Metropole Magazine

Today's Weather: Abuja NG: Partly Cloudy, Day 360|Night 260

31 Dec Written by  Kimberly Ward

Top 10 National Scandals of 2013

As we look back at the year in headlines, we discover that President Goodluck Jonathan played the supporting role in many of the most memorable national scandals in 2013. In much of the news, worthy of a Nollywood script in their outlandish horror and absurdity, the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan amongst others stepped into the limelight (shone by Sahara Reporters; the bane of the political elite since 2006) to give Nigerians plenty to despair over, and the Commander in Chief was relegated to a bit player role on the comic-tragic film set that is Nigerian public life.

Below is the Top 10 National Scandals that rocked Nigeria in 2013:

10. Apo Killings: When a community of Keke Napep drivers and petty traders was woken up early on the morning of September 20 by a disturbance in the uncompleted building near the Apo Legislative Quarters it called home, little did its members know it would be the end of eight of them. In what seemed like a botched operation by the Department of State Security to evict the ‘unsavoury’ tenants, the dead were controversially identified as Boko Haram militants before the usual parade of uncorroborated truth, cries for justice and institutional silence pervaded.

9. Ombatse Cult Killings: The gruesome murder and corpse burning of 74 policemen and SSS officers by Ombatse cult members in Nasarawa State on May 7th was one of the most shocking events of 2013. Dispatched to arrest the head of the cult over allegations of forced initiations and other brutalities, the security officers were captured and killed in a surprise jungle ambush. After nationwide outrage and protests by the victim’s widows, nobody was arrested and the Director General of the SSS forgave the cult their atrocities, and they continue to terrorise the state today.

8. Governor Chime’s Wife’s Imprisonment:  In one of the more curious cases of political intrigues this year, Mrs. Clara Chime, the estranged wife of Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime, wrote to the National Commission for Human Rights in November begging to be released from her house where she was allegedly held prisoner by her husband. Following several accusations by wife against husband and vice versa, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and the media intervened and after a cringe-worthy press conference in which the Governor and his wife pretended all was well, Mrs Chime was finally released to her mother’s house.

7. Sanusi’s Searchlights: Central Bank’s Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi made the Strangest Statement Retraction of the Year when he stated that $49.8bn, part of the proceeds from crude oil exports by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), remained unaccounted for. Then he came out later to say that actually, it was only $10.8bn that was unaccounted for.

6. Anambra Elections: The farce that was the November elections in Anambra State, from which results were initially inconclusive, gave way to political mayhem, accusations of voter fraud and sabotage, nationwide protests and furious calls by a parade of acronyms: the PDP, APC, LP, PPA and CNPP for a cancellation of the elections and for Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, to be fired for his organisation’s supposed ineptitude.  In the end, results from a supplementary election declared APGA’s candidate the winner, but the real winner in all this mayhem was: mayhem.

5. The Enduring Appeal of Dame Patience Jonathan: The image of the First Lady as a purveyor of bad grammar took a sinister turn this year. Not only was Dame Patience (who by the way, wants to be called Mama Peace now) resurrected by God ala Lazarus after dying for seven days, she was also involved in a David vs Goliath slinging match with Professor Wole Soyinka, but this time Goliath struck the deadliest blow when the Nobel Laureate called her an unrefined Sheppopotamus. The genesis of the insults was Soyinka’s assertions that the First Lady was the mastermind behind the Rivers State crisis, in which the failed impeachment of the Rivers State House of Assembly Speaker was accompanied by a video of Rivers’ politicians beating one another up.

4. Go and Die: When Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole in November told a crying widow to “Go and die,” little did he know that the video of his heartless snob would first make him the most reviled governor on social media, then following a heart-felt apology and a photo-op of a doe-eyed Oshiomole sharing tea and sympathies with the now N2m richer widow, leave Nigerians marvelling at the Governor’s wise Public Relations Officer. God’s blessing to the widow-cum-national symbol of the downtrodden-cum-Government-employer came in disguise, and Oshiomole’s restoration too.

3. ASUU Strike: In the longest-running saga of the year, the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which began in July finally ended in December, with all students expected back at school in January 2014. The Government and the academics had gone back and forth in their negotiations throughout the duration, with ultimatums issued and ignored by both sides; students and parents growing restless and countless newspaper columns filled in discussions about the crisis. But finally it’s all over. Until the next time that is.

2. Oduah, BMWs and the Aviation Industry: When Sahara Reporters broke the story in August of the Aviation Minister Stella Oduah’s seemingly unnecessary purchase of two armoured BMW cars worth N255m, many Nigerians rolled their eyes and waited for nothing to happen. So after much media outrage and still the President’s three-man panel set up in October to probe the affair is yet to deliver its findings, the aviation industry simply continues to hide its blushes over repeated reports  of near-plane crashes and a plane stuck on the runway that closed the capital’s airport for a whole day. And Nigerians watch yet another politician break the law with impunity.

1. Presidential Letters: Like the Ghost of Politics Past, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made a shock re-emergence into the public consciousness with an 18-page public letter to his less-formidable successor imploring him to stop doing ‘bad’ and do ‘good’ instead. Never mind that the ‘bad’ on ground was mostly installed during his tenure, Obasanjo urged us to forget the messenger and heed the message. Some think his letter was borne out of a desire to leave a more pristine legacy in light of the glowing global superlatives bestowed upon the memory of the just-laid-to-rest Mandela. Whatever his reasoning, his daughter Iyabo Obasanjo was unmoved and allegedly penned her own acerbic letter accusing her father of various wrongs. Then President Jonathan finally responded with his own not-as-cutting letter. The season of letter writing may be over but the damage has been done, and our beleaguered president continues to preside over a house divided by unruly ministers with expensive tastes, Mama Peace's involvement in political chaos and the disapproval of his Godfather. We wish him a more prosperous 2014.