THE year 2014 promised to be an eventful one in Nigerian politics. It did not disappoint; more so because it preceded the year 2015 which had been slated for Nigerian general elections. As expected there were several political moves, mudslinging and horse-trading in the political firmament. The year began with the much talked about issue of the proposed National Conference dominating after President Goodluck Jonathan had agreed to the necessity of the conference.
On March 1, President Jonathan formally inaugurated the 492-member conference. It was headed by Justice Idris Kutigi, former chief justice of the federation, serving as chairman, and Bolaji Akinyemi, former minister of foreign affairs, as deputy chairman. The five-month old conference concluded its mission on July 14.
The defection of 42 members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the House of Representatives to the opposition All Progressives Congress the previous year (2013), was another issue that gripped the political scene early in the year. On March 31, a federal high court in Abuja declared as unconstitutional the defection of the 42 legislators. The matter remained a judicial matter until end of the year.
* On February 12, President Goodluck appeared to do the needful when he relieved Stella Oduah, former minister of Aviation, of her job over the purchase of two bullet-proof cars for the sum of N255 million the previous year. The issue had heated up the polity for sometimes. But Oduah did not go alone. Also sacked were Godsday Orubebe, minister of Niger Delta; Caleb Olubolade, minister of Police Affairs and Yerima Ngama, minister of state for finance.
* Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir of Kano, lost his job as governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, when President Jonathan suspended him from office based on various allegations of corruption and abuse of office. The president’s action was seen much as a political move rather than economic because of Sanusi had been a stoic critic of his administration.
* On June 21, the electorate in Ekiti State elected Ayodele Fayose, former governor and a member of the PDP as new governor. Fayose defeated Kayode Fayemi, incumbent governor, representing the APC. Fayose was formally inaugurated on October 16 at a colourful ceremony.
* One person was killed in a political rivalry that engulfed Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, between September 21 and 25. Supporters of Fayose were said to have stormed the state high court where the governor’s eligibility was being challenged.
* On July 7, Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State lost his position following his impeachment by the state House of Assembly. He was replaced by Ahmadu Fintiri, speaker of the state House of Assembly, following the purported resignation of James Ngilari, deputy governor. On October 8, Ngilari became the governor after he won his suit in court challenging his purported resignation.
* Also in July Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, escaped from being removed from office when impeachment moves against him failed because he was absolved of all wrong doings by the panel set up to investigate him.
* In Osun State, Governor Rauf Aregbesola was re-elected as governor on August 9. He defeated Iyiola Omisore of the PDP in the election.
* Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and 25 members of the state House of Assembly defected from the Labour party to the PDP.
* In October, Tom Ikimi, former minister of foreign affairs and chieftain of the APC, defected back to the PDP.
* On October 28, Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the House of Representatives, defected from the PDP to join the APC. He announced his defection at the end of the proceeding at the House on the day. For his daring move, the police on the second day removed all the security details attached to Tambuwal saying he was no longer recognised as speaker.
* President Jonathan after much prompting, formally declared his intention to run at a rally held the Eagles Square, Abuja, on November 11.
* Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Ogun State and Segun Adesegun, deputy governor to Governor Ibikunle Amosu, announced their defection from the APC to the Social Democratic Party, SDP.
* November 20, the day the House of Representatives were to discuss President Jonathan’s letter asking for extension of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and yobe states, police besieged the National Assembly, with the aim of preventing Tambuwal and his supporters from gaining entry.
* On November 20, seven members out of the 26-member Ekiti State House of Assembly, belonging to the PDP removed Adewale Omirin of the APC, as speaker of the House. He was replaced by Dele Olugbemi of the PDP, who had acted as speaker when the controversial seven met on November 17, to approve the list of political aides to the House by Fayose. The 19 members of the APC were still at loggerheads with their PDP counterparts by the end of the year.
* December 3, Bamanga Tukur, former national chairman of the PDP and Aliyu Abuba Gurin, a House of Representatives aspirant, were suspended from the party for one month for anti-party activity. Gurin had challenged the resignation of Tukur in court, while the former party leader later joined him in the suit with the aim of regaining the party leadership.
* Tambuwal won the APC governorship ticket in Sokoto State. Akinwumi Ambode, an accountant, won the APC ticket in Lagos, while Jimi Agbaje, a pharmacist, won the PDP ticket in Lagos State. Umana Umana, former secretary to the state government, won the APC in Akwa Ibom, while Udom Emmanuel, also a former secretary to the state government, won the PDP governorship ticket in the state.
* December 11, President Jonathan formally got the approval of the PDP as the party’s presidential candidate. The APC similarly elected General Muhamadu Buhari as its presidential candidate in keenly contested primaries held in Lagos. Buhari defeated Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Sam Nda-Isaiah, publisher of Leadership newspaper.
— Jan. 5, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT