Posted by By CHRISTIAN ITA & KUNLE OWOLABI on
People to watch in 2008
President Umaru Yar’Adua
In his Sallah and Christmas massage, President Yar’Adua promised that his government would from the New Year embark on policies and programmes that would bring about physical development in the country.
While Nigerians would hold him to that promise, they would also most certainly keep a keen eye on their President as he battles with the ghost of his successor, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
So far, he has dispensed with quite a number of the policies of his successor. Would he continue on the path even in the face of increasing threat to his Presidency from within his party, the Peoples Democratic Party?
Also, it is expected that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal would in the first few weeks of the in-coming year give its judgement on petitions challenging Yar’Adua’s election. Would he win, would he lose?
Although the leadership of the PDP had announced the indefinite postponement of its National Convention, whenever it holds in the in-coming year, there is no doubting that the battle for the chairmanship of the party would be between two kinsmen, Dr. Sam Egwu and Chief Anyim Pius Anyim.
While Egwu, who is the immediate past governor of Ebonyi State is believed to enjoy Obasanjo’s support, Anyim, a former Senate President has enlisted the support of all those opposed to Obasanjo among whom are General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Tony Anenih and Ghali Umar Na’Abba.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo succeeded his erstwhile "Mr. Fix It" as the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the PDP in a manner that has left a bad taste in the mouth of the Uromi-born former Works Minister.
After then, they have fought several "wars" through proxies and the major showdown is expected to take place at the National Convention of the party as Anenih and his group are bent on not only removing Obasanjo as BOT chairman but also keen on stopping his suspected cronies from making it to the leadership of the party.
The Appeal Court will play very critical roles in deciding the political future of key politicians, including at least three governors whose elections were overturned by election tribunals.
Governors whose elections were overturned and have gone on appeal include the Koji State governor, Ibrahim Idris Kebbi State governor, Saidu Dakingari and the Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako.
Former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar are the two main challengers of Yar’Adua’s victory at the tribunal.
So far, they have diligently been prosecuting their petitions, even though they are increasingly coming under intense pressure to withdraw their petitions.
Nigerian Stock Exchange
In 2007, the Nigerian Stock Exchange recorded success on many fronts. Apart from swelling the volume of transactions, it launched an automated trading floor. In 2008, would the market continue to grow or would there be a burst?
These two indigenous airlines have been granted the licence to commence direct flights from Nigeria to New York beginning from the in-coming year.
With a number of orders placed for state-of-the-art aircrafts by Arik, most Nigerian passengers are keen to see whether the airlines would render to them services better than what they are currently getting from the foreign airlines flying this lucrative route. For Arik, expectations are particularly high. The airline has already been adopted by the government of Niger Republic as its national carrier. Indeed, all eyes are on Sir J.I.A. Arumemi-Johnson, chairman of Arik Air. In the last one year, it has revolutionalised the nation’s aviation industry by deploying brand new aircraft in its shuttles.
After successfully defending his Interim WBC Heavyweight title against Jameel McClain, Samuel Peter otherwise known as the Nigerian Nightmare would return to the squared ropes to confront Oleg Maskaev in March.
The African Nations Cup kicks off January 22 in Ghana and as customary, expectations are high that the Super Eagles would win the trophy this time around having finished third in the last three editions.
The last time the country’s senior national team won the cup was in Algiers 1994.
Dr. Andy Uba made history earlier in the year as the governor with the shortest rein. Uba, who won the highly disputed governorship election in Anambra State, was, however, dethroned by the Supreme Court, which held that the tenure of Peter Obi still subsisted.
The former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Domestic Affairs, has approached the same court asking that it should reverse itself.
The Senate President is facing serious challenges from his home state of Benue. The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate in the senatorial race known as Young Alhaji is at the tribunal challenging Marks victory.
Though of a rival party, Alhaji is said to have the support of the former Benue State governor-turned senator, George Akume.
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola recently proposed a budget estimate of nearly N500 billion. It is the first time any state government in the country would make a budget proposal in excess of N150 billion.
Fashola is banking on aggressive tax drives to achieve the N500 billion proposed and recently met with the relevant agencies in that direction. With investors already complaining of over taxation, it remains to be seen how the government would realise its budget estimate without saddling Lagosians with fresh taxes.
Professor Maurice Iwu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (EFCC) has been taking the flak given the massive rigging that attended the conduct of the 2007 general elections. There have been persistent calls for his removal. Will it happen?
Also, there would be by-elections in places ordered by the tribunals. Already, the Senate has approved N500 million for it. Nigerians would be watching to see if the elections would be different from the 2007 elections.
Mike Okiro, the Inspector General of Police, has an uphill task in his hands. Beyond the nagging Niger Delta crisis the police also has the armed robbers to battle. In the past few months the police have lost several of its men to the daredevils. Recently, okiro was confirmed as the substantive IG hence he is expected to declare total war on crime in 2008 as people lives and properties are now at the beck and call of robbers.
The business doyen and the owner of Globacom and Equatorial Trust Bank has many jokers up his sleeve. Couple of days ago his telecom just launched a new product called 3Gs plus as a New Year gift. As Nigerians savour this GLO’s new innovation in mobile teleophone system, ETB also prepares to go to the capital market to offer Nigeria opportunity to own shares in the bank. Those who know Adenuga will testify to the fact that the man has his hand in many pies thus Nigeria expects Globacom and ETB to blaze the trail in banking and Telecommunication sectors in 2008.
Wishing Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello a happy New Year may be the most precious gift any person can give the president’s daughter. This is because of her present predicament over an alleged $3.1 billion contract scam she was involved in. Already, the lead had blown off the scam and Iyabo is battling tooth and nail to wriggle out of the sleaze cobweb she entangled herself in. With the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) turning its searchlight on the scandal, the first –time senator seems to have swallowed pestle. Neither will she sit or stand until the end of the probe into the scandal.
When he succeeded Mrs. Patricia Etteh in October as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the 37-year-old bachelor promised to restore respectability to the House. So far so good.
However, his biggest test would come when he has to reconstitute the committees. Etteh’s travails, if it could be remembered, began the moment some members felt dissatisfied with the distribution and composition of committees.
Also, it must be remembered that Bankole was not the candidate of the PDP in the race to succeed Etteh. Has the PDP accepted his emergence in good faith?
His emergence also threatened to alter the equation in the PDP, with some party members insisting that former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo should relinquish his position as the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BOT). Obasanjo would not give up his position without a fight. So, the questions is: can Bankole neutralize Obasanjo in the politics of Ogun State?