Here are the biggest losers and winners in the Nigerian political circuit in 2017.
In 2017, some politicians fell on their own sword, others bit the dust in defeat while some popped champagne for playing their cards right.
We run the rule on the biggest winners and losers in the nation’s political circuit throughout 2017....
Nigeria’s former aviation minister and serving senator, Stella Oduah, contested the PDP primary for the Anambra governorship election in August, and emerged badly bruised.
She would call out her party for allegedly rigging the vote.
“The exercise violated all known principles of democratic practice. Several complaints have continued to trail the exercise as most party faithful are disgruntled and agitated,” Oduah said.
Oduah’s protest yielded little as a Governor has since been elected and sworn-in in Anambra.
Not many godfathers lose elections on their first try. Peter Obi did.
Former Anambra Governor Obi was pitting his wits against successor Willie Obiano during November’s governorship election, when he played the role of godfather to Oseloka Obaze of the PDP.
Obi and Obiano had fallen out soon after the latter succeeded the former as Governor, so the Anambra governorship election was essentially Obi and Obiano going to war all over again.
As the votes were tallied on November 19, 2017, Obiano was the one winning re-election as Governor with a landslide.
Obaze polled a distant third with just a little over 70,000 votes to his name.
Oseloka’s loss was Obi’s to bear.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, engaged Senator Dino Melaye in a battle of political supremacy all through 2017, and emerged loser each time.
Political pundits say the entire plot to recall Melaye as lawmaker representing Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber, had the imprimatur of Bello.
However, the recall process has fallen like a pack of cards, with Melaye deploying the courts and everything in his arsenal to halt his recall.
As 2017 draws to a close, Melaye is still senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, warts and all.
The position of Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was zoned to the Southwest ahead of the December 9 elective convention of the opposition party.
There were seven Southwest contestants on the list of nine aspirants for the position of PDP chairman, heading into voting day.
However, before voting on December 9, more than five Southwest aspirants had withdrawn from the race citing attempts by powerful Governors to impose a candidate, among other reasons.
ALSO READ: 7 things we learnt from PDP convention
Bode George withdrew from the race of PDP chairman through a strongly worded statement in which he called out the party hierarchy and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for manipulation of the process.
In the end, the Southwest arm of the PDP emerged from the December 9 elective convention with nothing to show; even after the prime position was zoned to the geopolitical region.
Ls don’t come any bigger than that.
A deft political player who has refused to go away.
There were times in 2017 when it looked as though Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was losing the plot when it comes to the power play in the presidency. There were times before 2017, when it seemed as though he had been cut to size.
Pundits swore that the AC wing of the governing party had lost the power battle to the CPC end of the spectrum. They said Tinubu’s political powers were on the wane. They said Buhari had successfully ostracized and annihilated the Southwest from the power table at the Villa.
Except that Tinubu is ending 2017 as one of Buhari’s trusted allies. He’s been paying regular visits to the nation’s seat of power to offer counsel, a handful of his men have found their way into the federal bureaucracy, and Asiwaju has just embarked on a foreign trip with the president where his counsel was sure sought throughout the trip.
Tinubu has also been talking tough, warning the President that he wouldn’t get a second term ticket on a platter.
Buhari has been pandering to Southwest sentiments lately; an indication that he has an eye on a possible re-election in 2019.
He went head to head with Senator Shehu Sani and won each time by simply ignoring the lawmaker.
The Kaduna Governor’s letter to Buhari in which he asked the president to retrace his steps, got leaked in 2017. In that memo, El-Rufai also called out a nameless cabal he thinks has been holding the president to ransom.
Babachir Lawal was reportedly a member of that cabal. He was fired by Buhari on October 30, 2017 for grass cutting fraud in the Northeast.
Other members of the cabal like Abba Kyari and Mamman Daura have gone quiet or have been cut to size following El-Rufai’s expose.
ALSO READ: 10 Missiles Kaduna Gov fired at President
When El-Rufai sacked 22,000 teachers in one day, public opinion was initially stacked against him. He would turn that around by releasing the test scripts of the teachers; painting them as a bunch of illiterates.
He won, as the public would back the Governor for sacking teachers who couldn’t be trusted to string sentences together.
He infuriated and irritated the populace in equal measure. But guess what? He’s still a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria in 2017.
He gave us a song and a dance, he flaunted his cars and wealth in our faces like he’s done his entire life, he showed up at Notting Hill carnival looking like he’s lost it, he got himself draped in army camouflage, said the darndest things during plenary and attempts to recall him as senator crumbled like a pack of cards.
You have to hand it to Melaye for winning all his battles in 2017.