Some politicians were sore losers, some winners were not so humble in victory and some losers are still licking their wounds.
We run the rule on the biggest winners and losers in Nigeria’s politics in the year under review.
President Buhari won re-election in 2019 (Presidency)
President Buhari’s 2019 re-election battle was a lot tougher than his election victory of 2015 when he ran against an incumbent Goodluck Jonathan who had frittered most of his goodwill; with millions of Nigerians yearning for change.
In 2019, Buhari had to defend his record against seasoned campaigner and serial presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar of the opposition PDP.
It was a keenly contested election and one in which Atiku and his running mate Peter Obi, pushed Buhari and his APC to the wire.
Buhari emerged winner with a 3 million vote differential. The 76-year-old former army general was by far the biggest winner of 2019.
Sanwo-olu (middle) and his deputy Obafemi Hamzat (right) toast to their election victory at their Ikoyi campaign office in March 2019 (Sanwo-Olu campaign)
The Lagos governorship election would turn out to be a cake-walk for 53-year-old Sanwo-Olu once he had emerged winner of the APC primary election by handing then incumbent Governor Akinwunmi Ambode a bloody nose.
Sanwo-Olu swept all local governments on offer in Lagos on his way to government house in Alausa, made Jimi Agbaje look paperweight all over again, and is currently consolidating his hold on power by fixing roads left decrepit by his predecessor and playing smart politics with his godfathers and sponsors.
The man is also ending the year on a high after a few months of uncertainty and a slow start.
Mamman Daura and the cabal
Mamman Daura is the president’s powerful nephew or cousin [premiumtimesng]
President Buhari’s powerful cousin (or is it nephew?) has remained in the shadows, pulling the strings in the presidency behind the scenes as the head of a cabal that has caused First Lady Aisha Buhari sleepless nights, since her husband was first elected president in 2015.
Daura has not granted an interview since he was unveiled as the kingmaker in a Buhari presidency that has ended the year in typical melodramatic fashion.
Aisha is still wailing and calling out Daura and other members of the cabal she accuses of hijacking the Buhari presidency, but Daura remains in the villa or somewhere around it, calling the shots, deciding who gets fired and who stays and completely ignoring a First Lady who has been banished to the fringes of power–much to her agony and dismay.
Daura is a winner everyday and twice on Fridays.
Senator Smart Adeyemi floored Melaye to return to the senate (Punch)
Before the November 2019 senatorial rerun election, Sen Dino Melaye, who was still representing Kogi West in the upper legislative chamber, couldn’t wait to tell everyone that Adeyemi is his “political wife” who he mercilessly pummels at every ballot. It was a sexist and disturbing metaphor no less.
After the first ballot was declared inconclusive, Adeyemi polled a total of 8,265 votes, while Melaye scooped a total of 2,585 votes.
The “political wife” ended the year debating bills on the floor of the senate as Kogi West’s representative, while Melaye has been left fuming about being rigged out and licking his wounds.
President Muhammadu Buhari (right) receives Governor-Elect of Bayelsa State, Mr. David Lyon (left) at the State House, Abuja. (Presidency)
“David who?” was the question on numerous lips when the 49-year-old politician from Bayelsa was declared winner of the November 16 governorship election in the southern state.
Lyon’s victory was even more impressive because it would be the first time a candidate of the APC (or its other legacy variants) would be winning a governorship election in the PDP stronghold of Bayelsa since Nigeria’s return to democratic governance in 1999.
An NCE holder from the Rivers State College of Education and a CEO of private security outfit ‘Darlon Security and Guard’, Lyon’s smattering English, nervousness and shy disposition will be something to look forward to in the new year.
As upset victories go, Lyon’s win over the PDP’s Douye Diri has got to be up there among the best in recent times.
Atiku Abubakar lost the presidency again and lost at the courts (The Nation)
2019 was supposed to be the year when it all came together for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who has been running for the office of Nigeria’s president since 1993.
Abubakar of the PDP rejected the results of the presidential vote, called out the electoral umpire for allegedly rigging the election for Buhari, put up a laughable legal team who bungled his case and made it worse, lost at the election tribunal and lost at the Supreme Court.
2019 was the year Atiku lost it all, politically speaking, and he’s apparently yet to recover from it all.
Dino Melaye [Vanguard]
The former senator who represented Kogi West in the red chamber was a gloating, garrulous, dramatic, stunt-churning force before the rerun election which pitted him against Smart Adeyemi.
Melaye ended 2019 outside of the national assembly.
‘Ls’ don’t come any bigger.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Governor Dickson Seriake of Bayelsa state (right) [nigerianeye]
Departing Bayelsa Governor Dickson propped Diri of the PDP to succeed him. All was going according to plan until Lyon emerged on the scene, backed by former President Goodluck Jonathan and other political chieftains in Bayelsa.
Dickson had isolated heavyweights of his political party in the last months of his reign and found himself battling the APC all by himself to enthrone Diri. It was an uphill battle he didn’t win.
Lyon’s emergence has everything to do with Dickson’s divisive, schoolboy politics and how he picked fights with the elders of the PDP in Bayelsa. Diri’s loss is Dickson’s to bear.
Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kali does not like handcuffs [SaharaReporters]
The former Governor of Abia State began the year winning a senatorial election on the platform of the APC and entertaining us all as lawmakers screened and grilled President Buhari’s ministerial nominees on the floor of parliament.
Kalu is ending the year in a prison cell after a court convicted him of N7.1billion fraud and sentenced him to 12 years behind bars.
“Where are you taking us to now? Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you,” Kalu said as prison warders made to drive him to a detention facility.
A fall from grace for the businessman and politician, surely.