2018: The Year of Political Gamesmanship #EventsoftheYear2018

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A flurry of political activism that characterises the year 2018 is spilling over to the new year as political gladiators are up to their usual game of rolling out promises and other methods of winning votes ahead of 2019 general elections

By Olu Ojewale

The 2018 wound down with Nigerian political atmosphere frost with political activities leading to the much awaited 2019 general elections, which will start in February.  As usual, the show of strength from the Presidency to Legislature was very evident as the two arms of the government fought over the 2018 Electoral Amendment Bill, which the President Muhammadu Buhari refused to sign into law.

The president transmitted his decision not to sign the bill to the National Assembly and his letter was read on the floor of the both houses on Tuesday, December 11.

The decision heated up the polity as the president’s decision polarised the National Assembly and caused calls from various quarters for the legislators to override the president. The lawmakers must have realised the futility of trying to override the president as the opposition would need two-thirds majority in both houses to veto the president’s decision.

That notwithstanding, the political atmosphere across the world was very instructive.

*A high court in the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, on Friday, December 14, declared Jerry Gana, a former minister of Information, the winner of the presidential primary election of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, conducted on October 6. The party had declared Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River, the winner of the election and its flag bearer for the 2019 presidential election.

Jerry Gana
Jerry Gana

According to the party Duke polled 812 votes, while Gana got 611. But Gana went to court seeking to be declared the winner in line with the zoning and rotation formula of the party’s constitution.

*Mass defection has hit the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Anambra State as scores of its members defected to the Peoples Democratic Party in Njikoka Local Government Area of the state on Thursday, December 14. The defectors were led by one Dan Okpoko, who said the people of the local government could no longer tolerate what he described as the insincerity of the leaders of APGA, especially the way the party’s primary elections were conducted.

*On Thursday, December 13, nearly 80 percent of the equipment for staging the December 23, election in DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, was destroyed when a fire ripped through a warehouse as violence flared just 10 days before the vote.

The blaze, which officials blamed on arson, was the latest drama of an increasingly tense election campaign ahead of the December 23, election when the country will choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila.

*Ibrahim Jubril, the minister of State for Environment, resigned his appointment on Wednesday, December 12.

Jubril is now the new Emir of Nasarawa, following his selection by the Nasarawa Emirate Council.

*Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Oby Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, on Wednesday, December 12, appeared before the National Peace Committee, where they signed the peace accord for the 2019 general elections. The conveners of the committee are Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired general and Mathew Hassan Kukah, a reverend father and the Catholic bishop of Sokoto Diocese. Both Abubakar and Ezekwesili had failed to turn up at the International Conference Centre on Tuesday, December 11, where President Muhammadu Buhari and other presidential candidates honoured the invitation by the National Peace Committee and signed the peace accord.

*A Kano High Court presided over by Justice A.T. Badamasi on Thursday, December 6, in Kano, granted an order of injunction restraining Kano State House of Assembly Investigative Committee from further investigating the $5m bribery allegations involving Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

*No fewer than 26 loyalists of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, on Monday, December 3 announced their defection from the All Progressives Congress to the Allied People’s Movement.

Atiku
Atiku

The defectors were the aggrieved members of the APC who claimed to have won the legislative primaries of the APC conducted by the state election committee, appointed by the National Working Committee held October 8, 2018, in the state.

*Rauf Aresgbesola, the immediate past governor of Osun State, left office on Tuesday, November 27. He was succeeded by Gboyega Oyetola, his former chief of staff.

*On November 28, Gboyega Oyetola, on Wednesday was sworn in as the fifth executive governor of Osun State. The 64-year-old actuary, who hails from Iragbiji, the headquarters of Boripe local government area of Osun, served in the immediate past administration as chief of staff to the governor.

*The All Progressives Congress, APC, conducted state-wide primaries to choose its governorship candidates in 27 states on Sunday, September 30. The fallout of the primaries has brought division to the likes of Imo State, where Governor Rochas Okorocha could not install Uche Nwosu, his son in-law, as the APC governorship candidate and Governor Ibikunle Amosu of Ogun State could not get Adekunle Akinlade, his favourite candidate and member of the House of Representatives, to pick the party ticket. Akinlade has since defected to the Allied People’s Movement, APM, on Thursday, November 29.

Similarly, Nwosu has left the APC for the Action Alliance.

*The Sokoto State House of Assembly on Thursday, November 22, confirmed the appointment of Manir Dan-Iya as the new deputy governor of the state.

Dan-Iya replaces Ahmed Aliyu, who resigned on November 13, after securing the APC governorship ticket for the 2019 poll in the state.

*Democrats said they will probe US President Donald Trump’s financial ties to determine whether they are the “hidden hand” driving US foreign policy on Russia and Saudi Arabia, the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday, November 25.

Adam Schiff, currently the ranking Democrat on that committee, accused Trump of being “dishonest” about the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A Republican senator privy to the intelligence also challenged Trump’s denial that the CIA had concluded that the crown prince ordered the October 2, assassination of the journalist.

*Theresa May, the prime minister of Britain, survived a humiliating challenge to her leadership Wednesday night, November 12, beating back a no-confidence vote triggered by rebels in her Conservative Party who oppose her compromise deal on how to leave the European Union.

May won the party-only vote by 200 to 117 — comfortably surpassing the simple majority of 159 votes she needed to hold on to power. But it was hardly a victory.

The public brawling and parliamentary challenge by her fellow Tories leaves May a wounded leader. The British prime minister is now immune to a leadership challenge by her party for a year, but she faces lawmakers hostile to her Brexit deal, which remains broadly unpopular.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State
Ganduje

In Brussels, May’s survival offered measured relief to European Union leaders, who have little option other than hoping she can hold on and get the Brexit deal approved by Parliament before the March 29 exit date.

The 2018 mid-term elections in the United States were held on Tuesday, November 6. Thirty-five of the 100 seats in the United States Senate and all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were contested. 39 state and territorial governorships as well as numerous other state and local elections were also contested. In the elections, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives and made gains at the state level while the Republican Party expanded its majority in the Senate.

*Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, formally resigned his membership of the APC in a letter dated October 19, 2018, and addressed to Adams Oshiomhole, the chairman of APC. He did not volunteer reasons for his action.

*Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State of the PDP, left office on October 15, while Kayode Fayemi of the APC was sworn-in as new governor on Tuesday, October 16.

*On October 7, Jair Bolsonaro, the Rio de Janeiro congressman came first in the first round of the presidential election in Brazil. A run-off between him and Fernando Haddad, a former São Paulo mayor, was held on October 28, 2018. Bolsonaro was declared the winner with over 50 percent of the popular vote.

*October 6, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president, won the presidential ticket of the PDP in the primaries which held in Port Harcourt. Abubakar later picked Peter Obi, a former governor Anambra State, as his running mate.

*Aisha Alhassan, the minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet and from the ruling APC. In a letter dated September 29, Alhassan who is fondly called Mama Taraba, hinged her resignation on her disqualification in the screening for the 2019 Taraba State governorship contest by the APC National Working Committee.

*The rerun of the Osun State governorship election was held in seven polling units across four council areas on Thursday, September 27, with Gboyega Oyetola, the candidate of the APC and Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the PDP.

Joseph Fuwape, the returning officer, declared that Oyetola, won the governorship election by scoring a total number of 255,505 votes while Adeleke of the PDP polled 255,023 votes.

Incidentally, Adeleke had won the main election on Saturday, September 22, with 353 votes after polling 254,698 against Oyetola’s 254,345. On Thursday, both candidates relied on 2,637 votes in the seven units where the Independent National Electoral Commission had declared rerun to win the final contest.

*Yakubu Dogara, speaker of House of Representatives, announced his exit from the APC on Thursday, September 20, while submitting his nomination form at the national secretariat of the PDP, in Abuja.

*Kemi Adeosun, minister of Finance, on Friday, September 14, resigned from office after being embroiled in the National Youth Service, NYSC, certificate scandal.

*The Department of the State Security, DSS, laid a siege on the National Assembly on Tuesday, August 7, for no just cause. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was acting as president, sacked Lawal Daura, the then director-general of the DSS.

*Bukola Saraki, the senate president left the APC. Saraki on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, July 31, said: “I wish to inform Nigerians that, after extensive consultations, I have decided to take my leave of the All Progressives Congress, APC.”

Governor Amosun
Governor Amosun

General elections were held on July 30, 2018, in Zimbabwe to elect the president and members of both houses of parliament.

*On August 1, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission released preliminary results which show that the ruling party ZANU-PF won the majority of seats in parliament.

On August 3, the electoral body declared Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent president and candidate of the ZANU-PF, as the winner after receiving 2,460,463 (50.8 percent) votes to Nelson Chamisa’s 2,147,436 (44.3 percent).

*A total of 15 senators of the APC, on Tuesday, July 24, dumped the party and defected to the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.

In a letter to the president of the Senate, signed by 14 senators, they indicated their intention to leave the ruling APC for the opposition PDP.

*Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State Monday, July 16, announced his departure from the APC, following what he described as a red card given to him by some powerful forces within the party.

*On July 14, governorship election was held in Ekti State. Kayode Fayemi, a former minister of Mineral Resources and candidate of the APC won by polling 13,869 votes, while Olusola Eleka, a former deputy governor and the PDP candidate, got 11,456 votes.

Ayodele Fayose, the immediate past governor, wanted Eleka, his deputy, to succeed him in office.

*Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, was affirmed as the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, at the national convention of the party held, in Abuja, on Saturday, June 23.  The convention also affirmed the election of 19 other officers.

*Presidential elections were held in Egypt between March 26 and 28, though Egyptians abroad voted from March 16 to 18, 2018. On 19 January, incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi formally announced he would run for a second and final term.

Saraki
Saraki

Sisi eventually won with 97.08 percent while his opponent got 2.92 percent of the vote.

* Presidential elections were held in Russia on March 18, 2018. Vladimir Putin, the incumbent, won re-election for his second consecutive (fourth overall) term in office with 77 percent of the votes. Vladimir Zhirinovsky from the Liberal Democratic Party was the perennial candidate, having unsuccessfully run in five previous presidential elections. Other candidates included Pavel Grudinin of the Communist Party; Sergey Baburin, candidate of the Russian All-People’s Union; Ksenia Sobchak of the Civic Initiative; Maxim Suraykin, candidate of the Communists of Russia; Boris Titov representing the Party of Growth and Grigory Yavlinsky of the Yabloko.

*On March 7, general elections were held in Sierra Leone to elect the president, parliament and local councils. President Ernest Bai Koroma, the incumbent, did not run for another term, as he was constitutionally ineligible, having served the maximum 10 years in office.

No presidential candidate received the 55% of the vote required to win in the first round, meaning a second round of voting was held on March 31,  between the top two candidates, Julius Maada Bio, the opposition leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party and Samura Kamara of the ruling All People’s Congress; the two were separated by under 15,000 votes in the first round. Bio was subsequently elected with 51.8 percent of the vote.

– Jan. 1, 2019 @ 00:05 GMT |

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