Cutting across all sectors of the country, 20 things are expected to shape and shake the first year of this new decade, 2020. In these sectors, politics, economy, judiciary, entertainment, communication and security, top politicians, government officials, business moguls, technocrats, lawmakers, captains of industries, security chiefs and others will play key roles in making the 20 things happen. Daily Trust on Sunday looks at some of the issues.
Edo, Ondo governorship elections
Nigerians in Edo and Ondo states will go to the polls to elect their governors this year. The polls will be conducted after the swearing in of David Lyon and Yahaya Bello as governors of Bayelsa and Kogi states, respectively.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the forthcoming governorship poll in Edo was responsible for the feud between the state governor, Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of the APC.
The feud between Obaseki and Oshiomhole is going the way of Tinubu and Akinwumi Ambode, the immediate past governor of Lagos state.
Like Obaseki, his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN is also seeking a second term. The two governors will attempt to retain their seats this year.
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At the National Assembly, the review of the 1999 constitution of the country is expected to dominate debate of the both chambers when the parliamentarians resume from the Yuletide break this month.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan had before the commencement of their recess said, “Very soon, we will constitute our Committee on Constitutional Review. We haven’t done so yet because we have been engaged so much more with other issues.
“We believe that by the time we passed the budget, and then our committee on Constitutional Review will be put in place. By next year January, the committee will start some work because we already have some references that require some kind of constitutional review,” Lawan said.
The parliament resumes on Tuesday, January 28.
The year will witness many political activities that will shape Nigeria’s gradual democratic development ahead of the 2023 general elections. The build-up to the next general elections is already eliciting debates between some elements from the North and their counterparts in the South.
The South-West political bloc led by Senator Bola Tinubu faces a dilemma ahead of 2023. It is evident that Tinubu nurses a presidential ambition, albeit in line with the gentleman agreement for power rotation between North and South.
Pundits believe that the preliminary part of the scheming will unfold this year while the real politicking will commence next year and get messier by 2022.
Also, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar is expected to subtly step up his underground schemings for the presidency this year.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general elections, lost his bid to sack President Buhari from the presidential villa at the Supreme Court.
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Many Nigerian politicians will change their tents ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This is part of plans to position themselves for future elections. Heavy and lightweight politicians in both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition PDP, especially those who feel the present arrangement does not favour them, will decamp to other parties.
Jega and others as well as PRP option
In August 2019, a former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, joined the People’s Redemption Party (PRP).
Analysts believe that Jega who played key role during the 2011 and 2015 general elections is a man to reckon with, and his recent decision to join partisan politics is not taken lightly by advocates of power shift between the North and South.
Aside from joining the PRP, Jega, according to a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Abdul Gombe, will head the SWOT Analysis Committee of the party to reposition it ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Jega will most likely vie for the presidency in 2023; he is a credible material and enjoys acceptability from across the divide,” a PRP stalwart told Daily Trust on Sunday.
On November 3, 2020, the United States will elect its president in an attention-grabbing election, whose outcome will reverberate beyond the country’s borders in a number of spheres.
U.S. elections are difficult to predict. Trump White House was characterized by unpredictability. Though his administration has not been as disruptive to the US-Africa relationship as had been feared based on his campaign rhetoric and pursuit of a self-interested “America First” policy, Nigeria is among the biggest victims of his immigration clampdown.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Trump had a fruitful meeting in the White House in April 2018. Trump immigration policy saw upward review of visa fees for Nigerians. Washington’s policy targeted at Nigeria is likely to remain unchanged if Trump is re-elected.
In the next eleven months, the world’s attention will focus on whether Americans will give Trump four more years or choose his democratic opponent. But whoever emerges the winner, the implications for Nigeria and other African countries are profound.
Nigeria’s ties with post-Brexit Britain
Three and a half years after the referendum was held; Britain has been haggling over the withdrawal from the European Union.
President Muhammadu Buhari, while congratulating Johnson on his election, said Nigeria hopes to build a stronger tie with post-Brexit Britain.
But Johnson seems to show little interest in securing new deals with African nations. He had, instead, focused on building closer relations between London and Washington.
Theresa May had, during her tour of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in 2018, reeled out sweet pledges that Brexit would provide their nations with new and lucrative trade and investment partnerships with the UK.
But Mrs May’s proposals and dreams for a “global Britain” did not have the backing of Johnson. So, the UK-Africa lucrative trade partnership and stronger ties with post-Brexit Britain Mrs May and Buhari had wished for hang in the balance. Whether they will ever materialise or not, time will tell.
Adherence to rule of law
Lawyers have advised the Federal Government to ensure adherence to rule of law in 2020 and the new decade to ensure the rapid economic development of the country.
Speaking on the rule of law in the country, Ibrahim Abdullahi Esq said there was disobedience to court orders in previous years, adding that the situation was not good for law and the development of the country.
Abdullahi said the electorate have a role to play in ensuring they elect people who have shown from their antecedents they have respect for the rule and not to circumvent the laws.
“The lawyers need to also practice the law not to defeat the aim of the law. We shouldn’t just go to court to defeat the aim of the law but to ensure justice of the matter and to follow what is provided by the law. And the judiciary should give judgment without fear or favour but based on the law and the right thing to do,” he added.
In his view, Hamid Jimoh Esq said the rule of law will be enhanced if the three arms of government “respect the doctrine of separation of powers.”
Nigerians will be watching in 2020 to see if the government will improve its rule of law credentials. There are concerns that kidnappers will continue to operate in Katsina and other places if efforts are not made to check them.
Will Nigeria switch off analogue broadcasting?
Nigeria is most likely to continue with its analogue broadcasting throughout 2020 as funds paucity and graft allegation against top officials of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) put the country’s digital switchover (DSO) on hold.
Despite wasting close to 10 years on DSO journey, Nigeria will still not attain it this year, Daily Trust on Sunday can report.
Though partial switch-over had been done in some states across the country, scarcity of funds is said to be delaying the completion of the project across Nigeria.
The NBC said about N45 billion is needed to complete the project.
According to the plan (known as the GE06), the latest set date for switch off was June 17, 2015 (except for some countries in frequency bands where the deadline is June 17, 2020).
But due to lack of political will, inadequate funding and corruption, Nigeria could not transit by the set date and opted to go regional in phases.
Dasuki, Sowore trials proceed
The cases of former of former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore is expected to make progress in 2020.
Dasuki’s trial is expected to resume in 2020 following his release by the Federal Government on December 24, 2019 after four years in detention.
The trial of Sowore is fixed for February 11 and 12 before the Federal High Court in Abuja following his arraignment on allegations bordering on treason, money laundering, cybercrimes and insulting the president.
The former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) and publisher of the online newspaper Sahara Reporters, was first brought to court on August 8, 2019 by the Department of State Services after his #RevolutionNow called for nationwide protest over alleged bad governance in the country.
Sowore was released on December 24, 2019 after the Federal Government failed to obey two court orders for his release.
Judgment day for Olisa Metuh
Judgment in the case of former PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh before a Federal High Court in Abuja has been fixed for February 26.
Metuh was charged in February 2016 with money laundering alongside his company, Destra Investment Ltd, after he allegedly received the sum of N400m from former NSA Dasuki funds meant for purchase of arms.
Good buzzes in the entertainment industry
In Nigeria’s entertainment industry, there are high expectations in 2020, particularly since the Grammy nomination of Burna Boy’s latest album ‘African Giant’ in the Best World Music Album category last year. The entire nation looks forward to this win.
In Kannywood, star actress Nafisa Abdullahi is set to make her debut as movie director for her film ‘Zainab Ali’ in 2020 under NAFS Entertainment. Meanwhile, the popular and controversial Rahama Sadau has since spread her talent beyond Kannywood to Nollywood. She rounded off 2019 by opening a beauty salon and fans are eager to find out what she has up her sleeve in the New Year.
Ratnik, produced and directed by Dimeji Ajibola is a Nollywood science fiction movie set to be released in March 2020.
In 2018 and the years preceding, majority of the reported clashes between farmers and herders were documented to have occurred the most in the North-central states of Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa. However, in 2019, the clashes went further south of the country with some reported cases in the South-West and South-East.
While the reported cases of these clashes reduced in 2019 compared to the preceding years, more concerted efforts are still needed from the authorities to address the root causes of the clash in order to finally put to rest the pockets of clashes.
The clashes are expected to subside further.
The Abuja-Kaduna highway remained one of the hotbeds of kidnapping in Nigeria. While the police made several arrests in 2019 as they did in preceding years, the road remained a nightmare for users throughout the year. The chairman of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Mohammad Abubakar and his daughter, Yasmin, were one of the numerous victims on the road.
There were several reported cases of kidnappings and banditry attacks around the Birnin-Gwari axis of Kaduna State.
Further down South, there were several high-profile cases of kidnappings including the abduction of Justice Abdul Dogo of the Federal High Court, Ondo State, who was kidnapped in Edo State. Also, Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme of the Court of Appeal, Benin Division, was abducted in October, 2019, with her orderly shot dead. These are only just a couple of examples of reported high profile kidnappings that occurred in the year wherein there hardly was a day without a reported case of abduction, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital had its own share of kidnappings.
Withdrawal of military from volatile areas
Following a security council meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, told the nation that the military will from the first quarter of 2020 begin gradual withdrawal of its forces deployed to some volatile areas across the country.
While the police had indicated its readiness to be fully in charge of internal security of the country, security experts and citizens have continued to raise questions on the timing of the plan withdrawal of troops. This, they say, was not unconnected with the sophistication and the increase in the spate of crimes across the country and whether the police with its about 400,000 manpower have what it takes to handle the situation.
Some of them opine that in 2019, with the combine strength of the military and the police in the country, crime rates were not significantly reduced, as such, leaving the entire internal security to the police might be an uphill task.
Nigerians to pay more taxes
In 2020 Nigerians will pay more in taxes given that there are a couple of increases in taxes while new ones are being introduced.
These taxes include the Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), electricity tariff, communications tax and the return of tollgates taxes which analysts although believe will increase FG’s revenue base,
said would impact negatively on the income of Nigerians. They said an average Nigerian would bear the brunt if the taxes are not judiciously utilised.
Also the ministry of power in 2019 had disclosed that there is a need to increase the electricity tariff, which might make Nigerians start paying more on electricity supply.
The Senate is also in the process of seeking a legislative action to impose a 9 per cent tax on Communication Services. The communication service tax shall be levied on Electronic Communication Services like Voice Calls; SMS; MMS; Data usage both from Telecommunication Services Providers and Internet Service as well as Pay per View TV Stations.
Also the FG announced plans to ensure the return of toll gates on federal highways in the country, and if that it concluded it may be implemented in 2020, of which analysts believe one of the resultant effect will be increased in transport fare across the country.
Increase in debt profile
Nigeria’s debt stock increased by 3.11% from $81.27 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019 to $83.88 billion (N25.70 trillion) at the end of June 2019.
Analysis of the debt figures showed that this is 12.72% increase year-on-year from the $73.21 billion at the end of June 2018.
Further analysis of the data shows that the federal government’s external borrowing climbed 32.38% to $27.16 billion, while states including FCT grew by 5.10% to $4.27 billion.
On the domestic debt side, the national government debt increased by 52.19% to $43.78 billion, while the States and the FCT rose by 15.43% to $12.94 billion as of June 2019.
Overall, total external debt stood at $27.16 billion, while total domestic debt stood at $56.72 billion, according to DMO data.
In addition to that in December 2019, President Buhari had asked the senate to approve the loan request of $22.7 billion in the External Borrowing plan to fund critical infrastructure projects.
Will subsidy end in 2020?
Analysis by Daily Trust on Sunday shows that payment for subsidy on petrol is expected continue in 2020 as the federal government is yet to officially announce its removal.
Instead, the government provided N450 billion as under-recovery (subsidy) on premium motor spirit (PMS or petrol) through NNPC in the 2020 budget recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
But trend analysis based on data from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) showed that subsidy on PMS may overshoot the N450bn budget in 2020 due to the fluctuation and instability in the international price of crude oil.
For instance, the federal government in the 2019 budget earmarked N305 billion for under-recovery for the NNPC but by July of 2019 NNPC, the sole importer of PMS, had already spent N383.2bn, the corporation’s July financial report showed.
Also, subsidy on PMS alone, gulped N731bn in 2018, according to a comprehensive review of under-recovery figures published by NNPC.
Data from the PPPRA in December, 2019 indicates that under-recovery on PMS (commonly called subsidy) stood at N21.22 Kobo per litre or N1.2billion daily based on 58.46 million litres average daily PMS truck-out.
50 years after Nigeria’s civil war
The Nigeria’s civil war ended in January 12, 1970. The three-year long war led to deaths of over one million people, most of them children and women died of starvation. Fifty years after the war, while Nigeria celebrates the unity of the country, there are still agitations for secession. A group led by Ralph Uwazuruike had attempted resurging Biafra with the Movement for the Actualisation of Independent State of Biafra (MASSOB). He introduced a currency and passport but was arrested in 2005 for treason. Since his release in 2007 not much was heard about MASSOB.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was birthed in 2014 by Nnamdi Kanu. With the aid of Radio Biafra, he was able to spread the message to several youths in the region. Their celebration of the independence declaration leaves several deaths in its wake. Kanu was arrested in 2015 but was released in 2017.
Rice and cotton boom
The closure of the land border, which began in August 2019, brought unprecedented opportunities that widen farmers’ access to markets.
In the rice industry, more farmers are eager to take advantage of the incentive created by the current government policy on the border.
About one million rice farmers are currently mobilized to produce about 5 million metric tons for the 2020 dry season programme, which has begun in many states. For the forthcoming wet season, about 12 million registered farmers will be expected to produce over 10 million metric tonnes across the states. Kebbi Jigawa, and Zamfara are targeting over 6 million metric tonnes.
On the processing side more large scale mills are been mulled across the country to join the over 500 small and medium scale mills.
One other crop that will witness a revolution in the 2020 is the Cotton production, which will revive the moribund textile industries across Nigeria.
The introduction of the two new Bt. Cotton seeds which yield an average of 4.1 ton per hectare has already registered over 2000 farmers across Katsina, Zamfara, Gombe and other places.