2019 was indeed an eventful year for Nigeria. From the elections to the appointment of ministers; a lot has gone down in the past twelve months.
As events played out, trust politicians to drop punchlines and unforgettable quotes that has helped to shape our political space.
Here are some of those quotes.
1. Atiku rejects Buhari’s presidential election victory
Shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the 2019 presidential election, former vice president and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, rejected the outcome of the poll.
“One obvious red flag is the statistical impossibility of states ravaged by the war on terror generating much higher voter turnouts than peaceful states. The suppressed votes in my strongholds are so apparent and amateurish, that I am ashamed as a Nigerian that such could be allowed to happen. How can total votes in Akwa-Ibom, for instance, be 50% less than what they were in 2015?
“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South.
“I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”
2. Ministers to report to Abba Kyari
President Buhari’s instruction to ministers to go through his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, if they want to meet with him, got most Nigerians talking.
“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channelled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,” Buhari said.
3. Renaming of Abuja stadium after Abiola
On June 12, 2019, President Buhari renamed the National Stadium in Abuja after the winner of the 1993 presidential election, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO).
This came months after the president recognised Abiola’s mandate by conferring on him the country’s highest national honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, reserved only for presidents.
“Today, I propose the renaming of the Abuja National Stadium henceforth, it will be called Moshood Abiola National stadium.
“As we all know, correcting injustice is a free requisite for peace and unity; as part of the processes of healing and reconciliation, I approved the recognition of June 12 as democracy day and invested the late chief Abiola and Babagana Kingibe with national honours as I did with late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. The purpose was to partially atone for the trivial damage done in annulling the presidential elections of that year,” Buhari said.
4. Melaye says his sex game is better than Yahaya Bello’s
At a campaign rally in Kogi State, former senator, Dino Melaye, said he is better than Governor Yahaya Bello in all ramifications ...even in bed.
“I want to assure you of the kind of development we have not seen before. Salary payment is compulsory, paramount, mandatory and a must.
“You all know Yahaya Bello. There is nothing I don’t have more than him. Number one, I am taller than him. Number two, I am more handsome than him. Number three, I am more educated than him. And if it is ‘kere wa wa’, I can do better than him.”
‘Kere wa wa’ is a slang for sex.
5. El-rufai begs Kogi people for Bello
At a mega campaign rally in Kogi state, Governor Nasir El-Rufai begged the people to re-elect Yahaya Bello regardless of “all his mistakes.”
“When you are young, you make mistakes. Please, I am down on my knees to beg you. Please, forgive whatever wrong he [Yahaya Bello] has done to you.
“I beg you all. Let us make history. Let us not dishonour the memory of Prince Abubakar Audu by allowing PDP to come back. We must work for the unity and progress of Kogi,” he said.
Bello would go on to win the Kogi governorship election of November 16.
6. Lawan says Senate will always co-operate with Buhari
On Thursday, November 21, 2019, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced to the world that all requests by President Buhari to the National Assembly would be given speedy consideration.
“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation.
“When such requests come, the senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately,” Lawan announced.
7. Maman Daura gave an executive order without Buhari’s knowledge
First Lady, Aisha Buhari called-out one of her husband's spokespersons, Garba Shehu, for allegedly working for Maman Daura.
Daura is President Buhari’s nephew and right hand man.
In a statement in the early hours of Friday, December 13, 2019, Mrs Buhari accused Daura of issuing a presidential directive without Buhari’s knowledge.
“It is at this late hour that I recall, sadly, that it was the same Garba Shehu who claimed that the government will not allow the office of the First Lady to run. He was later to confirm to one of my aides that he was instructed to say so by Mamman Daura and not the President. This antic attracted the anger of Nigerian women. He didn’t realize the fact that First Lady’s Office is a tradition which has become an institution.
“Today, even without a budget, I am able to run my humanitarian programmes. In saner climes, Garba Shehu would have resigned immediately after going beyond his boundaries and powers,” she said.
8. Kalu begs not to be handcuffed
On Thursday, December 5, 2019, former Abia Governor and Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, was sentenced to 12-years in prison for fraud.
In an amended 39-count charge, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) proved that Kalu and his associates conspired and diverted N7.65 billion from the coffers of Abia State.
While being led to the vehicle that would convey him to the prison, Kalu asked: “where are you taking us?”.
Next, the Senator who appeared shaken said: “Where are you taking us to now? Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you.”
The lawmaker was also reported to have cried as the judge delivered the judgement.
Kalu was Abia governor from 1999 to 2007.
9. Again, Obasanjo writes Buhari on herdsmen attacks, terrorism
“The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else.
“We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military - to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful,” Obasanjo said.
10. Obasanjo endorses El-Rufai
Speaking as a special guest at the Kaduna State Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, December 11 2019, Obasanjo said he was happy with El-Rufai’s approach to governance especially in giving opportunities to women.
Obasanjo described El-Rufai, who served in his administration as Minister of FCT, as “one of the best people to work with. He is a near-genius. We need a character like this, a man that you know where you stand with him.
“Any job given to him will be well done. Kaduna state now has a good leader to work with,” the former president announced.
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