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My persons of the year 2022, by Aminu Iyawa

It has been 12 years since I started on this page, the tradition of honouring by mention, Nigerians that I feel merit recognition for their outstanding contribution to the society. President Olusegun Obasanjo was my first recipient in 2010.

Last year I decided to follow the selection criterion to the letter, just like the initiator of the award, TIME Magazine, which in the 1940s recognised even the worse of the worst – Adolf Hiler and Benito Mussolini. That was why my 2021 person of the year was Bello Turji, the Zamfara Bandit that killed more Nigerians in the last three years than any other criminal did since Shekau.

For the year-2022, four Nigerians, in my assessment, standout as the most deserving to be recognised; two, for their positive impact, one for his controversial economic policies that practically crippled the nation and the last recipient, for his daring political adventure that would most certainly impact the 2023 predidential election.

Here are the four personalities that I picked as my Persons of Year 2022:

  1. SEN. AISHATU DAHIRU (BINANI)

For making history as the first female politician in Adamawa State to win governorship primary election and the odds are, she would go on to become the first female elected Governor in Nigeria this March.

She survived a lot of hurdles to come thus far, including the annulment of her election by a Yola Federal High Court that was later overturned in her favour by the Appeal Court. The former EFCC Chairman Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who challenged Binani’s victory in the courts, had since the Appel Court verdict, extended an olive branch and the Adamawa APC is now reportedly united and are ready to take the state to New hights when she is sworn-in as Governor on May 29.

A seasoned politician in her own right, she is favoured by the bookies to win on the first ballot, as her popularity cuts across party lines. She is the incumbent Senator, representing Adamawa Central Federal Constiuency, and before then, she served in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly as Member, representing Yola North, Yola South and Girei Federal Consitituency.

Sen. Aishatu Dahiru is easily the biggest politician in Adamawa State today after the former Governor of the State, Admiral Murtala Hammanyero Nyako, who, incidently, is one of her biggest supporters. When you combine her political platform and that of Baba Maimongoro, victory is assured.

Sen. Binani is also expected to corner large percentage of the PDP votes, especially those in the camp of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. They have not forgiven the incumbent Governor of the State, Alhaji Ahamdu Umaru Fintiri, for his alleged support for the cadidacy of Gov. Nyesom Wike prior to the presidential primary.

The alliance between the Rivers State Governor and Fintiri was an open secret, as the latter was said to have been tipped by the former as his choice of runningmate if he had won the PDP primary election. The two Governors have been very close and only the Atiku win at the primaries ended their open political romance.

  1. HON. MUHAMMAD GUDAJE KAZAURE

Just penultimate week, I have written an article on this page, praising Hon. Gudaje, for his guts in going public with the potential fraud scandal of the century that has been, and is still being suppressed by powerful interests supporting the Governor of the Cetral Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who is allegedly the main character fingered in the drama.

I explained in the article, that the work of an elected representative of the people is to primarily represent their interests, make laws, sponsor bills, check excesses of government organs, including the executive, judiciary and MDAs, through oversight functions of committees.

Hon. Mohammed Gudaji Kazaure, representing Kazaure, Roni, Yankwashi and Gwiwa, Federal constituency, Jigawa State, is unarguably among the most vibrant parliamentarians to ever serve in the National Assembly since the commencement of the third republic.

The 50 year-old vibrant representative, cut a most distinguished profile for himself for his numerous sound contributions on the floor of the Green Chamber, despite his struggle with the english language, the official medium of the Assembly.

Some people, his representative-colleagues included, often see him as a clown, but to his constituents and indeed majority of Nigerians, we see him as a serious and responsible parliamentarian that delivers.

When few weeks ago he spoke to the press and dropped the bombshell about alleged misconduct by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), accusing it of “holding public money to the tune of N79 trillion in private investment account,” the nation’s apex bank went overtime in public relations project and easily defused the initial impact with a flat denial that was more widely covered than Gudaje’s allegation.

I then challenged Nigerians to imagine if Sanusi Lamido were still the CBN Governor and such allegation was raised against him by a member of the National Assembly that President Goodluck Jonathan personally appointed to investigate the matter and report back to him. Of course, the Nigerian press would have called for his head and to be prosecuted for fraud and economic sabotage.

While Rep. Gudaje’s claim still remains nothing but allegation, the matter should not be swept under the carpet and the presidency should not have waded into the matter with a dismissal by its spokespersons. After all, Gudaje did not accuse President Buhari of any wrong doing in relation to the matter.

Since that article, there were new developments including the summoning of Mr. Emiefele by the DSS to appear before them and clarify certain serious allegations bordering on national security, but he is said to be out of the country; a court order directing perpetual injunction against the arrest or detention of the CBN Governor and to the more bizarre of it all – that, according to some online news reports, Emiefele may not return to Nigeria as he “sought asylum in the United Kingdom.”

For bringing out this shum to the public attention and for daring all powers at the top, Hon. Gudaje Kazaure is a co-winner of the title of Man Of The Year – 2022.

MR. GODWIN EMEFIELE

Godwin Emiefele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the most controversial person to ever head that apex institution in history. He was said to have allegedly introduced monetary and banking policies that only favours his constituency the banking industry.

He allegedly killed the economy through the depletion of the country’s foreign reserve by the multiple foreign exchange regime introduced that made commercial banks and his friends that own BDCs richer and the country, poorer. The banks make not less than N150 – N200 per dollar, per transaction – just like that!

The Agricultural loan scheme is also said to be under his direct supervision and allegedly only a select people have so far benefited from the programme that was aimed at taking Nigerians out of poverty through farming.

Another controversial policy he recently introduced was the redesigning of the Naira currency. Since its launch over a months ago, majority of Nigerians have yet to set their eyes on the new notes. Not even yours sincerely. Those who are able to get some of the new notes decried the quality and dismissed the project as nothing, but another avenue of giving out contract for alleged personal gain.

It is all making sense now, if indeed, he truly is seeking asylum and not returning to Nigeria after his Christmas and new year holiday break.

For all the problems he put Nigerians in, he deserves recognition, though in a negative way, as Man of The Year 2022.

GOV. EZENWO NYESOM WIKE

Easily one of the richest Governors in Nigeria, the Rivers State chief executive, curved a niche for himself as a politician to reckon with, long before he became Governor of this oil-rich state that for example, received N101.5 billion federal allocation for January – June, 2022.

That amount still surpasses what FAAC allocated to Kaduna, Jigawa and Borno states combined during the same period. This is not to mention the huge amount the state generates internally. Not also forgetting the largesse from the corporate responsibility of multinational oil and other servicing companies that is at jaw-dropping level.

This incumbent two-term Governor of Rivers State had been, until the recent election of Atiku Abubakarar as presidential candidate, the engine room of PDP politics since 2015. He commanded respect from party stalwarts and is also known to be a father-christmas even with his colleagues.

Since the Emergence of the Waziri Adamawa as PDP’s flag bearer, Wike has been able to hold firm grip on a section of the party, including support from four other prominent state Governors – a group that is now known as the G-5.

There are still conflicting reports on the outcome of the group’s talks in London with the APC, but from all indications, it is a done deal and I am sure things will be much clearer in the next few weeks as the alliance is put to test with the G-5 Governors expected to partake in all Tinubu campaign rallies.

Even if the PDP fails to win the presidential election, as he would hope for, Wike may likely continue to resuscitate the dying opposition party with the hope that he may strike luck in 2027.

For his political principle and doggedness, he merits recognition and therefore, is, a co-recipent of my choice as Man of The Year – 2022.

  • Iyawa is former Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico
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