• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Outlook for 2016: Political figures, institutions to watch

The year 2016 began on a rough note, no thanks to myriads of socio-economic and political challenges that appear to have defied known solutions. With crude oil price on the international market now at $27 per barrel, it is expected that politicians would be more rational in the deployment of scarce resources.
From the Presidency, to the ruling party; from the main opposition party to the INEC; from the judiciary to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) there would be lots of developments from individual politicians or (and) institutions that would either take the country to greater heights of further plunge her into the abyss of confusion.
President Muhammadu Buhari
The year opened with many people not knowing the direction of the Buhari-administration. While it has been strong on fighting graft, the economy appears to have been largely neglected. He has since been accused of witch-hunting political opponents. Despite the insinuations, it is not likely that the Katsina State-born President will stand down from the war against corruption campaign.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
The vice president will likely play a more robust role this year in the area of giving direction to the nation’s economy. Although he is seen in some quarters as a no-politician, Osinbajo may begin to learn the rope of active politicking and may decide to wear the toga of a man that cannot be pushed over. He will also continue to be a bridge builder, liaising between government and professionals.
Goodluck Jonathan
Since he left office, Goodluck Jonathan has remained largely silent. Although fingers have continued to point at him over the alleged humongous corruption that featured under his watch, government has been careful not to invite him for explanations. But the arrests, detention and trial of his former lieutenants have kept Jonathan’s name on the lips of many people. And as long as corruption fight continues this year, the former President may not have sound sleep. Moreover, with his proposed Foundation sometime this year, he will be someone to watch.
Babatunde Fashola
Many people have described Fashola as a man wearing a “crown of thorns” by virtue of the three-in-one portfolio assigned to him. Analysts speak in tandem that this year would prove Fashola’s capability in effectively handling the tasks. Whatever decisions he decides to take on power, works and housing will either attract commendation or condemnation, depending on the impact of such decisions on the masses. Recall that Fashola had towards the end of last year, appealed to his compatriots to accept upward review of tariffs. It is expected that when the effects of that upward review begin to show up, then the former governor of Lagos State would begin to harvest complaints.
Lai Muhammed
He has continued to do his job the way he knows best. Although, now a minister, metamorphosed from the national publicity of his party, APC, Mohammed, who hails from Kwara State, has remained a “storm petrel” and there are no indications he would soften this year. As the opposition mouthpiece, Mohammed rattled the then ruling PDP, now as the information minister, he is still firing from all cylinders. This year, with the economic outlook of the country that is not bright, the man will have a huge task of constantly explaining to the weary compatriots, government’s activities. He will continue to be in his usual talking business.  
 Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, is many things to many people. Tinubu’s shadow is expected to strongly cast on the party and on some political institutions. Speculations are, however, rife that Tinubu may gradually lose relevance this year as all the arms of government are settling down to their duty. Would Tinubu settle for the position of chairman, board of trustees (BoT) of the party? How robust would be his relationship with Aso Rock going forward? These and many more are the questions on the lips of many people.  
 Although he is no longer in power, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has remained a powerful voice in the country. He speaks out on national issues and has also remained a rallying point to politicians. Obasanjo is likely to continue his advisory role to politicians, irrespective of party affiliations. For many politicians, friendship with Obasanjo is the beginning of wisdom, and that is not likely to change this year. His fortress at Ota, a sleepy community in Ogun State will continue to host the high and mighty in society.
 Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, last year carried on as an unofficial Buhari’s spokesperson. It is said that he is very close to the President as a result of his strong character. This year, El-Rufai is likely to make more interventions on behalf of Buhari. Moreover, how he handles the political crisis in Kaduna State will prove his political sagacity this year.
Chibuike Amaechi: The immediate past governor of Rivers State, whose frosty relationship with the then Presidency on the one hand and the PDP on the other, ultimately gave the PDP the electoral victory it is enjoying today, will remain a star this year. With a lucrative portfolio in his kitty and the reward of his immense contributions with the appointment of a loyalist of his as the acting chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Amaechi will remain a powerful stakeholder, not only in the party, but also in the country.
Uche Ekwunife
 The female politician from Anambra State has had a robust career, but her recent moves have attracted scathing criticisms. Here is a woman that won election into the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) APGA, then moved to PDP where she won a senatorial election last year. But as soon as a court ordered re-run of the election that took her to the Senate, and in her opinion, sensing that the PDP in Anambra currently may not have the machinery to win the election, she quickly dashed into APC. She will continue to be in the news this year.
Olisa Metuh
He is the national publicity of the PDP and has been sent to Kuje Prison over his alleged complicity in the Naira rain in the dying days of Jonathan. But critics have flayed his travail and it is likely to throw up a lot of issues; it may even draw the sympathy of many Nigerians to the PDP spokesman. Although incarcerated, many analysts believe it is not yet over with Metuh.  
John Oyegun-Odigie
The APC national chairman is the man of the moment. He tells everyone who cares to listen that the war against corruption is in tandem with the change programme of the broom party. He is not likely to fall out with the Presidency this year unless the powers that be in Abuja has any reason to suspect that he is aligning more towards Lagos than to Aso Rock.
 This year will prove whether the broom party has actually come for positive change or otherwise. Many people have not come to terms with the modus operandi of the party and its government at the centre. What the party does this year will also determine whether or not it is ready for a second term.
The party will continue to experience more storms, direct consequences of losing at the Presidency, the alleged maladministration and gross squander mania that characterised its 16-year hold on power. The party is likely to weep more this year as the APC will continue its onslaught on members of the opposition party. Its membership will continue to decrease as many will decide to pitch tent with the ruling party.
The National Assembly; its principal officers
The federal legislature will continue to be in the news for good/or/and bad reasons. This year will also prove if the lawmakers are ready to cooperate with the Presidency or not. A lot is expected from both the institution and the principal officers of the bi-cameral legislature.
Mahmood Yakuub
The national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will continue to be in the news this year. With the cancelled elections to be re-run and fresh ones to be conducted in some states that have off-season polls, Yakuub will be very much in the news. But how he goes about with his duties will help Nigerians to form their final opinions about him. Moreover, the Commission, over which he presides, will also, either receive commendations or condemnation, depending of its activities this very year. Analysts say that unless the INEC changes its tactics, election-related litigations would continue, which would negatively impact on the overall governance.
The graft-fighting Commission will surely have its hands full this year with the way things are going. The agency will be busy, but it is doubtful if Nigerians will benefit from the too much noise in the long run. News about arrests, detention and release will continue to inundate Nigerians.
All eyes will continue to be on the judiciary. With variegated judgments emanating from courts, the country is in for a harvest of litigations this very year. Again, with the calls last year from various quarters for the sanitization of the judiciary, it is not likely that such agitation will not continue this time around.
Zebulon Agomuo