by March 20 and end on June 16, while the final list of candidates for the election will be released on May 19.
For Osun state, the notice of election according to the timetable would be issued on February 15. Parties’ primaries and resolutions of disputes arising from the exercise are scheduled to hold from February 16 to March 12. Campaign by political parties for the state election is expected to start from April 17 and end on July 14. April 8 is scheduled as the last day for withdrawal/replacement of candidates by political parties, and June 16 for publication of final candidates for Osun governorship election.
6. Independent National Electoral Commission
Apart from the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, the INEC is currently carrying on with the all-important Continuous Voter Registration exercise nationwide, which also accommodates the Permanent Voter Card distribution exercise
Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) is an exercise meant for the registration of citizens who turned 18 years of age after the last registration exercise; or those who for one reason or another could not register in the previous exercises.
The 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) mandates the Commission to carry out CVR nationwide and to make available to every political party within 60 days. After each year, the names of the addresses of each person registered during that year.
At each major election, INEC introduces improvements to the electoral process. At the Anambra governorship election last November, the commission launched the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System.
All stakeholders are eagerly await what INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, widely adjudged as the innovative and groundbreaking electoral umpire, so far, may introduce to the Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections.
7. How Will Tinubu Fare?
After weeks of circumspection, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu finally made the closest admission that leaves no doubt that he harbours a presidential ambition. He assured his teeming supporters that he will not turn down their clamour for him to be the next President of. Possibly, the most talked about presidential aspirant in this dispensation, the only bombshell that can come from him is if he declines to run.
8. Will the Supreme Court Reinstall Secondus as PDP National Chairman?
Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus is hopeful that the Supreme Court will order his return to the office he was removed under controversial circumstance. His appeal is marked: SC/CV/1048/2021. He is seeking among others, the nullification of his removal from office, on the grounds that the PDP acted unlawfully by removing him based on his purported suspension by his ward.
Respondents in the appeal are Ibeawuchi Ernest Alex, Dennis Nna Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen, Umezurike Onuoha, Godwin Pepple Manfred, PDP, Senator Suleiman Nazif, Orbih, Hon Solomon Ejike Ogbonna, Hon Uche Emmanuel Minukwa and Senator Samuel Nnaemeka Anyawu.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt had on October 26 dismissed Secondus’ application challenging his suspension from the PDP, a decision he appealed to the Supreme Court.
It may be said that Secondus is encouraged to fight on because the National Judical Commission (NJC) has punished the three judges who gave interim orders for his suspension. The judges; Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi and Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River, have been barred from promotion for the next two to five years. Also, Hon. Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the High Court of Rivers State was barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever he is due, as he failed to exercise due diligence in granting the ex-parte order in suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 between Ibealwuchi Earnest Alex & 4 others and Prince Uche Secondus & another, as there was no real urgency, in the circumstances of the matter, that would have required an ex-parte order. Council also resolved that Hon. Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi state be barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever due, having found fundamental defects and non-compliance with the law in granting the ex-parte order in suit No: KB/HC/M.71/2021 between Yahaya Usman & 2 others and Prince Uche Secondus & another.
He is also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future. Hon. Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River State will not be promoted to higher Bench for five years for allowing himself to be used as a tool for ‘forum shopping’ and abuse of Court process in suit No: HC/240/2021 between Mr. Enang Kanum Wani and Uche Secondus, as it was evident that, in granting the ex-parte order, he was seized of earlier orders of the High Courts of Rivers and Kebbi states, being courts of coordinate jurisdiction with his He is also to receive a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future. The council also placed him on its watch-list for a period of two years.
9. Will Atiku Get the PDP Presidential Ticket Again?
Although there has been no official communication from his camp to say if he will give the presidential race another attempt, supporters of Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar are urging him to go for the PDP presidential ticket. As a member of the PDP, he is free to make a bid for its presidential ticket. What many political pundits are very sure of is that Abubakar, a very wealthy and experienced politician with a network of supporters across the country, will not put his money behind any other candidate if the ticket is not given to him.
10. The Dilemma Around Osinbajo’s Presidential Bid
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is in a political tight spot, of sorts. Ordinarily, if the APC is desirous of a steady policy regime and continuity, Osinbajo who has been widely adjudged as loyal and hardworking should get the nod to fly the party’s presidential ticket. But his candidacy may be enmeshed in a web of controversies and schisms, whether contrived or real, including those spurn by his acknowledged benefactor, Senator Bola Tinubu. Osinbajo was Tinubu’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, when Tinubu was governor of Lagos State. Would it be considered as biting the finger that fed him should Osinbajo enter the presidential race? Already, a hint from former Osun State governor and former National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande’s recent book, ‘My Participations’ has debunked the widely held claim that Tinubu sponsored Osinbajo’s emergence as Vice President to President Muhammadu Buhari. Between these two gentlemen and supposed allies, the days ahead promises to be interesting.
11. Will Olawepo-Hashim Spring a Surprise?
Former presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust, successful businessman and chieftain of the APC, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Kashim has continued to nurture his network of political associates and admirers. This comradeship cultivated over a long period of time since he was active in student unionism, civil rights agitation and politics is the foundation of his growing confidence that he can spring a surprise at the APC presidential primary if the party is looking for a bridge builder and a scandal free candidate who is also very intelligent.
12. Which Adeleke Will Pick PDP Ticket in Osun?
From the family of the ‘dancing’ Senator Ademola Adeleke, has emerged Mr. Bamidele Adeleke who is going to be the arrowhead that many PDP supporters in Osun State are prepared to queue behind in their determined bid to kick the APC out of governance and wrest the governorship from Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. The thinking among his supporters is that whereas, the Dancing Senator was difficult to market, Bamidele comes with an enviable track record as a successful former banker and strategist. But there is an influential minority within the Adelekes who think Senator Adeleke should be given another chance, having come so close to winning in 2018.
13. No Love Lost Between Oyetola and Aregbesola
In the bigger picture of a possible win for Tinubu in the APC presidential primary, Osun State is key. The APC National Leader needs to go to the primary with as many loyal delegates as possible. That is why the enduring rift between Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the immediate past governor of the state and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola is a huge source of discomfort for Tinubu. The division between the Osun State Governor and the Minister is so sharp that it is being alleged that Aregbesola’s supporters are likely to vote for an opposing party if Oyetola is returned as APC’s governorship candidate for the July 16 election.
14. The Ticking Time Bomb in Gombe
The frequent disagreement between governors and their former benefactors has become a full blown war of attrition in Gombe State between Governor Inuwa Yahaya and former governor and serving Senator Danjuma Goje. While Yahaya feels he should be allowed his space to govern, supporters of Goje see him as the father of the state, who should be accorded due courtesies, even by the governor. The turning point came when the Senator’s convoy was attacked by alleged supporters of the governor. Goje’s daughter who was serving in the state’s executive council wasted no time resigning from the cabinet. Goje who is well connected and controls majority of APC stakeholders in Gombe may have encircled Yahaya and is just waiting for the right time to push him out later in the year.
15. Is Uzodinma Okorocha’s Nemesis?
Political drama in Imo State is happening with the rapidity of an active waterfall. In 2022, Imo State promises even more intriguing spectacle as the all the political actors devise strategies that may require political watchers not to blink if they don’t want to miss an action.
16. It’s a Four-way Battle in Zamfara
The political state of affairs in Zamfara is as interesting as can be. When Govenor Bello Matawalle switched political party loyalty from the PDP to APC, his deputy, Mahdi Aliyu refused to go with him. He remains a member of the PDP. Meanwhile, the political plot in Zamfara assumes more intricate patterns with the involvement of former governor Abdulaziz Yari and Senator Kabir Marafa, making it a complicated maze.
17. Why Ikpeazu is Keeping an Eye on Abaribe
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State wasted no time in replying Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who was reported saying that Abians should get used to seeing him as their next governor come 2023. The ink had not even dried on the paper the Abaribe statement was printed when the Governor fired back, telling the Senator that he was hasty to announce his interest in the governorship in such an unguarded manner. Abaribe is believed to have links to the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB). The Senator secured bail for the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu before he jumped bail in 2017. Ikpeazu has consistently argued that while the IPOB agitation may be justified as a result of real injustices against the Igbos, their method of seeking redress will lead to avoidable casualties. Abia State will be an interesting place to expect interesting political outcome this year.
18. The Lagos PDP Governorship Ticket Quagmire
It is true that a certain Olajide Adeniran, better known as Jandor has emerged from seeming oblivion and ran rings around the Lagos Chapter of the APC. Many times he outwitted the leadership of Lagos APC and they must heaved a sigh of relief when he announced the defection of his group, Lagos4Lagos Movement to the PDP. His arrival into the PDP has, however, caused a lot of anxiety for the governorship ambition of the likes of Dr. Ade Dosunmu, Mr. Jimi Agbaje and Mr. Adedeji Doherty
19. Still a Long Day for Kanu and Igboho
There will be new chapters in the unfolding epic involving leaders of separatist agitators, Nnamdi Kanu of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and Sunday Adeyemo of Yoruba Nation. It promises to be exceptionally long and arduous walk for both men as the full weight of the state is brought down on them. Will President listen to pleas for a political solution?
20. Killing of Zamfara Bandit Kings on New Year Day
With the killing of two top leaders of the bandits terrorising the North-west by Nigerian armed forces on New Year day, 2022 promises to be a bad year for non-state actors, wherever they may be. The wanted bandit leaders, Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga, were killed in a forest in Zamfara State.
The notorious bandit commanders were killed after a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft, under Operation Hadarin Daji, “acted on credible intelligence, and bombarded their enclaves, in Gusami Forest and Tsamre Village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of the state in the early hours of Saturday.”.
It quoted familiar sources as saying bandits who later converged on late Auta’s residence for his burial “were also struck by missiles of the military jet, with an unconfirmed number killed.”
The renewed zeal of the Nigerian armed forces is comforting news to Zamfara and others states in the North-west and North-central regions, especially Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger that have been experiencing attacks by bandits who kidnap and sometimes kill their victims.
21. Outcome of the Raid on Justice Mary Odili’s Residence
The Nigerian public eagerly await the report of the police investigation into raid of the residence of Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili by security operatives. Several influential individuals, groups and the Senate condemned in very strong terms, the attack where over 50 supposed security operatives allegedly invaded Odili’s house in Abuja.
22. Completion of Second Niger Bridge
If the Buhari administration is able to finish work on the much-talked-about Second Niger Bridge, which is currently at 78 percent completion by its time of November 2022, the President and his admirers in the South-east may finally have something to thump their chest about. Ongoing work on the bridge consists of the construction of a 1.59km long bridge and 10.3km length of approach roads. The total total length of the main work is 11.90km. The bridge and approach roads are 2×3 lane expressways. Other ancillary works include the construction of two secondary bridges at Oko Amakun (21.70m) and Atani Road (21.70m).
The frequent disagreement between governors and their former benefactors has become a full blown war of attrition in Gombe State between Governor Inuwa Yahaya and former governor and serving Senator Danjuma Goje. While Yahaya feels he should be allowed his space to govern, supporters of Goje see him as the father of the state, who should be accorded due courtesies, even by the governor. The turning point came when the Senator’s convoy was attacked by alleged supporters of the governor. Goje’s daughter who was serving in the state’s executive council wasted no time resigning from the cabinet. Goje who is well connected and controls majority of APC stakeholders in Gombe may have encircled Yahaya and is just waiting for the right time to push him out later in the year
Arguably, the two most important elections for 2022 are the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, which have been duly fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for June 18 and July 16 respectively. Today, Monday, January 3, the timetable and schedule of activities for Ekiti State governorship election will be released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The commission also scheduled conduct of parties’ primaries for the state election between January 4 and January 29. Campaigns by political parties would begin by March 20 and end on June 16, while the final list of candidates for the election will be released on May 19