In ESSAY on February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am


Like Janus the characters that will likely dominate the theatre stage of 2011 have something about their past and their future set

OBASANJO: He was well known for supporting and facilitating many illegal executive actions and ignoring judgements against himself and his government including judgements delivered by the Supreme Court. Examples included the illegal withholding of funds due to Lagos State Local Governments for more than 2 years after the Supreme Court ordered its immediate release. He also supported the illegal impeachment of several corrupted state governors which the Supreme Court also reversed. The National Judicial Council demonstrated its independence by dismissing several judges who connived with the executive to undermine the constitution during his reign.

He was not able to trickle down reforms and development effective to states and local government level, even in the states controlled by his party. The states and local governments are still riddled with corrupt officials. Also, he failed to solve police and security issues in the country. He also didn’t provide uninterrupted power supply for Nigerians.

IBB: General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida CFR DSS mni (born August 17, 1941), popularly known as IBB, was a Nigerian Army officer and military ruler of Nigeria. He ruled Nigeria from his coup against Muhammadu Buhari on August 27, 1985 until his departure from office in August 27, 1993 after his annulment of elections held on June 12 that year. Babangida was the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Babangida would later overthrow Buhari’s regime on 27 August 1985 in a bloodless military coup that relied on mid-level officers that Babangida silently and strategically positioned over the years.[citation needed]

He came into power in a military coup promising to bring to an end the human rights abuses perpetuated by Buhari’s government, and to hand over power to a civilian government by 1990.[citation needed].Eventually,he perpetuated one of the worst human right abuses and lots of unresolved political assassinations. In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo established the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission headed by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa to investigate human rights abuses during Nigeria’s decades of military rule. However, Babangida repeatedly defied summons to appear before the panel to answer allegations of humans rights abuses and questioned both the legality of the commission and its power to summon him. His right not to testify was upheld in 2001 by Nigeria’s court of appeal which ruled that the panel did not have the power to summon former rulers of the country.[3]

The Oputa Panel Report would conclude that “On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-opened for further investigation in the public interest.[


HENRY OKAH / GBOMO JOMO: Former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, Henry Okah has said he fears more unrest in the Niger Delta after next year’s election.

Okah,  who is standing trial in South Africa for alleged terrorism spoke to The Associated Press by phone, Thursday from jail, where he is awaiting trial on charges he was behind October 1 bombings in Abuja.Okah denies involvement in the bombings, saying he is not a member of the militant group Nigerian government holds responsible for the October 1 attack and for unrest in the delta. But Okah said he supports anyone “fighting for justice in the region.”

Nigerian politicians are known for arming militants to intimidate voters in the lead-up to elections. Okah said once the vote is over, weapons distributed during the campaign would be used in increased violence.

While both Okah and Jonathan are Ijaw, the dominant ethnic group in the Niger Delta, Okah said the  President lacks the vision to manage the grievances of different parts of Nigeria.

But Abuja denied his claim on Monday.

“Okah is talking nonsense, all he’s looking for is an avenue to sell his weapons,” Presidential spokesman Ima Niboro told Bloomberg.

“Even as Vice President, (Jonathan) was the one driving the amnesty process under (the late President Umaru) Yar’Adua.”

Okah, who is resident in South Africa, was arrested in Angola in 2007 on suspicion of gun-running.

He was later deported to Nigeria, where he was put on trial on 62 charges, including capital offences of treason and terrorism.

He was freed in July last year under the amnesty programme and returned to South Africa. Henry Okah, former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), warned from his prison cell in Johannesburg at the weekend that the insurgency in the Niger Delta will continue until the region controls its oil wealth.

Okah faces terrorism charges in South Africa over the bombings in Abuja on October 1.

He called on “thousands of people who are willing to fight to continue to fight. I’m encouraging the people of the Niger delta to fight for their land.

“There are thousands of people who are willing to fight and they’ll continue to fight,” Okah told Bloomberg.

Reacting to the offensive the Joint Task Force (JTF) launched in Ayakoromor in Delta State last week, he said: “The military is only carrying out punitive actions against communities. The Nigerian army should be prepared to fight forever unless the real issues in the delta are addressed.”



GUSAU: Lieutenant General (retired) Aliyu Mohammed Gusau is a former Nigerian army officer who was appointed National Security Advisor by President Goodluck Jonathan on 8 March 2010. He held the same position during most of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency. Before that he was in military Intelligence, and was briefly Army Chief. Aliyu Mohammed was born on 18 May 1943 in Gusau, Zamfara State.[2] The army added his birthplace to his name, making “Aliyu Mohammed Gusau”, to distinguish him from another General Aliyu Mohammed. Although Aliyu does not himself use “Gusau” in his name, it has been widely adopted by the media.[ With wide influence in both civilian and military circles, Aliyu played a central role in ensuring that the transition to democracy in May 1999 went smoothly.[6] Aliyu was the National Security Advisor in the crucial period when former political office holders in the armed forces were retired in June 1999, helping Obasanjo assume control of the armed forces as a civilian President. He remained National Security Advisor during most of Obasanjo’s presidency.[4] He left office to compete in the 2006 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for presidential candidate, coming third. The winner, Umaru Yar’Adua, went on to be elected President.[7]

On 8 March 2010, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan announced that he was removing Major-General Sarki Mukhtar as National Security Adviser and replacing him with Aliyu.[8] A few days later, Aliyu met with the service chiefs in Abuja to discuss the Jos crisis and the security situation in the country. There were rumors that a review of senior army and police assignments could be underway.[9] Speaking at a seminar in April 2010, Aliyu said the legal system seemed to promote crime and the law enforcement agencies appeared overwhelmed. He also said that efforts to fight corruption were perceived as selective and ineffective, and some of the agencies had credibility problems since their leaders had been accursed of corruption.[10]

In April 2010 it was announced that Aliyu would seek nomination to be a candidate in the 2011 Presidential elections.


BOLA AHMED TINUBU: Clearly, Tinubu is not a saint. But the parameters for selecting the LEADERSHIP Person Of The Year do not specify sainthood as a key requirement. By this choice, however, we acknowledge the capacity of focused individuals to change their society for the better. For providing clear, pragmatic leadership during a period of self-doubt by a citizenry under a political siege; by patiently deploying the instrumentality of law to achieve what many thought were lost causes; for becoming the arrowhead of a waning opposition vanguard and effectively checkmating a creeping totalitarianism, Tinubu is the LEADERSHIP Person Of The Year 2010. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was born in Lagos, on March 29, 1952. His political career began in 1992 when he was elected to the Nigerian Senate, representing the Lagos West constituency in the short-lived Third Republic. After the results of the June 12, 1993, presidential election were annulled, Tinubu became a founding member of the pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which mobilized support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of the June 12 results. He went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the death of military dictator Sani Abacha, which ushered in a transition to civilian rule.

In the run-up to the 1999 elections, Bola Tinubu was a protégé of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo. He won the AD primaries for the Lagos State gubernatorial elections in competition with Funso Williams and Dr. Wahab Dosunmu, a former minister of works and housing. In April 1999, he stood for the governorship election on the AD ticket and won.



  1. 1. President Goodluck Jonathan

If the WikiLeaks report on President Jonathan’s discussion with erstwhile United States ambassador were a sufficient gauge, it would seem the University don turned politician didn’t bargain for the intrigues that accompany the highest office in the world’s most populous black nation.


However, luck entrusted on him the mantle of leadership when late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in Aso Rock on May 5, 2010. Months on the saddle, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan rode on the wave of popular goodwill to retain his office, a capital many believe is fast running out. Not with allegations of bribery and incompetent leadership. Worse still, the most vociferous voices have emanated from his party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as segments within the North believe that his party zoning arrangement for elective offices among the geo-political zones in the country precludes him from contesting for election. With Jonathan’s hat fully in the ring and a determined opposition, he will surely be crucial in 2011.


  1. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Call him the living nightmare of Nigerian Bank CEO’s and you will not be wrong. Sanusi Lamido is different things to different people, but what is never in doubt is that he is not a man who likes to be contradicted. In one full swoop, he shot former bank CEO’s with egos the size of cathedrals, down from their lofty skyscraper offices to maximum security prisons.

Sanusi, 49, was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by late President Umaru Yar’Adua on June 1, 2009, in the middle of a global financial crises. By August Sanusi has started stoking the fires of our own crises. He bailed 5 banks he believed were in crises with 400 Billion of public money, dismissed their executives and began a series of reforms many believe are prompted by vendetta or messianic complex. To prove he does not shy away from controversy, he recently accused the National Assembly of frittering away 25 per cent of the nation’s budget, an allegation that is still gathering storm. In 2011 we are sure to find the CBN Boss firing from all cylinders.

  1. 3. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari

It seems it doesn’t matter how often he wears his new trademark white Babaringa, the “General” would always follow the General. And so also his reputation as a former brutal dictator. While he enjoys the uncompromising devotion of the talakawas, the elites it seems view him with cordial disdain. And the talakawas often don’t get to choose the President. So it seems he remains the next best option – even then he must matter to an extent to enjoy such renown.


Born December 17, 1942, General Buhari was the military ruler of Nigeria from December 31, 1983 – August 27, 1985, and an unsuccessful candidate for president in the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections under the platform of the ANPP. The General who hails from Katsina State of the Fulani stock, is reputed to hate corruption, a fact many believed was strengthened in his days as PTDF Boss. In an election year, especially where the umpire is believed to have moral character and with a party, the CPC that is in talks with major opposition parties to field him as their Presidential standard bearer, it is not impossible that the General may just be awarded his command.



  1. 4. Professor. Attahiru Jega

When the story of Nigerian “academic activists” is told, one man whose name is sure to enjoy more than a passing reference is Attahiru Jega. A professor of political science and vice chancellor of Nigeria’s Bayero University, Kano, was drafted from the cold comfort of the Ivory towers to the murky waters of Nigerian Politics to add tissue to the political theories he’s spend a lifetime teaching.

A former consultant to INEC, former national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, between 1988 and 1994, during which, his predecessor in office, Maurice Iwu, was the union’s vice president, also a member of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Group, whose report has been widely acclaimed as the required panacea for the nation’s electoral woes… Mr Jega’s qualification are absolutely not in doubt. His appointment it would be recalled for the first time in the nation’s chequered political history was applauded by both the ruling and opposition parties.

Come 2011, this 53 year old, academic from Jega in Kebbi State will be the cynosure of all eyes as he attempts to give Nigeria free and fair elections.


  1. 5. Pastor Tunde Bakare

Tunde Bakare is a Nigerian Pentecostal pastor. He has received national and international attention for his televangelism, which has sometimes been critical of the Nigerian government. As the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group, a group gradually morphing into a thorn in the flesh of corrupt government officials, it is easy to see why in 2011 the group will assume more political relevance.


  1. 6. Atiku Abubakar

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Turakin Adamawa), GCON (born 25 November 1946) was the Vice-President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He is a Muslim native of Adamawa State, and was an influential member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) until 2006 when he switched affiliation to the Action Congress party. The former Vice President made a controversial return to the PDP in 2009, a return that has won him more foes than allies. However as the election approaches, Atiku has grown in relevance especially after he was presented as the Northern Consensus candidate and promises to be a formidable opposition to the ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan.

  1. 7. Hafiz A. Ringim

Appointed in September this year when the menace of kidnapping was almost threatening the corporate existence of South Eastern Nigeria, Mr Ringim comes to the saddle with the huge task of superintending 2011 elections. If the political intrigues and smear campaigns already embarked upon by politicians is a good indication – as its often is – then Mr Ringim has his work cut out for him. Not only would he oversee elections that are prosecuted with the rhetoric of war, he’d would have the added task of not only saving the people from the politicians but also saving the politicians from themselves.

  1. 8. Samson Siasia

Perhaps no other Nigerian coach has endeared himself to the hearts of the millions of football loving Nigerians than this Bayelsa born tactician, Samson Siasia. A member of the most achieved national team the Super Eagles set of 1994, Nigeria’s coach to two successful junior world cups where he finished second, Samson rode on the back of popular support to clinch the highly lucrative job of Super Eagles gaffer on November 4, 2010, months after the Swedish tactician Lars Lagerback took Nigeria to a disastrous world cup

Samson Siasia, 43, goes ahead into the new year with so much promise and expectation as Nigeria seeks to qualify for the next African Cup of Nations.


  1. 9. Aloysius Katsina-Alu

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr Aloysius Katsina-Alu assumed office amid a controversy he had no hand in either its creation or execution. He was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on Wednesday 30 December 2009 by his predecessor as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Idris Legbo Kutigi. There was some controversy over the ceremony, since in all previous ceremonies the Oath of Office was administered by the President of Nigeria. However, President Umaru Yar’Adua was unavailable on account of ill health since November 2009, and had failed to hand over to his Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

His reputation like a pendulum have swung from right to left between lawyers who see him as tough and others who say the nation should expect a more vibrant judiciary under him. Born in 28 August 1941 and of the Ushongo in what is now Benue State, Katsina-Alu has been a member of the court since 1998 and will have to prove his mettle when the elections petitions start flooding the hallowed chambers of the Supreme Court in 2011.



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