Top 10 blunders of the year
These are the top ten blunders from Nigeria's leaders and rulers in 2017
Pulse List brings you some of these blunders that ended up embarrassing the nation.
1. Rochas Okorocha Statues
Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State prides himself as being the Peoples' Governor but his actions over the years have shown that he is nothing close to what he claims to be.
Apart from being very insensitive to the plight of the people of the state, making life difficult for them by refusing to pay salaries running into several months, Okorocha has continued to baffle many by his actions.
After going from one blunder to the other, this year, Okorocha went beyond himself by inviting the embattled President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma to the official launching of his personal foundation and ended up embarrassing the nation by unveiling a statue of Zuma who is facing corruption charges in his country.
It was gathered that the statue costs a whopping N532 million to construct. He also named a street after Zuma as well as mandating the traditional ruler of Owerri to bestow on Zuma the highest title in the land.
While Nigerians screamed at the insensitivity of a Governor, a few weeks later, Okorocha invited Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and dared everyone again by unveiling her statue which also cost hundreds of millions to construct.
2. Yayaha Bello
Yayaha Bello of Kogi State is unarguably the youngest Governor in the country in his early 40s. When he was voted into power, Nigerian youths felt it was the turn of a new era as one of their own had been able to break the jinx of recycled politicians.
But either by design or youthful exuberance, Bello has not covered himself in glory as he has blundered head-on into one crisis or the other.
Bello, apart from owing staff salaries running into months, he has decided that the only thing he is going to achieve is to battle Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, to a standstill and show who is on top.
Bello has practically shirked his responsibilities as a Governor to take on the fight against Melaye, and in the end, it is the people of Kogi who are suffering in this show of power.
3. Samuel Ortom
Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State, has not fared any better in his style of leadership. Incidentally, Benue and Kogi States share the same boundary and one wonders whether he meets with Yayaha Bello to strategize on what to do.
Early this year, Ortom shocked everyone when he embarked on a phantom empowerment programme when he spent millions of Naira to buy wheelbarrows for the youths of the state.
The branded wheelbarrows which had his name boldly printed on them, made Nigerians scream out but Ortom explained it away by saying that the youths were very happy with his gesture.
Not done, Ortom ordered a member of his cabinet to kneel down during plenary simply because the man questioned his commitment to the protection of the people in the face of the incessant attacks and killings by Fulani herdsmen.
4. PMB's Rumoured Death
Another blunder Nigerians were made to live through was when the President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to the United Kingdom for his medical vacation.
Shortly after the President left the country where he spent about 104 days, there were rumours flying left, right and centre on his rumoured death.
There were conspiracy theories flown by the likes of Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose who, at different times, swore that Buhari was either dead or on life support.
Fayose even said he had photographs to back up his claims that Buhari was a vegetable and would not come back alive.
But Nigerians are still waiting for the photos with the President back to work looking not healthy but agile and chatty.
5. Ikoyi Gate Whistle blower
When the Federal Government launched the whistle blower policy where a certain percentage of any recovered loot would be given to the person who led to such recovery, everyone applauded the initiative as one of the best things to happen in this government.
But the Ikoyi Gate drama has shown that the government has no intention of carrying out the initiative to a fruitful end and this has made many to believe, once again, that this government is not as sincere as they may sound.
When news made the rounds that billions of Naira was discovered at an apartment in Ikoyi courtesy of a whistle blower, everyone waited for the announcement that the whistle blower would be paid his commission and in secret.
But with what is going on now where the government has not only reneged on the payment, there has been conflicting reports with Prof. Itse Sagay, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, coming out to say the whistle blower has not been paid because he will run mad if he sees so much money.
Another angle was that the whistle blower would be made to go through counselling and psychiatric test and finally, that he not be paid all his commission because other people had also come out to claim they were also part of the whistle blowing gang.
Another bad blunder, you may say.
6. NNPC Scandal
The scandal that rocked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company between the Minister of State in the Ministry, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Barau was another big blunder.
In the heat of the scandal, Kachikwu, in a leaked memo, had accused Barau of awarding contracts running into billions of Dollars without consulting him or the other members of the NNPC board.
As the issue went back and forth, Barau said he had the express approval of the President who is the substantive Minister in the Ministry to award the contracts.
But the period the contracts were reportedly signed was when Buhari was on medical vacation and had officially handed over the reigns of power to his Minister of State.
While the scandal went back and forth, the narrative changed when the Presidency came out to support Barau, automatically cutting Kachikwu to size and letting him know that while all animals are supposed to be equal, some are more equal than others.
As usual, the issue is now under the carpet and no one knows how or when it was resolved.
7. Maina Gate
The handling of the recall and reinstatement of the former Pensions Reforms boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, also went down as one of the biggest blunders of the year 2017.
For those who did not know, Maina was indicted in a monumental Pension scam running into billions of Naira and charged to court where he was convicted but granted bail.
He promptly went into hiding and was declared wanted by both the EFCC and the Interpol but sometime in October 2017, Premium Times uncovered that he had sneaked back into the country and reabsorbed into the government.
Not only that, he was transferred to the Ministry of Interior, promoted two steps to the position of Assistant Director.
As another memo leaked on the reinstatement of Maina, denials came from every angle from the office of the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, that of the Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita.
Even the Interior Minister, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, denied knowing that Maina had been deployed to his office and was an Assistant Director.
The Presidency, as usual, distanced itself from the scandal leading to tempers flaring between Oyo-Ita and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari who both accused each other of the leaked memo.
Maybe we will get to the root of the Maina Gate before the year runs out, but who knows?
8. Dr Abdullahi Ganduje
Another blunder by a government official was when the Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, shocked Nigerians by announcing that he had spent N208 million to buy noodles, bread, eggs, beverages and items to empower tea sellers.
Ganduje, in an elaborate ceremony, said that administration spent the huge amount of money to empower 5,200 tea sellers popularly called Masu Shayi.
Ganduje stated that the items were distributed to the tea sellers from the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.
The distributed items included cartons of noodles, cocoa beverage, liquid and powdered milk, tea, crates of eggs, nylon and cups, baskets, brown and white sugar, spaghetti and bread, as well giving each beneficiary N40,000 cash as take-off capital.
9. Alex Ekwueme
Shortly before the former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme died, the Federal Government thought it could score a political point by saying he would be flown abroad for medical treatment on the bills of the FG.
While Nigerians hailed the FG for the kind gesture in coming to the aid of the ailing former VP, another statement came from the Presidency that the intervention they could only offer was to fly him to London.
With the attendant public outcry, the government came out with another statement that it will take care of the medical treatments of Ekwueme but by then, it was already too late.
Nigerians had marked the blunder as one of the top ones in the year 2017.
10. Dr Chris Ngige
To round up the blunders in 2017, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, came out to claim that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has created a whopping seven million jobs since coming to power in 2015.
Ngige disclosed in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting he had with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that the administration had substantially fulfilled its promise to provide jobs.
Nigerians were taken aback with such blatant falsehood and since then, many have been asking where the jobs were.
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