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2021 in retrospect: How defections, secession agitations shaped Nigeria’s polity

Posted by on January 1, 2022 0

The countdown to the 2023 general election largely shaped the major political activities in the country in 2021.

This is as some top political actors, including governors defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

2021 was also characterized by controversial activities from the presidency, ranging from its inability to tackle the security situation in the country, to response to the secession agitation which took over the entire nation between April to August this year.

Defection:

Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, on May 29, formally declared his decision to dump the PDP for the ruling party at the Cross River State Executive Council Chamber in Calabar.

His decision came after a two-hour meeting with seven APC governors led by the party’s interim chairman and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.

Also, Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on June 27, dumped the opposition party for the APC and automatically emerged leader of the party in the state. He revealed during his decamping ceremony in Gasau that he had been nurturing the ambition of joining the party.

Similarly, as some of the political top notch strategize for the 2023 general election, a former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode was on September 16, officially received into the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The former Minister was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa by the Chairman of the APC’s Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni and Zamfara Governor Bello Matawale.

In the same vein, the fortunes of the APC in Benue and other states several times depleted with the exit of some top politicians, including a three-term member of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon John Dyegh and thousands of others from the ruling party to PDP.

Leadership crisis in PDP

Prior to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party which took place in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on October 30, there was a leadership crisis rocking the party, as members were splitting into factions.

DAILY POST recalls that a Rivers State High Court on August 24, issued an order of interim injunction restraining Uche Secondus from parading himself as the national chairman of PDP.

Judge O. Gbasam issued the order following an ex parte application filed by four applicants.

A copy of the court order which went viral had the quartet of Ibeawuchi Alex, Dennis Amadi, Emmanuel Stephen, and Umezerike Onucha, as the plaintiffs.

However, sequel to the crisis, an elective national convention was organized, leading to the emergence of Senator Iyorchia Ayu from Benue State as the current National Chairman of the party.

Secession agitation and arrest of agitators

Secession agitations in the country took another turn in 2021 following the activities of the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Yoruba nation agitators demanding the establishment of Oduduwa Kingdom as a sovereign state.

While the IPOB members were shutting down economic activities in the Southeast agitating for Biafra freedom, the Yoruba nation agitators led by Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho conducted mega rallies in the Southwestern States, demanding for Oduduwa republic.

Leader of the IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who was accused of inciting violence using his social media handles, was on June 29, re-arrested and brought back to Nigeria to face his trial after jumping bail in 2017.

Kanu is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, as efforts to get him released proved abortive . He will continue his trial on treason felony in January.

Similarly, Igboho, after his home was raided in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital by operatives of the secret police, was arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic after attempting to escape to an European country with his wife.

2021 in retrospect: How defections, secession agitations shaped Nigeria’s polity

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