By George Odok Jnr
A number of issues dominated 2016 in Nigeria. From economic recession and the anti-graft war to budget padding, foreign exchange problem, elections and many more. The year was full of shocking moments.
ECONOMIC RECESSION: Nigeria’s economy slipped into recession following a slump in the price of crude oil, which account for about 70 per cent of government revenue. The impact of low oil price was compounded by militants’ attack on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region, resulting in drop in production by about 700,00 barrels per day to 1.56million barrel per day while government’s 2016 budget was based on 2.2million barrel per day.
BUDGET PADDING: Crisis erupted in the House of Representatives after a former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Hon. Isa Jibrin, was relieved of appointment by Speaker Yakubu Dogara. The situation led to a spat between Jibrin and the leadership of the lower chambers of the legislature which subsequently resulted in the suspension of Jibrin. Jibrin had accused some principal officers of the House of Representatives of complicity in the padding of the certain aspects of the fiscal document for their pecuniary benefits.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Nigeria’s depressive economy was worsened by the acute shortage of forex, resulting in dwindling fortunes of the manufacturing and service sectors. As the recession grew unabated, many companies were forced to shut down operations while a number of them who are still in business have since embarked on retrenchment.
ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR: The war against corruption took the better part of the year 2016 with the arrest of notable judges, former public office holders and business men by the EFCC. The list include, former National Security Adviser, Rtd. Col. Sambo Dasuki, former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, a former PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and alot of others.
ELECTION: Governorship elections were held in Kogi, Edo and Ondo states while parliamentary elections were conducted in Rivers state during the year. The first three elections were won by the APC. While the Kogi election produced Yahaya Bello, Godwin Obaseki and Rotimi Akeredolu also of APC won the Edo and Ondo elections respectively. The Rivers election turned bloody after a senior police officer and his orderly were gruesomely murdered by suspected party tugs during the conduct of the re-run poll for the three senatorial seats and a number of seats in the House of Representatives. PDP won two senatorial seats in Rivers East and West while the APC won the Rivers South seat.
FREED CHIBOK GIRLS: News broke in October that 21 of the close to 300 school girls abducted in a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state, had been released. It was an emotional sight when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other top government officials met with the girls at the DSS hospital in Abuja on October 13. It will be recalled that in April 14, 2014, the girls were captured and only about 50 of them managed to escape, leaving about 218 of them still missing.
HERDSMEN ATTACK: The year 2016 will go down in history as the year Nigeria experienced the most brutal form of herdsmen attacks. Herdsmen invasion accounted for some of the most gruesome killings in the year with farmers in the rural communities as the main victims.
TRAGEDIES: A few tragedies that claimed lives rocked the year. Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital had a taste of tragedy on Saturday December 10 after a roof of Reigners Bible Church International collapsed on guest and worshippers during the consecration service of the founder of the church, Pastor Akan weeks, as bishop. The governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel, who was among the guest escaped death by the whiskers. Also, on Sunday December 11, fire razed a popular shopping mall in Oredo LGA of Edo state, destroying goods worth billions of naira.