By Emmanuel Aziken
2020 was indeed a year for many not to be remembered. However, for many others who invested early in Nigeria’s stock market it was a memorable year with bountiful profits that made the year beautiful.
On the political terrain, there were, however, many things to be remembered.
The emergence of Hope Uzodinma as governor of Imo State in January despite finishing fourth in the 2019 election was the first shock of the year, 2020.
Of course, one man of God, Father Ejike Mbaka was there to take the glory. Father Mbaka who had chided Peter Obi for being a stingy donor to the ‘work of God’ had on the other hand had different words for Uzodinma. After the APC governorship candidate wedged his kola at Mbaka’s December 2018 harvest with N2 million, he had ‘prophesied’ that Uzodinma would be governor.
If Uzodinma’s ascent to the Government House was shocking, David Lyon’s descent will be a lifelong nightmare.
A day to his inauguration as governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Lyon was in the field rehearsing for the occasion on February 14 when the Supreme Court struck down his election on the claim that his running mate was ineligible having supposedly forged his credentials.
You can imagine how Mrs. Lyon would always agonise whenever the name of that running mate surfaces in their home!
On February 25 after four years of trial, Justice Okon Abang sentenced Olisa Metuh to seven years of imprisonment for supposedly receiving money from the erstwhile National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki.
That sentence was eventually overturned by the Court of Appeal which found significant basis of bias by Abang against Metuh.
Coronavirus entered the country about that time in February through an Italian expatriate.
The authorities meanwhile, still took time to close the borders, perhaps because the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari was still out of the country negotiating power deals for the country in Germany and Britain.
It is claimed that he came back with the virus in March. Before he became sick, Kyari sealed a deal between Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki in a secret meeting in the Presidential Villa.
That meeting agreed that Oshiomhole would keep his job as national chairman of the APC while Obaseki would get his second term ticket.
At least one official close to Obaseki who was present at that meeting came down with COVID-19 after that meeting apparently having caught it from Kyari.
The Obaseki aide survived, but Kyari did not survive.
Days after Kyari died, Oshiomhole released a video where he was seen exercising in a gym. Comrade showed with the video that the death of Kyari who was seen as Obaseki’s protector (both men having worked in the finance industry in Lagos prior to politics) was out of the way and he was set for combat.
If Kyari imported his Coronavirus, Senator Buruji Kashamu did not import his own. Indeed, Kashamu to the envy of many Nigerians, had an open visa to visit the United States, but for years declined.
Some insinuated that American agents were at hand to make sure that the man that they had haunted was actually the man who was buried!
His death also touched another controversy when Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo went against conventional wisdom to deride him even in death.
With Kyari dead, Oshiomhole bared his fangs and ensured that Obaseki was denied the APC’s nomination on the claim that his University of Ibadan certificate was forged.
Obaseki swiftly crossed over to the PDP after some initial hesitance by some including Chief Dan Orbih.
The appointment of Abdullahi Ganduje to lead the APC election despite dollar mutterings from the past, and the Kano governor’s vow to isolate his PDP equivalent, Nyesom Wike were among the witty fallouts from the Edo election.
Wike and Orbih were eventually to lead the PDP to beat the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The APC candidate it is alleged lost mainly because of sentiments by some in the APC who worked against their own candidate because of Oshiomhole.
Some also alluded to the role of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who had as the ‘leader of democrats’ instructed Edo voters not to return their governor!
They rejected his advise. For Tinubu, that would have been a little bother. The outcome of that election and the subsequent hostility to Asiwaju even within Lagos during the #EndSARS protest have unnerved perceptions as to the ascendancy of Tinubu.
Even more, whispers of a conspiracy against Tinubu continued to circulate through the year. Despite the very major role Tinubu played in the formation of the APC it is an irony that he has no role in the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC! Decisions are taken that directly impart upon him and he is not able to show presence!
With Tinubu supposedly marked, suggestions of other possible APC presidential materials began to unfold in 2020. One of the most notable being the increasingly articulated presidential aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello.
After the controversies that trailed the Kogi State governorship election and the philosophy of ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, election, Bello seems to be putting on new garbs including postulations on electoral reforms.
What a year to remember!