Wednesday, January 4, 2017

10 Powerful Political Events That Will Shake Nigeria In 2017

As the Nation sets its foot into the new year, several political activities will most likely shape the year. More so, as 2016 had given us a clue of what to expect in this new year. Several unresolved political crises, inter-party and intra-party conflicts, preps from political gladiators ahead of 2019, among others will dominate the nation's political clime this year, and will most likely affect decision making. They include:

1. The Future of the PDP: The trouble in the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party is far from being over yet. It is presumed that this year will determine the future of the PDP that has been embroiled in leadership crisis since May last year. The crisis is already before two Court of Appeal panels in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). But while the decision of the court is being awaited, the party’s leaders are trying to fashion out its future. A faction led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi last November inaugurated a 115-member Strategy and Inter-Party Affairs Committee. With Sen. Ali Modu Sherriff’s faction’s continued insistence on the soul of the party even in the face of PDP’s dwindling fortunes, the party is certainly at the precipice. There are also indications that it is either PDP retains its identity as political party or it fuses with other political groups to form a new political party.

2. Possible Collapse in APC: The ruling party, All Progressives Congress also has its own internal battles among some gladiators. It is due to mutual mistrust among the legacy parties that fussed into APC. It started with the choice of leadership for both the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2015 which produced Sen. Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as against the preferred candidates of the party. The crisis reared its head again after the party’s primary to choose its candidate for the Ondo State governorship election.

The party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu had ruffled feathers when he demanded the immediate resignation of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun as APC National Chairman for single handedly rejecting the majority report that called for a fresh primary. The Ondo governorship, which APC won, has demystified Tinubu and his supporters.

The peace in the party now is that of a graveyard and it will reopen this year as each group wants to reposition itself for 2019. Also, the news that made rounds in 2016 of the presence and domination of President Buhari's government by 'cabals' may endanger the party this year, and ahead of 2019.

3. President Buhari may reshuffle his cabinet: If the handwriting on the wall is anything to go by, President Muhammadu Buhari will carry out a cabinet reshuffle in the first quarter of this year. Some ministers considered to be a burden to the administration may be axed out, while others replaced.

4. Formation of a MEGA party: The Mega Party that was so much talked about in 2016 might suffice this year. Already there are proliferation of new political groups in different parts of the state. Those believed to be frontliners of the Mega party are aggrieved members of the ruling party, APC who felt that they have been left ouyt of the scope of things since the party got hold of power. A faction of PDP will also form the mega party – that will form a political realignment towards 2019.

5. Senate vs SGF Babachir Lawal: The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal felt the heat of the Senate last year when the legislators called for the resignation. It was a back-and-forth exchange of words between them, when SGF Lawal regarded Senate's resignation call as 'balderdash'. The Senate will resume his case when after the Christmas and new year holidays. The Senate’s resolution was that the SGF should exit from the Federal Executive Council because he has breached the code of conduct for public officials as contained in the 1999 Constitution. Babachir was accused of still retaining the directorship of his company, Global Vision Limited, up till September 2016. The company was alleged to have benefited from Presidential Initiative for the North-East (PINE) to the tune of N200 million.

6. Magu may be replaced: The Senate might be on a collision course with the presidency over the rejection of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman. Though the lawmakers said its decision on the matter is final, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has advised the President to re-submit Magu’s name to the Senate. There are also indications that President Buhari might replace Magu with a top police officer to save the government from further embarrassments and enable it to focus on its anti-graft war.

7. Anambra Governorship Election: The people of Anambra will go to the polls this year to elect a new governor. Again, it would be another opportunity for APC and the PDP to test their political might and also for the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to prove its relevance in Nigeria politics. APGA is the ruling party in Anambra State, the only state where the party has its stronghold.

8. Rivers’ rerun controversy: The outcome of the last bloody re-run elections in Rivers state has given room for so many controversies. Te state governor, Nyesome Wike and his sworn political enemy, Minister Amaechi are not ready to sheath the swords yet, as they are using every means to fight each other. Governor Wike was caught on tape late last year threatening to kill an elecotal officer during the elections. He denied it anyway accusing his political enemies of cheap attempts to soil his image. Some police officers have also been arrested. They were alleged to have shot sporadically into the air during the December 11 legislative rerun elections in the state. The shooting allegedly took place in a collation centre in the Rivers East senatorial district. All these issues accumulate the controversies that will shake the nation's political circle this year.

9. New government in Ondo: The governor-elect in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu will be sworn in February. Akeredolu will take over from Dr. Mimiko, of the PDP formerly of the Labour Party, after two terms in power. Akeredolu, a lawyer by profession won on the platform of the APC after his second shot at the state's chief executive. The state would begin to see how APC will implement its campaign promises of integration into the governance at the central.

10. Edo election tribunal: The Edo State election petition will be concluded this year. When the representatives of PDP and APC met at INEC office on December 14 last year to inspect materials used during the election, tempers were high, leading to exchange of words.

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