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Pulse List 2017 10 Most controversial Nigerian politicians of 2017

Pulse takes a look at ten most controversial Nigerian politicians of 2017 and what they were up this year.

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Despite the minimal political activities, elections and the likes, 2017 will go down in history as one of the most defining moments in Nigeria’s political history.

But what is politics without the actors – politicians?

As the year slowly winds down, Pulse takes a look at ten controversial Nigerian politicians and what they were up to in 2017.

1. Dino Melaye

The name ‘Dino Melaye’ needs no introduction.

Dino Melaye in the Red Chamber play

Dino Melaye in the Red Chamber

(Daily Post)


The Kogi-West lawmaker will pass for the most talked-about lawmaker in Nigeria. No doubt.

Melaye’s outspoken persona has endeared him to the hearts of many Nigerians.

This is the same reason why he has so many ‘haters’.

Melaye’s year started on a rather rough note.

An online news platform, SaharaReporters had alleged that the lawmaker did not graduate from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria’s department of Geography.

According to reports, Melaye had failed a core course after spending about seven years in the university.

But ABU vice chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba confirmed Melaye’s result at the panel set up to investigate the matter on March 27, 2017.

As proof of his graduation, Melaye appeared at the National Assembly the next day in an academic gown.

Senator Dino Melaye wears academic gown to Senate plenary session on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. play

Senator Dino Melaye wears academic gown to Senate plenary session on Tuesday, March 28, 2017.



Melaye released a smashing hit single – Ajeku Iya.

Sadly, this piece of art did not make it to the countdown.

The song which was massively accepted in Nigeria, however, was an epic fail when Melaye tried to introduce it to his American audience at the Nothinghill Carnival in August.

Senator Dino Melaye at London's Notting Hill Carnival on Monday, August 28, 2017 play

Senator Dino Melaye at London's Notting Hill Carnival on Monday, August 28, 2017


Melaye was booed off stage by the group of irate youths who chorused “Ole, Ole” – a Yoruba word for “thief”.

Life of an entertainer.


His constituents petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to institute his recall from the Senate to his  village in Kogi-West.

The lawmaker accused his State governor, Yahaya Bello of sponsoring his recall move for insisting that he pays Kogi workers and retirees their salaries and allowances.

Melaye had alleged that “ghosts signed his recall register.”

How did he find out?

Despite filing a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja against INEC to stop his recall, the electoral umpire vowed to “courageously” go on with the process.

INEC officials standing outside Senator Dino Melaye's office to serve him with recall notice play

INEC officials standing outside Senator Dino Melaye's office to serve him with recall notice


Melaye was never around to receive his court summons.

The lawmaker and his aides had shut out INEC officials out of his office at the National Assembly.

“Kogi workers have become IDPs under the satanic government of Yahaya Bello,” Melaye announced at plenary while soliciting for relief materials from his colleagues at the Senate.

Dino Melaye is really scared of getting recalled play

Senator Dino Melaye

(Channels TV)


Melaye had advised President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency in Kogi state following an attack on his convoy by some armed men during a rally in his constituency.

The lawmaker was also attacked in his home in the village.

ALSO READ: 5 Times Melaye attacked Buhari and his appointees

He, however denied a voice recording released by Sahara Reporters of “him discussing how to set someone up.”

Melaye also accused the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; two ministers Kemi Adeosun (finance) and Udoma Udo Udoma (budget) of gross incompetence and driving the country into recession with poor policies.

Melaye accused power and works minister, Babatunde Fashola of stealing N350 million in installments.

2. Atiku Abubakar

Atiku tells Nigerian men to "act as humans to improve the lives of women" play

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had dumped the APC for PDP presumably in pursuit of presidential ticket ahead of the 2019 election



Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar who has been away (relatively) from the political scene since he lost the APC primaries to Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, made a comeback in 2017.

It all started when the federal government -- through the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA – decided to terminate its Pilotage Agency Agreement with Atiku’s Intels Nigeria Limited (INL).

This was in October, 2017.

On November 2, 2017, a video surfaced of Atiku declaring his intention to contest for the position of Nigeria’s president in 2019.

In a swift reaction, the Atiku Media Office dissociated itself and principal from the viral video which they called ‘fake’.

In the early hours of Friday, November 25, 2017, Atiku announced his resignation from the “dying APC” after due consultations with God, friends and associates.

Photos of Atiku’s presidential campaign vehicles and rice soon appeared on social media.

Atiku's campaign cars for 2019 election appear online (Photos) play

Atiku campaign vehicles



The former President became glued to social media, reacting to questions from Nigerians and jumping on Twitter trends.

Things you see when election is approaching.

Atiku, however, returned home, to the PDP, during a Facebook Live on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

Will he get the presidential ticket for the PDP?

That’s a question only time can answer.

3. Ayo Fayose

A friend once told me that a week is never complete without Fayose in the news.

Governor Ayo Fayose dares Maina to expose corrupt people in Buhari’s govt play

Governor Ayo Fayose

The Ekiti state governor maintained the status of the biggest critic of the Buhari administration of 2017.

Upon President Buhari’s medical vacation, Fayose declared that Nigeria’s leader would not return to the country alive.

The governor threatened to release pictures of President Buhari on life support machine.

We all waited for that glorious moment that never came.

Governor Ayo Fayose play

Governor Ayo Fayose

When some governors were selected to visit the President in London, Fayose’s name didn’t make the list.

When President Buhari invited all governors to the Villa upon his return from London, Fayose was nowhere to be found.

The governor claimed to be attending to an important chieftaincy event in his state.

Fayose who announced his intention to complete ‘his stolen mandate’ in 2006, later declared his intention to contest for the post of President in 2019.

Governor Ayo Fayose at his declaration of intent to contest for the President in 2019 play

Governor Ayo Fayose at his declaration of intent to contest for the President in 2019



With Atiku joining the APC, Fayose’s chances of becoming PDP presidential candidate have become slimmer or dead on arrival.

4. Rochas Okorocha

Okorocha says APC will rule Nigeria for a long time play

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha



Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha would go down as the most innovative governor of 2017.

I mean, until Okorocha decided to erect the statues of some African leaders, who thought that could attract investors to the state?

Despite the corruption cases against him, Zuma was given the traditional title of “Ochiagha Imo” in Okorocha’s state.

Jacob Zuma's statue play

Jacob Zuma's statue

(Bella Naija)


Video of Okorocha's convoy being stoned by angry residents on the streets over his decision to erect Zuma’s statue, soon hit the internet.

In August, Okorocha ordered the demolition of Eke Ukwu market. This allegedly led to the killing of ten-year-old Somtochukwu Ibeanusi.

Celebrated home and abroad, Okorocha got twenty-seven cakes from the local government areas for his 55th birthday.

Okorocha's 27 birthday cakes play

Okorocha's 27 birthday cakes



He just appointed his sister, Ogechi  Ololo, the Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment.

Okorocha is bad like that.

Perhaps, Ololo pictured in a red dress is best suited for merriment as opposed to leading people. play

Perhaps, Ololo pictured in a red dress is best suited for merriment as opposed to leading people.

(Trezzy Helm)


For a governor accused of owing civil servants on the government’s payroll months in salaries, it takes a special kind of love for his people to pull that stunt.

5, 6. Nyesome Wike, Rotimi Amaechi

Lagos-Ibadan rail line to be completed December 2018 - Amaechi play

Rotimi Amaechi

(Israel Ibeleme)


Wike: Amaechi stole Rivers state money when you were a governor

Amaechi: Prove that I stole Rivers money.

The above is the long and short of the struggle between these adults.

ALSO READ: 10 Biggest moments in Nigerian politics this year

It’s been accusations and counter-accusations galore.

Wike had alleged that the infamous ‘Ikoyi loot’ belonged to Rivers state.

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike blows a whistle play

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike blows a whistle



Wike accused Amaechi of ‘hiding’ the money in the Ikoyi apartment, an allegation the transport minister denied.

On Saturday, November 11, 2017, Wike alleged that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) personnel and soldiers attached to Amaechi attacked his convoy in an attempt to assassinate him.

The clash was however described by many as one too many.

Honestly, we’re all tired.

7. Lai Mohammed

What comes to your mind when you hear the name ‘Lai Mohammed’?


FG names 6 PDP looters who stole money from treasury play

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

(Ministry of Information and Culture)


Well, the information minister says 'he has never told a lie.


That in itself has been considered a lie by most Nigerians.

“I have told Nigerians time without number that President Muhammadu Buhari is not sick. He has gone to London on a vacation,” Alhaji Mohammed told State House reporters during the President’s first medical trip.

This same tune was echoed by presidential spokesmen, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu.

“I don’t remember ever been this sick my whole life,” Buhari announced when he arrived Nigeria after over fifty-days in London.

Minister of information, Lai Mohammed play

Minister of information, Lai Mohammed



The information minister once said Boko Haram has been defeated.

Well, Nigerians governors on Wednesday, December 14, 2017, approved the sum of One billion dollars from the Excess Crude Account to fight fight the same 'defeated' Boko Haram.


8. Nasir El-Rufai

El-Rufai to visit Birnin Gwari where 45 were killed by bandits play

Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai



Governor Nasir El-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani made headlines a couple of times this year.

Governor El-Rufai had allegedly ordered the arrest of Chocolate City Label boss, Audu Maikori over his tweet on Southern Kaduna killings.

Luka Binnyat, a Vanguard journalist was also sent to prison over a report on the “killing of students” in the state College of Education.

Senator Sani also accused El-Rufai of hiring mobs to attack him during a peaceful gathering in Kaduna state.

El-Rufai also ordered the sack of over 22,000 teachers in the state who failed the Primary four competency test.

Kaduna Teachers protest over competency test play

The placard of Kaduna state teacher protesting. The statement on the placard says a lot of what is wrong with Nigeria

(Twitter )


Though a necessary reform, some political watchers have expressed fears that this decision may cost El-Rufai his re-election as this group form a large population of voters in the state.

El-Rufai seems not to care about that.

At least, for now.

9. Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar

The governor of Zamfara state and chairman Nigeria Governor’s Forum, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar was accused of building a $3 million hotel in Lagos from monies “stolen” from the Paris-London Refunds to states.

President Muhammadu Buhari (left) with chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Zamfara state governor, Abdulaziz Yari (right) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. play

President Muhammadu Buhari (left) with chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Zamfara state governor, Abdulaziz Yari (right) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.



Yari however denied the allegation.

The governor had described the break out of Meningitis in some part of the country as a punishment from God for the sins of man.

"God always sends strange illnesses that have no cure to torment the people for turning their backs on Him," he said.

His comments however attracted wide condemnations and backlash from Nigerians the world over.  

10. Bukola Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki eventually won his false asset declaration case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

CCT clears Saraki of false asset charges play

CCT clears Saraki of false asset charges



However, like the Panama papers, Saraki was named in the release of Paradise Papers, a document which shows his ownership of Tenia Limited, an offshore company.

Saraki however denied the allegation stating that he had nothing to hide.

The Senate President was also alleged to have ‘manipulated the Kwara state judiciary’ to secure a favourable judgment against an online platform, SaharaReporters.

The Court had issued a N4 billion fine against Sahara Reporters in a libel suit.

Some political analysts had fingered Saraki in the suspension of Senator Ali Ndume.

Saraki with Omoworare and Ndume play

Saraki with Omoworare and Ndume

(Post Nigeria)


Ndume had called on the Senate committee on ethics and privileges to investigate Saraki over claims that the Senate President had his car impounded by Customs.

It was during this period that the Senate had summoned Customs boss, Hameed Ali to appear in uniform.

Ndume had also called the Senate to investigate Dino Melaye’s certificate scandal.

The end result? Ndume bagged a six-month suspension.

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