December 31, 2022

2022: Year of killings, deaths, floods, pains, politics



•8,058 persons killed across Nigeria

By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor

Given the effects of the worst flood in the history of Nigeria, high-profile deaths, an eight-month strike by public university teachers, unceasing killings and kidnapping for ransom, and worsening economic woes among others,  2022, which expires today, is a year many Nigerians will like to forget in a hurry.

In 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said on November 18 that 133 million (63 per cent) of Nigerians were suffering from multidimensional poverty, with children constituting more than half of poor people in the country. In like manner, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, said the number of out-of-school-children had risen to 20 million.

Apart from the socio-economic sad tales, 2022 witnessed high-wire politicking and intrigues as political parties and politicians busied themselves with preparations for the 2023 general elections that will be held on February 25 and March 11.

High-wire political intrigues

Issues and controversies trailing the election of national leaderships of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and election of presidential and other candidates by the 18 political parties kept the polity turbo-charged throughout the year.

The recurring burning of the offices and facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, across many states kept creating fears that the 2023 polls may not be held on account of insecurity.

The political alignment, re-alignment, horse-trading and intrigues that led to the emergence of presidential and other candidates of the various political parties kept the polity charged for most part of the year.

Indeed, the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC); Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (PDP); Mr. Peter Obi (Labour Party, LP); and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP) among others as presidential candidates seem to have altered political dynamics of the country.

For the first time since the First Republic elections, there are fears that there may be a run-off presidential poll as a very keen contest is expected from the trio of Atiku, Obi and Tinubu.  In the First Republic, none of the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC; Action Group, AG; and National Council of Nigerian Citizens, NCNC, had a clear majority needed to form the Parliamentary Government. There was a need for any two of the three for form an alliance. The NPC and NCNC formed the cabinet.

Now, pundits fear that Atiku, Tinubu and Obi may not get 25 per cent of the votes cast in at least 24 states, which is required in addition to getting the majority of valid votes to be declared outright winner. If that happens there will be a run-off between any of the best two.

Other issues that shaped 2022 include the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, redesigning of the Naira; and reduction of cash withdrawal limit.

8,058 killed across Nigeria’s killing fields

As had been witnessed in the last 11 years, Nigeria remained a killing field in 2022. No fewer than 8,058 lives were cut short violently across the country in 2022, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker, NST, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa programme that documents and maps violence in Nigeria that is motivated by political, economic, or social grievances.

Apart from deaths arising from Boko Haram insurgency, violence among ethnic groups, farmers, and herdsmen skirmishes, security agencies kill civilians indiscriminately. Police are notorious for extra-judicial murder with the latest being the murder of a pregnant Lagos-female lawyer, Bolanle Raheem, by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, in Ajah, Lagos on Christmas Day.

High-profile deaths

Arguably, 2022 began on a deadly note and claimed the lives of many prominent Nigerians.

Eminent Nigerians who died in 2022 include the Olubadan  of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, who died at the age of 93 on January 1; former Head of the National Interim Government, ING, Chief Ernest Shonekan, who died on January 11, aged 85; and Nigerian gospel singer, Chinedu Nwadike, 38 (March 27).

On the death list were another popular Nigerian gospel artiste, Osinachi Nwachukwu, 43 (April 8); the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, 83 (April 22);  Maverick politician, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, 83 (May 8); former Chief of Staff of the defunct Republic of Biafra, General Alexander Madiebo (June 4);  Nollywood actress, comedian and on-air-personality, Ada Ameh, 48 (July 17); former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, 73 (October 6); Nigeria’s first female Vice Chancellor, Professor Grace Alele-Williams, 89 (March 25); four-time Federal minister, Alabo Graham-Douglas (April 26).

Other deaths include that of First Republic Minister of Aviation and elder statesman,  Chief Mbazulike Amechi, 93 (November 1); multiple award-winning gospel singer, Sammie Okposo, 51 (November 25); Second Republic politician and former Minister of Power and Steel, Chief Paul Unongo, 87 (November 29); and Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain, Demola Seriki, 63, (November 15).

The rest include: Former Inspector General of Police, Mustafa Balogun (August 4);

Chief Duro Onabule, 83 (August 18); Master Ifeanyi Adeleke, 3, son of popular Afrobeats artiste, Davido (October 31); former Presidential Candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, Bashir Tofa, 74 (January 3); former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, 71, (January 3); and former Ambassador to the United States and President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, 80 (December 28).

Worst flooding in Nigeria’s history

Nigerians witnessed the worst flooding ever in 2022. According to the Federal Government, the disaster killed over 603 persons, displaced 1,302,589 persons and destroyed over 108,393 hectares of farmlands across the country.

Similarly, the government disclosed that the disaster injured 2,407 persons, partially damaged 121,318 houses, totally damaged 82,053 houses, partially damaged 108,392 hectares of farmlands and totally damaged 332,327 hectares of farmlands, all across Nigeria.

The 2022 flood, which affected 31 states of the country and Abuja, is the worst in  the history of Nigeria. Before now, the 2012 flood was the worst as rivers burst their banks and submerged vast lands in 30 of the country’s 36 states, killing over 400 people, displaced 2.1 million people, affected seven million others and caused N2.5 trillion damage, according to the Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.

The seriousness of the 2012 flooding, referred to as the most harmful in the last 40 years, was attributed to a combination of two events: very heavy local rainfall and the release of excess water.

Redesigned Naira, cash limit

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on October 26, 2022, announced that new Naira notes would be introduced to replace the current 200, 500, and 1,000 Naira notes. Emefiele said the redesign will take effect from Thursday, December 15, 2022. He also said that existing notes would cease to be regarded as legal tender by January 31, 2023.

Also, on December 22, the CBN raised its weekly cash withdrawal limits set for individuals and corporate organisations to N500,000 and N5 million, respectively. The earlier limits announced on December 7 pegged individual cash withdrawals per week at N100,000; while corporate organisations were limited to weekly withdrawals of N500,000. The review followed outcry from stakeholders.

ASUU Strike

Call 2022 a year of ASUU strike and you will not be wrong. The public university teachers were on strike for 243 days (34 weeks) between February 14 and October 14. To break ASUU rank, the Federal Government on October 5, 2022 announced the formation of two new academic unions – the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA). ASUU eventually called off the 8-month strike on October 14, 2022.