Time for Another Ritual

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|  By Maureen Chigbo  |

IT WAS just like yesterday that we all welcomed the year 2012 with joy and great expectations. Some of that expectations have been met while others are yet to materialise and will dovetail into the New Year. At the beginning of the year, some people indulged in the yearly ritual of making resolutions to live their lives for the better, dropping old habits that dragged them nowhere. Some have succeeded in keeping to those resolutions while others did not. Another year is around the corner and very soon people will be indulging in the same old ritual. But before we do so, let us take a keen look at what transpired through last year to be able to know the direction of the future.

Year 2012 has been quite a year with its own peculiarities as we have witnessed all over the world. From the world of politics, economy, culture, crime, sports to war, there have been twists and turns, ups and downs, all these culminated into the vagaries of life.  From the developed to the developing world, hopes were raised and dashed; hopes dashed by scandals, yes, scandals that did in notable personalities like General David Petraeus, whose extra marital affairs cost him his job as the director of Central Intelligence Agency.

In Nigeria, there were scandals in the National Assembly involving allegations of bribery and corruption against Lawan Farouk, chairman of the House committee, which investigated fuel subsidy scam. Also, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume was alleged to be a sponsor of the deadly Boko Haram sect. The case of the legislators are yet to be decided and will surely spill over into the new year.

In short, 2012 has been a year that witnessed so many positive developments as well as many catastrophes all over the world. In Nigeria, the year started in a tumultuous way. Nigerians were jolted with the unexpected New Year bombshell when the federal government led by President Goodluck Jonathan, removed fuel subsidy thereby hiking the price of fuel from N65 per litre of fuel to N141.  That angered many people including labour unions and civil society groups who organised a massive protest which grounded the economy of the country for more than one week. Needless to say that bad start dogged the country all through the year with attendant revelations of those milking the country dry by collecting foreign exchange for  petroleum products they never imported in the first place. The trial of those involved is ongoing and will surely spill over to the New Year. As the nation was recovering from the fuel subsidy hiccups with the late passage of the budget in March, Boko Haram has continued its unrelenting assault on the country with bomb explosions in various part of the North including Borno, Kano and Kaduna, killing innocent people in churches and elsewhere. Some security formations were also attacked in Jaji, Kaduna, and the office of Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja.

But the worse calamity of the year struck when the Dana plane crash happened in June killing 153 passengers on board, including Levi Ajuonuma, the effervescent group general manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. There have been other crashes involving helicopters like the latest one that claimed the lives of Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and General Andrew Owoye Azazi, former national security adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan.

In sport, Nigeria made its worst outing in the London 2012 Olympics winning no medals even though the para- lympics excelled.

On the positive side, elections were won and lost. The most prominent being the election of President Barrack Obama, who roundly beat Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent. Olusegun Mimiko was also elected the governor of Ondo State as well as Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State. The first female president of South Korea was also elected and Nigeria also had the first female chief justice sworn into office.

On the economic scene, for the first time since the advent of  civilian administration in the country on May 29 1999, the Executive and the National Assembly broke the jinx in budget delays and passed the budget of the Year 2013 in the preceding year. The budget has always been submitted late to the Legislure by the executive and passed around March. This is a good signal that next year will probably take off smoothly barring any type of unexpected development in the society.  All these events have been captured in details in the various segments of our special edition of Events 2012.

— Jan. 7, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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