Like a thunderbolt, 2012 is sprinting to the brace. CHID OBINECHE and NDUBUISI ORJI highlight the political issues and events that tinged with the year.
For the wary, 2012 came, set in convolution. And for the better part of the year, it rocked and convalsed. As the gong to herald the year sounded, the nation was deeply enmeshed in the fuel subsidy protests, which political undertone is yet to settle.
In the melee, the nation stood on edge as every government policy, action and inaction reverberated in the fuel subsidy palaver. 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.
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 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 tumoil, 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 supposed agents of the PDP.
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.
Before the Edo and Ondo elections was the governorship elections in Bayelsa State, the home state of the president. 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.
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.
Although, they have been able to enact a makeshift and volatile unity, there is for sure no let up in the spat.
The prime actor in the perennial crises in APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie in August surfaced with a new party, United Progressive Party, (UPP). Expectedly, it met with opposition from his rivals (Umeh etal) who implored on INEC to get him expunge the logo and emblem.
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 has 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 National Security Adviser, late General Andrew Azazi and four others.
The two air mishaps that left Danbaba in very a bad state and Yakowa dead greatly altered the power configurations in the respective states, particularly in Kaduna state.
Deregistration of political parties: 5 December, 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.
The affected parties are
1. African Liberation Party (ALP)
2. Action Party of Nigeria (APN)
3. African Political System (APS)
4. Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP)
5. Congress for Democratic Change (CDC)
6. Community Party of Nigeria (CPN)
7. Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA)
8. Freedom Party of Nigeria (FPN)
9. Fresh Democratic Party (FDP)
10. Hope Democratic Party (HDP)
11. Justice Party (JP)
12. Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria (LDPN)
13. Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ)
14. Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD)
15. Nigeria Advanced Party (NAP)
16. New Democrats (ND)
17. National Majority Democratic Party (NMDP)
18. National Movement of Progressive Party (NMPP)
19. National Reformation Party (NRP)
20. National Solidarity Democratic Party (NSDP)
21. Progressive Action Congress (PAC)
22. Peoples Mandate Party (PMP)
23. Peoples Progressive Party (PPP)
24. Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)
25. People’s Salvation Party (PSP)
26. Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN)
27. United National Party for Development (UNPD)
28. United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP)
29. African Renaissance Party (ARP)
30. National Democratic Party (NDP)
31. National Transformation Party (NTP)