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EVENTS THAT SHAPED 2010

By NBF News
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Year 2010 kicked off with a thick cloud of uncertainty and tension over who was in charge of Nigeria. It followed year 2009, which ended with the then ailing President, Umaru Yar'Adua jetting to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on November 23 to seek medical help.

The trip had triggered a constitutional crisis as no one was sure who actually was in control. The situation was made worse by some people close to the family of the former president who appropriated authority and also prevented Nigerians from the true situation. His long absence from the country triggered calls for him to step down for his vice, Goodluck Jonathan to take over.

But those versed in law picked holes in such plans saying the suggestion was alien to the nation's laws. Doctrine of necessity: This is one of the issues that dominated 2010. In the face of mounting tension and uncertainty over who really was in charge, the National Assembly, on February 10, voted to transfer power to the then Vice President, Jonathan, until Yar'Adua would be fit enough to resume his presidential duties.

Yar'Adua's wee-hour return to Aso rock: The event which was like a coup was to forestall moves for the proclamation of the doctrine of necessity. As a panicky measure, those loyal to Yar'Adua had literally smuggled the ailing President back to Nigeria under the cover of darkness even though the President was not yet able to work.

Division in FEC over Yar'Adua's illness: At a point, members of FEC were polarized over the health condition of the former president. While some members of the council wanted him to resign, others believed it was wrong to do so.

Yar'Adua's demise: The eventual death of Yar'Adua on May 6 was the highpoint of events that dominated the outgoing year. His vice-president, Goodluck Jonathan, already acting in Yar'Adua's stead, was immediately sworn in to succeed him. It put paid to the intrigues over who should be in charge of the ship of state.

Jonathan's ascendancy: The emergence of Jonathan as the president of Nigeria followed a path considered uncharacteristic to the political theater in Nigeria. His foray into politics came in 1999, when Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha picked him as his running mate for the gubernatorial race in Bayelsa State. He served as deputy governor from May 29, 1999, until Dec. 11, 2005, when Alamieyeseigha was impeached. Jonathan became governor to serve out the remainder of the tenure that was scheduled to end in May 29, 2007.

As he was about to seek re-election as governor, the PDP Presidential candidate, Umaru Yar'Adua, nominated him as his running mate.

The Yar'Adua—Jonathan ticket won the April 2007 presidential election. On May 29, 2007, Jonathan was inaugurated as Nigeria's vice president.

But with little over one year left on the four-year tenure of the Yar'Adua -Jonathan administration, he became the acting president of Nigeria as a result of Yar'Adua's ill health and incapacitation.

The fall of Aondoakaa: The role which the former Minister of justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, (SAN) played in the legal tussle that followed the incapacitation and illness of the late President, Umar Musa Yar'Adua will not be forgotten in a haste. Aondoakaa rebuffed calls for the incapacitated Yar'Adua to transfer power to his vice, Goodluck Jonathan. With the demise of Yar'Adua, Jonathan transferred Aondoakaa from being AGF to be the Minister for Special Duties.

His travails however, continued when early this month, the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) suspended him from using his SAN title till 2012. The LPPC made the disclosure that Aondoakaa deserved the stripping of the title of SAN in view of a judgment delivered by a Federal High Court in Calabar which it said not only branded him unfit to hold the office of the AGF but also inadequate to hold any public office based on offences bothering on corruption.

Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke's sack: While she was expected to retire as the boss of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in November this year after she would have turned 60, trouble started for the bulky Professor when the Security and Exchange Commission ordered her removal as the Director General of NSE. The Security and Exchange Commission said in a statement, 'given the gravity of the allegations around financial mismanagement of the exchange, the commission has also directed…an independent investigation.'

South East under kidnappers' siege: Year 2010 also saw the South eastern part of the country coming under siege. Not since the Civil War period has the South-East been under siege like it witnessed in 2010. Kidnapping which was initially thought to be an instrument by militants in Niger Delta to call government's attention to the degradation in the South South was elevated to a business venture in Igbo land.

Although the situation seems to cut across the six geo-political zones, it was particularly more endemic in the South East where kidnappers made life extremely difficult for the residents.

At a point, the immediate past Inspector General of Police, Ogbonaya Onovo, had to meet with Police chiefs in the zone so as to bring the situation under control. From Enugu to Owerri and from Onitsha to Nsukka, the entire region was under siege by kidnappers. Worst hit was the commercial capital of Aba. The situation was so terrible that banks in the city had to close for weeks.

House of Commotion: The House of Representatives recorded a parliamentary disorder as it resorted to use of brutal force in dragging some of its members out of chamber for allegedly violating its rules. The 11 members who had raised allegations of financial misuse against Speaker Dimeji Bankole and the leadership of the House, were hit with indefinite suspension but was later converted to a suspension that would last till the end of the new session ending June, 2011.

The outburst of the leader of the group, Dino Melaye produced instantaneous outbreak of disorderliness and chaos in the House. Hon. Awhinawi had moved to grab the mace when security men quickly rushed in to prevent him from seizing the symbol of the legislature.

At this point, some lawmakers descended on Awhinawi and made him to leave the chamber with bruises and torn clothes.

Ribadu's exile and return: Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, went into self-exile following the political travails that he suffered after the departure of Olusegun Obasanjo as President under whom he served. Ribadu's rapid promotion by former President Obasanjo within the Police triggered unrest within the force. He left the shores of the country where he stayed for about two years before returning into the country in June this year.

Iwu sacked as INEC boss: President Goodluck Jonathan did not renew the tenure of former chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu. Although no reason was given, it was believed that it was due to the shoddy manner Iwu's INEC handled the 2007 election. Many are particularly unhappy that several results were upturned at the courts.

Jega is new INEC boss
President Jonathan appointed former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, Professor Attahiru Jega, as the new chairman of INEC. The appointment drew a lot of applause and raised hope that the 2011 election might be credible.

PDP group insist on zoning
A group within the PDP led by former minister of finance, Adamu Ciroma, insists that the party should ensure the retention of the zoning policy in the party. The group under the umbrella of Northern Peoples Leaders Forum (NPFL) contends that the north was yet to finish its eight year tenure and so pushed for a northerner to rule till 2015.

Atiku emerges North's consensus candidate
The NPFL said they had agreed on Abubakar Atiku as consensus candidate to challenge President Goodluck

Jonathan in the party's primaries.
The NPLF decision put paid to the aspiration of former military president Ibrahim Babangida, Gen. Mohammed Gusau and Governor Bukola Saraki, who interestingly all decided to queue behind Atiku.

Removal of several bank chiefs
The new governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, came up with an audit report on some commercial banks which eventually paved the way for the ouster of the Managing Directors of BankPHB, Oceanic Bank and Intercontinental Bank.

Cecilia Ibru jailed: Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former MD of Oceanic Bank, was one of the bank chiefs affected by Sanusi's bank reform. She was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at Federal High Court which then convicted her and ordered that her assets and shares worth over N191 billion be forfeited. She was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on a three-count charge of negligence, reckless grant of credit facilities running into billions of dollars and mismanagement of depositors' funds.

Bomb blast at Nigeria's independence celebration: For countries that successfully clock 50 years of nationhood, drums of celebration are usually rolled out to mark such anniversaries, but in Nigeria, some individuals decided to be sadistic.

Amidst the pomp that characterized the 50 years of independence on October 1, some individuals successfully detonated two bombs a few kilometers to Eagle square venue of the celebration.

The suicide attack was the first of its kind in the history of the nation. It was the worst gift any nation could get on such anniversaries.

Bankole, Daniel in bus fight: The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel, were involved in a bus fight seen more as ego clash.

The incidence occurred at the commissioning of an abandoned overhead bridge in Sango—Ota in July. According to reports, Daniel and the Works Minister, Sanusi Daggash, had cut the tape for the commissioning before Bankole arrived. It was reported that as Daggash and Daniel headed for their bus, Bankole collected the bus key from the driver and tongue-lashed Daniel for reaping where he didn't sow because he (Bankole) did all the spadework that resulted in the completion of the bridge.

Resurgence of militancy in Niger Delta:
Militancy in the Niger Delta, which has ebbed at the tail end of 2009 again resurfaced in 2010 as men of the Joint Task Force raided some towns and villages in search of militants led by one John Togo that recently blew up pipelines in the area. In the fracas, several lives were lost while hundreds were rendered homeless.

Endorsement fever in PDP
Following the adoption of Abubakar Atiku as the NPLF's consensus candidate, some politicians believed to be sympathetic to President Jonathan are working overtime to ensure that some governors publicly announce their support for the President.