- Events, People that will Shape 2015
By Sonia O’Aba
In every generation certain people and events have so much influence or impact on people or nations such that long after they had happened or left the stage, the effects of their actions would continue to be felt all over the land. In the same vein, some personalities and events could shape the destiny of a nation or peoples in a given year, to the extent that the effects would be felt for months, nay years later.
Against this backdrop, it is pertinent to look around, gaze into the future (even without the power of clairvoyance) and highlight the events and people that are most likely to shape this country from January to December 2015.
Given that it goes without saying that no nation can survive without security, there’s no prize in guessing that the actions and/or inactions of the radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, would significantly affect millions of Nigerians one way or the other in 2015.
From the rag-tag outfit it was as at 2009 when its pioneer leader was killed in a massive police crackdown, Boko Haram has waxed stronger, adding territorial acquisition to its exploits such as kidnapping, bombing and assassinations.
With the federal government having failed to tame the dare-devil gang up till now, analysts are of the view that Boko Haram could exact some toll the land in the months ahead except, of course the government can find a way to either bring the group to its heels or conjure a ceasefire.
THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS
Long before the time-table of the 2015 general elections was released, many had predicted that the general conduct and outcome of these polls could, to a large extent, make or mar Nigeria.
That may be far-fetched, but given the way and manner the campaigns have been conducted ahead of the all-important contest, discerning observers are of the view except the elections are free and fair, dire times may be ahead for Nigeria.
It would be recalled that following allegations of rigging that characterized the 2007 Presidential poll, violence rocked some parts of Northern Nigeria, notably Kaduna State. The situation, some fear, may be more violent if rigging reared its ugly head in 2015.
GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND MOHAMMED BUHARI
President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari (the APC Presidential Candidate) would shape the nation’s destiny in 2015 one way or the other.
How, for instance, will the duo conduct themselves before, during, and after the 2015 presidential poll? Would the winner be magnanimous in victory, and would the loser bow out gracefully, or would rancor and recrimination reign supreme?
The All Progressives Congress has already warned that it would form a parallel government if the general elections are rigged. Will such an unpalatable scenario come to pass in 2015?
NIGERIAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS
Condemnation and outrage trailed the news that a plane belonging to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo had been arrested with illicit fund in South Africa combined with the CAN leader’s penchant for blindly supporting the Jonathan administration irrespective of the government’s indulgence, many Nigerians felt the man of God had stooped too low for filthy lucre.
Conversely, the Sultan of Sokoto earned universal acclaim after condemning, nay outlawing Boko Haram on account of the radical sect’s terrorist activities. Many felt that he had spoken truth to power (in this case the rampaging insurgents) without fear or favour.
The Sultan’s conduct and the CAN President’s actions and inactions are typical examples of religious leaders can shape the nation’s destiny one way or the other.
Accordingly, it goes without saying that how such personalities act (or fail to act) would significantly affect Nigerians in 2015.
Hate him or love him, this ex-President has carved a niche for himself as a molder of opinion – an influential one at that; witness for instance how the Shehu Shagari regime crumbled like a pack of cards shortly after Obasanjo damned it in 1983.
While the Jonathan administration has not succumbed to such verbal missile, it goes without saying that the retired General’s actions and utterances would matter.
NOW THAT 2014 WINDS UP – – –
By the time you read this, 2014 would have ended or would end in the next few days, just as a new year – 2015, that is – beckons. To some folks out there 2014 has been sweet and spectacular; to others it has been sour and sorrowful.
Regardless of whatever experience we as a people might have been fortunate or unfortunate to encounter in 2014, this period is ideal like no other for reflection, meditation, introspection, and what have you.
Accordingly, FLASH POINT is dishing out a few awards (the honourable and the dubious alike) to those who eminently deserve such. Here we go. . . .
THE GOOD AWARDEES
v LONG – SUFFERING CHIBOK GIRLS: when they were first abducted over 200 days ago, the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces opted to live in denial. By the time President Jonathan and his security chiefs woke from slumber land, it was too late. The result is that over 200 days after the defenseless Chibok Schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram, they remain in captivity, even there is no hope that they would be rescued sooner or later. For being subjected to such untold agony under the noose of their clueless government, the long suffering Chibok girls deserve a platinum award!
v HEROIC SPORTS AMBASSADORS: In a season when the senior national football team, Super Eagles, fumbled at the Brazil 2014 World Cup and failed to qualify for the next African Cup of Nations, it was left for their female counterparts to do Nigeria proud, and they duly obliged. Not only did our Under–20 female footballers like million stars at the junior World Cup, winning the silver medal, the senior outfit (Super Falcons) won the African title in style.
In the same vein, Nigeria’s female contingent to the last commonwealth Games did us proud by winning most of the gold and silver medals gleaned by the nation at the international showpiece. For demonstrating in memorable ways that whatever a man can do, a lady can do better, these young women deserve a gold medal.
v TRAIL–BLAZING BUSINESS MOGUL: Not so long ago Dangote Cement was barely reckoned with in the manufacturing sector. Now the outfit has not only surpassed rival cement makers in various areas, it has become a behemoth in the cement sub-sector. More significantly, the brain behind the Dangote conglomerate, Aliko Dangote, has been recognized by the internationally respected FORBES magazine as Africa’s richest man. Take a bow, Dangote, for your business and management acumen.
THE BAD AND UGLY AWARDEES
v NIGERIA BURNS, HE FIDDLES: while Rome was burning, King Nero fiddled. And so with Nigeria and “King” Goodluck Jonathan. As the country has been bleeding over unprecedented insecurity, inflating and decaying infrastructure, Jonathan has been fiddling like Nero, so much so that he prefers to devote more effort to his re-election campaign than to the woes bedeviling Nigeria. He is hereby bestowed with the “Rudderless Leadership” award.
v MOST INCOMPETENT MINISTER: who deserves this award better than Diezani Alison Madueke? Despite having been a member of the federal cabinet for so long, she stands out as one of Nigeria’s most incompetent (and allegedly corrupt) Ministers of Petroleum, so much so that she has bluntly refused to honour the Senate’s invitation to come and explain how she wasted billions of tax payers’ fund on chartering planes for her personal enjoyment. This is, of course, aside from the stench of corruption which has been oozing from the petroleum ministry and its agencies.
v A SECT’S WAR WITHOUT END: what spurs a group of citizens to wage war against their own people for what seems like forever? Why would such a motley gang spurn every offer of reconciliation and/or amnesty, even as it mows down adherent of their own religion with reckless abandon? Only the brains behind the raging insurgency, nay terrorism, can answer these posers. Just as only this group deserves the Mindless Terrorists of the year award.