The business of politics in Nigeria has confirmed the philosophical saying that there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. “Permanent interests” in politics refers to the fact that “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” too. In other words, nothing goes for nothing.
The Nigerian politics domain in 2016 was engulfed with this philosophy, as many political juggernauts put their differences behind, and joined force with the ruling Government – All Progressive Congress (APC).
Despite alliance, public disagreements was the order of the day among these politicians both from the APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Politicians who made the list of Greennews.ng most controversial Pols are those who were consistently in the news as a result of unfavourable government policies, perceived selective anti-corruption war, disputable Bills in the National Assembly, perceived Government incompetency, economic recession, among others.
After critical considerations, Raphael Adenaike, the Greennews.ng meticulous Journalist can authoritatively select these 8 pols as Nigeria’s most controversial politicians in 2016.
- Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose
The number one citizen of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has been, even before the 2015 General election, undisputedly against the President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC). Asides being a Governor, the media has conferred a HUGE status on Fayose basically on his firm stance against the ruling Government.
Fayose criticised the President for alleged incompetency, selective anti-corruption fight among others. The Governor through his unhesitating media aide, Lere Olayinka releases statements almost on a weekly basis on controversial National issues, challenging certain decision/policies taken by the Federal Government.
One notable moment Fayose spited fire against the Federal Government, particularly Buhari was in June, 2016 when his Zenith Bank accounts was frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The PDP Governor was accused to have used the Bank to launder money for his Ekiti governorship election in 2014, the money believed to be part of the $2.2 billion Arms purchase fund, allegedly diverted by embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Fayose’s account was however unfreeze following a Court order by a Federal High Court in Ekiti State.
Another controversial moment was when Aisha Buhari, wife of the President described Fayose as an “unchained mad Dog” after the Governor accused her of being indicted by a U.S. Court for transferring $170,000 to U.S. Congressman, Williams Jefferson, in the Halliburton corruption case.
- Senator Dino Melaye
Senator representing Kogi West at the upper chamber, Dino Melayo made this list basically on his contributions on the floor of the Senate. He is known to be unequivocal, firm and a die-hard loyalist of Senate President Bukola Saraki. Dino’s loyalty played out during call for Saraki’s resignation over allegation of false assets declaration while serving as Kwara State Governor between 2004 and 2011.
The APC Senator made front pages on National Newspapers in the country when he threatened to ‘beat up’ his colleague, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the APC National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu in July, 2016.
Dino’s threat ensued during a closed-door meeting members of the upper chamber had with the aim of finding a lasting solution to its crisis, as well as bury hatchet among members, where those with cases against the leadership of the Senate would withdraw for peace to return to the upper chambers.
This was during the alleged forgery of Senate standing order levelled against Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu by the Federal Government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The Senate was also said to have plotted to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dino Melaye in the meeting reportedly called on the Senators to fight the presidency to a standstill. He reportedly issued a wide variety of threats which was objected by Remi Tinubu.
Reacting to Remi’s objection, Dino was quoted as saying: “I will beat you up on this floor and nothing will happen”.
- Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, factional Chairman of the PDP
Ali Modu Sheriff, a former Borno State Governor began to flood the media before the botched People Democratic Party (PDP) National convention in Port Harcourt where he was laying claims to the office of the National Chairman of the party.
After numerous contradicting court judgments, PDP conducted fresh convention at the party’s secretariat in Port Harcourt where National caretaker committee chairman Senator Ahmed Markafi’s tenure was extended by one year.
This automatically broke the party, as aggrieved Ali Modu Sheriff chaired another faction of the PDP.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was greeted with unending leadership crisis after it lost the helm of power to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections which produced President Muhammadu Buhari.
The leadership of the PDP never wanted Sheriff to Chair the PDP over allegations that he was one of the sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents, this according to some bigwigs of the party would tarnish PDP’s image in the face of Nigerians.
Similarly, top lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) had also accused Sheriff of the same allegation when he was Governor of Borno State between 2003 and 2011. He had asked Mr. Sheriff to explain to Nigerians the basis of the appointment of Alhaji Buji Foi, a Boko Haram leader as the Commissioner of Religious Affairs in Borno State.
Sheriff’s brawl with the leadership of the PDP lingers till date, considering the squabble that rocked the recent Ondo State governorship election.
Major players in the Ondo State Governorship poll include Sheriff’s Jimoh Ibrahim and the Eyitayo Jegede of Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP. These two candidates eventually lost to Rotimi Akeredolu, candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
- Former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode
Like Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Fani-Kayode was never in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style. He tirelessly criticises the President’s economic decision, policies, as well as his allegedly selective anti-corruption fight.
He could be described as a conversant social media user, whose major task was to condemn the President and members of his cabinet who are believed to incompetent.
The former Minister who served under former President Jonathan was recently arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly benefiting from the infamous Arms purchase funds allegedly mismanaged by former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.
- Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike
Incessantly lampooning the ruling Government APC, Nyesom Wike obstructed the Department of States Services (DSS) during the recent arrest of allegedly corrupt Nigerian Judges.
Like Ayodele Fayose of the South west, Wike is another controversial PDP bigwig in the South-South.
Wike was recently under fire over a leaked audio tape where he allegedly threatened to “kill” an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the December 10 Rivers State legislative rerun.
This allegation is currently being investigated by the Nigerian Police, as at the time of filling this report.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi
Rotimi Amaechi and Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike are Cat and Dog when it comes to Nigerian politics. They fell out when Amaechi decamped to the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the build-up to 2015 general election.
Amaechi was always trading words with Wike on Rivers State elections which was postponed and later conducted in December 10, 2016.
- Senator Shehu Sani
Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central in the upper chamber has been at loggerhead with the Kaduna State chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC) over his diatribe against Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.
This earned him an indefinite suspension after his initial 11 months suspension.
- Abdulmumin Jibrin
The whistle-blower, as he is popularly called, Jibrin was suspected to have played a prominent role in the controversies that marred deliberation and passage of the 2016 budget.
Jibrin was the 8th Assembly’s first Appropriation Committee Chairman appointed by the Speaker Yakubu Dogara until he was suspended for 180 Legislative days for allegedly breaching the practices and precedents of the House of Representatives and is also required to tender an apology to the House of Representatives before the expiration of his suspension.
Jibrin was yet to tender this apology letter as at the time of filing this report.
Before being suspended, Jibrin had accused the leadership of the House including Dogara of padding the 2016 Budget. He called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention in a bid to bring perpetrators of this act to book. But all were to no avail, as the Presidency was yet to order probe into the allegation.