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REVIEW: The Year 2012: what a year… – Lanre @Basamta

REVIEW: The Year 2012: what a year… - Lanre @Basamta

***

So…

Like a flickering lamp this year fades away.

Like an ebbing flame it flickers into the debris of memories, where it can only be recalled for remembrance but never to be experienced again

Like some classic movie being screened at the cinemas, year 2012 has climaxed, as only the production credits rolls off the screen for whoever is interested in its cast and crew

***

As the year’s ebbs away, with little less than 48hours before it finally rolls over, I am compelled to look back

I am forced to think back and review a year which was incomparable for its shock on our national psyche as well as its turbulence within our shores

***

Unlike most years, 2012 stated as a tragedy in our nation

On January 1st 2012, President Jonathan somehow decided to remove subsidy on Petrol-even while the 2012 budget was being debated and not yet passed

And while most Nigerians travelled all around the country to celebrate the yuletide with families and friends,

They were shocked at the irrational policy, but even more stunned at its knocked-down effect on transport cost, as passengers became stranded, transporters became jaded, and even the roads lacked patronage as people had to resort to trekking unimaginable distance just to save money for even more critical needs

Before long the country plunged into a national strike: the economy shut down as civil and military authorities took to the streets to maintain some semblance of sanity

Human rights abuses were rampant: Police brutality coupled with the Army’s cruelty led to countless stray bullets and avoidable incidental deaths

It was the most tragic way to start a year, as our soil became soaked with the bloods of our youths

***

For the first 15days it was some madness or the other

Social media exploded even as socio-political consciousness imploded

Many movements were formed even as many existing ones were transformed-‘Occupy-Nigeria’ ‘Enough is Enough Campaigns’ etc

A lot of protest ensued and a lot a negotiations followed suit as Mr. President and his cultic cabinet caved into people-pressure, or so the people thought

Some lies here and there, ably supported by even more deceptive policy moves like claims of subsidy re-investment (S.U.R.E) alleged reduction in salaries and foreign travels followed suit and the topsy-turvy year took off

***

Like some nasty sight from a low-budget horror movie, the scenes were just disjointed

The year 2012 for Nigeria appeared like a discovery and affliction of one tragedy to another

From auto accidents, to plane crashes, to avoidable deaths of national icons and regional leaders, it was one loss too many as falsely-acclaimed heroes and even indisputable ones fell, crashed and burned like the Nigerian Stock Exchange of some years ago

***

THE GOVERNORS:

A special tale for me was that of the governors or anyone who ever bore that title

It started in April as James Ibori former Governor of Delta State was convicted and jailed for 10counts of money laundering and other financial crimes

While he was tried in Nigeria in 2010 and 2011, wherein the Nigerian judiciary could not bring him to justice,

He was promptly prosecuted again in the UK, found guilty and sentenced on April 17th to 13years imprisonment and forfeiture of countless assets

Many months passed and little or nothing happened, until the second half of the year, as two ex governors promptly died in just a few days apart

Lam Adesina former Governor of Oyo State and Dr. Bukola Saraki, former Governor of Kwara state passed on, on the 10th and 14th of November respectively

And before anyone could reel out ‘Jack Robinson’, sitting governors started disappearing.

***

First it was the Governor of Taraba State, Gov. Danbaba Suntai, in October, who along with his aides suffered a helicopter crash-that has now allegedly rendered him brain-dead

Soon he was followed by the tragic death on December 15th, of Kaduna State Governor-Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and Gen Owoeye Azazi in another ill fated trip across the delta trenches

News also filtered in of the incapacitation of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu owing to alleged cancer issues as well as Cross River state’s Governor Liyel Imoke on suspected kidney complications problems

And just as the year pull to a final full stop, Kogi State Governor Idris Wada was involved in a ghastly accident, just hours into the New Year on Friday the 28th of December 2012

With an aide dying instantly, and the governor in supposed critical condition needing reconstructive surgery, only God know why this misfortune has chosen the Governors as its principal targets

***

THE PRESIDENCY:

Asides from the unmitigated tragedy-known as the Presidential system, that democracy seem to have bequeathed to us since 1999 and the resultant comedy known as PDP,

The year 2012 didn’t spare the home and institution of the presidency

Mysteriously, the First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan took ill, and was hurriedly in the dark of the night flown away abroad for treatment

Her aides claimed she was on vacation, other presidential mouth pieces corrobated these lies, until Mr. President himself stated otherwise

But critically, Madam First Lady (an illegal title by all means) was ill for more than 60 days as Nigerians everywhere prayed and fasted for her quick recovery

As when she eventually convalescence and arrived back home in health to the adulation of Nigerians and the adoration of her husband, another tragedy struck

On November 20th, our President’s 55th birthday, his younger brother-Meni Jonathan suddenly died of a cardiac arrest as our number one citizen sobbed like a kid on public television

It was supposed to be his day of celebrations; it abruptly turned out to be his moment of mourning

***

From the presidency we can go to natural disasters like FLOOD-as more than ten (10) states across the nation suffered debilitating floods that consumed land, farms and people homes

Countless billion of naira of properties was lost, coupled with lives that perished as a result of these crises

Infact, it got so bad that 4farmers in Kogi state willfully committed suicide upon the realization of the submerging of their lands and crops planted on it

***

ACCIDENTS:

Another disaster of gigantic proportion happened on June 1st 2012-the notorious black Sunday

When Dana Airline flight 992 Abuja- to Lagos crashed and killed the 153people aboard the ill fated craft and many more at the Iju (Lagos) site of this catastrophe

Some of the brightest mind and most renowned professionals Nigeria ever raised were on that voyage as they all perished and burned beyond recognition

The nation wailed as the notorious ‘black-box’ investigations was instituted, even though everyone realized that investigations for the 2005 plane crashes haven’t yet been completed, nor recommendations reviewed and implemented seven years later

***

ON CORRUPTION:

The bars were raised higher this year than any other year in our national history

Billionaire entrepreneur Femi Otedola publicly admitted to giving bribes-an iconic FIRST in our nation of morbid criminals.

Ace Legislator Farouk Lawal denied acceptance of same in a tone and manner even his children would find extremely hard to believe

Countless probe panels were instituted, and many findings that indicted principal actors of the government were faulted

The EFCC and ICPC suddenly became impotent overnight, so bad that even EFCC chairman was publicly accused of corruption on live TV

The Subsidy probe, The NNPC and Downstream sector probe suffered the same fate as all others

But the real straw that broke the camel’s back was the finding by Punch News paper that the Administration of Goodluck Jonathan lost 12billion dollars to corruption this year alone-under the analysis of an estimated 31billion dollar lost to corruption in almost 31month of the Jonathan administration

It really was a calamity of unimaginable proportions in 2012

***

ON SPORTS:

It was a catastrophic Olympics

For the first time in more than 20years, our one hundred and fifty plus contingent of athletes and staffs accounted for only one bronze medal from the London summer Olympics

Our female national Team (The Super Falcons) was swiftly bundled out of the African Women nation’s cup

Our football league flattered to deceive as usual and have been in comatose for months

The NFA kept taking themselves to court at the roll of the dice like some wrongly enthused Ludo players

***

ON SECURITY:

This was the biggest issue anticipated by all in January, and it really did deliver on it’s promised of ‘shock and awe’

In June 2011, Nigeria recorded her first incidence of suicide bombing, but in 2012 it went wild

Boko Haram took the Terror war to a new level-bombings, killings and mass suicide actions against every and anyone in order to advance their cause

Last year was all about churches and government installation, but this year the war was taken to the schools, the markets and even to people’s homes late into the night

It wasn’t just bombs but assault rifles, wild machetes, multiple suicide bombings and even the dreaded daggers as terrorist activities this year claimed more lives than all other years since both protectorates (Northern and Southern)were amalgamated in 1914-that’s 98years ago

The Aluu lynching of the four innocent boys, the Abu Qaqa search, The Senator Ndume Boko Haram connections and other security breaches fall in this category

***

Finally, for the dramatic and yet, none the less unpleasant:

The jet purchasing spree of our prosperity preaching pastors, the drama and hardship of the Okada Ban in Lagos, the complete idiocy of new license place and drivers license by the FRSC, the unfortunate murder of Cynthia Osokogu and the trial of the suspects etc ere the low points of the year for many

***

Year 2012 was unlike any other in our national life

However, as much as it recorded monumental failures and tragedies, it also recorded some positives

Our Paralympics athletes won 6 Gold medals, 5 Silver and 2 Bronze-far more than all the able bodied athletes have won for Nigeria since the 1950s when we joined the Olympic family

Also, budget 2013 was presented to the national assembly on time (October 2012) and fully debated and returned to the presidency in mid-December for his accent and passage into law-this is on record the first time it has ever happened on time since 1999 when this democratic experiment started

Elements of the budget also improved as advocated-Education got improved allocation, as is health

While capital budget received greater votes against same allocation for the previous year’s allocation

The Aluu murder suspects have been arrested, kidnapped madam Okonjo Iweala was released (ashamedly upon the supposed payment of unholy sums)

Our economy still grew by more than 5%-which was still a globally high percentage and foreign direct investment (FDI) improved to almost 10billion dollars as against 3billion in 2005

***

Through all our trails, tribulations and troubles, Nigeria and Nigerians remains united as a people

We have stuck by ourselves through thick and thin and here we are at the end smiling-however painful it is to do so

Here we are at the tail end of the year 2012 saying ‘what a year this has been…’

We can only hope, pray and anticipate a better 2013

For he that is down need fear nor fall,

The only place we can go from here is UP!

***

What a year indeed my friends!

What a year indeed 2012 has been…

 

 

Lanre Basamta

basamta@yahoo.com

www.facebook.com/basamta

www.twitter.com/basamta

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