2015 is certainly one year Nigerians are not likely to forget in a hurry. It was an election year and this came with the tensions that are associated with elections in a developing country like Nigeria.
ENCOMIUM Weekly can authoritatively say that most of the events that shaped the country in the year 2015 are politically related.
Let us take a look at some of the events.
CAMPAIGN OF CALUMNY RENT THE AIR
By January 1, 2015, the tension in the air about the forthcoming general elections was thick that one could use a knife to cut through it. The two leading political parties, PDP and APC, were already immersed in campaign of calumny.
The newspapers, magazines, electronic media and the internet were full of dirty campaigns hauled at each other. The private and public lives of their presidential candidates were thoroughly exposed for all to see.
It was the tension generated by the dirty campaigns on both sides that led to Lt. Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) National Peace Committee to broker a peace meeting between the two leading presidential candidates. Certainly, the initiative by the former military head of state and members of his peace committee went a long way to douse the tension created by the campaign of calumny.
THE ELECTION POSTPONEMENT
The first election in the year was the presidential which was scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 14, 2015. But the ruling party, PDP through the NSA then, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) used the security situation in North East region of the country to force INEC to shift the election to March 28, 2015.
The postponement, no doubt, heightened the already tensed atmosphere in the country but the opposition party, APC, who saw through the plan of the ruling party to postpone the election indefinitely accepted the postponement with equanimity.
THE DOLLAR RAIN
The six week postponement of the elections by INEC brought fortune to some people and misfortune to the economy and inadvertently the whole country.
The president then, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan, who equally was the presidential candidate of PDP, literarily left his official residence in Aso Rock, Abuja and relocated to the South West geo-political zone of the country to woo the voters with dollars.
Virtually all the interest groups the president met with, during his sojourn in the South West to canvass votes were said to have received cash gift mostly in dollars. The free fall that the naira is experiencing today in the forex market is attributed by some economic experts to the dollar rain of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
AWUJALE’S REFUSAL TO ENDORSE JONATHAN
It was a public knowledge that during the former President Jonathan’s last minute desperate visit to South West to canvass for votes, some prominent Yoruba Obas publicly endorsed him.
It was, therefore, refreshing when the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, a prominent paramount ruler in the country from South West openly told the president that it was not within his purview as a traditional ruler to endorse any candidate.
It was a gesture which showed that some traditional rulers still have integrity.
JONATHAN’S ACCEPTANCE OF BUHARI’S VICTORY AT THE POLL
Whatever misgiving anybody has against the former president, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan, his phone call to General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to congratulate him as the winner of the Saturday, March 28, 2015, presidential election even before INEC announced the final results has put him in good stead.
It had also put him on the good side of the political history of this country. He is the first and the only presidential candidate to do so in the political history of this country.
It was a gesture that is worthy of emulation by many of our politicians.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Saturday, March 28, 2015 presidential election was one event that has reshaped the country’s political landscape.
In the 55 years post independence history of the country that was the first time the opposition candidate would be defeating the incumbent.
It was one incident that taught Nigerians particularly the politicians a lesson that you cannot take the people for a ride forever.
It also taught them that the people are becoming alive to their responsibilities as the deciders of the fate of those in government.
THE PHENOMENON CALLED ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU
If there is one person that the political events of the year 2015 has improved his rating, it is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC). Not a few attributed the victory of the opposition in clinching the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the first time ever to his political sagacity and strategy.
Today, in Nigerian politics, love Tinubu or hate him, but you cannot ignore him.
THE INSOLVENCY IN SOME STATES
The inability of many states in the federation to pay salaries of their workers for several months in the year 2015, has shown that the dwindling fortune of the economy caused by tumbling price of crude oil at international market, profligacy of some states governments and widespread corruption among politicians and public servants, is already taking its toll on the people.
It is no gainsaying that many Nigerian workers are certainly going to experience bleak Christmas because there wouldn’t be money for them to spend during the yuletide period.
THE EMERGENCE OF SARAKI AND DOGARA
The emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki and Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, as the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively has once again proved that in presidential system of government, there is nothing like party supremacy.
Against their party, APC wish, the two leaders of the National Assembly emerged winners of their current positions and the party couldn’t do anything about it.
THE DEATH OF ABUBAKAR AUDU
Late Abubakar Audu, who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Saturday, November 21, 2015 governorship election when he suddenly died on Sunday, November 22, 2015.
His death did not only deprive him of making history as the first to become the governor of a state for three terms but also created a constitutional crisis that will take the amendment of the electoral laws and the constitution to permanent resolve.
– TOLANI ABATTI