Every year is seemingly shaped by various events that ultimately determine how it is constructed even deconstructed as well as slides into a dignified end or disfigured infamy. Surely, 2021 has just begun. Like all other years before it, 2021 will witness all the circles that make up a year. There will be day and there will be night. The sun will scorch, the rain will drench and the wind will buffet.
Men and women will marry and get married to, and in the process, beget children. Locally, the lead opposition party, PDP, will never report the ruling party, APC, in good light. On the other hand, APC, as it has become customary to it, will claim to be the best ever to have happened to Nigeria and Nigerians. For now, all of Biafra agitation by IPOB, insurgence in the north perpetrated by Boko Haram will still torment Nigerians just as insecurity cannot be ruled out.
Globally, the fear of fresh covid -19 assaults is still being felt and this is a major concern and threats this 2021. At the last count, the coronarirus that reared its ugly head in December 2019 had claimed scores of millions of lives the world over.
In this report, News Echo highlights what can be described as the issues to shape 2021.
Fresh fear of covid -19
According to Reuters, “Fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections shut six major food markets in Beijing on Friday, while India, which opened up this week, recorded a record daily increase and half a dozen U.S. states said their hospital beds were filling up fast.
Health officials worldwide have expressed concerns in recent days that some countries grappling with the devastating economic impact of lockdowns may lift restrictions too swiftly, and that the coronavirus could spread during mass anti-racism protests”.
Already, Europeans, Americans and Asians, had planned to tackle the fresh covid -19 attack. “We must be ready to roll back relaxation of measures if needed,” the European Union’s health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said after urging its 27 members to plough ahead with testing the population as they reopen schools and businesses.
In China, where the new coronavirus originated, two new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the capital. Authorities closed part or all of six big wholesale food markets which the two men had recently visited but it was not known how they had become infected.
India opened most public transport, offices and malls this week after nearly 70 days even though health officials said it was weeks away from flattening the rising infection curve. The official death toll, at 8,498, is relatively small, but the health ministry said registered cases rose by 10,956 on Friday, a record, with many in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the head of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, one of India’s biggest mosques, ordered a halt to congregations until the end of the month. “What is the point of visiting mosques at a time when the virus is spreading so fast?” he said.
It said that the world is a global village, to that effect, whatever affects the West ricochets across the Atlantic, particularly in West Africa. This is why the fresh attack of coronavirus is being discussed in high and low places in Nigeria. Mega cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt are in panic mood as their respective residents have yet to overcome the devastation that was covid -19 and its deadly attendant lockdown, curfew which caused death, job losses, hunger, starvation and various other social hazards.
Supreme court on Imo 2019 gov’ship election
Exactly this time last year, the apex court, the supreme court of Nigeria, on January 14, controversially sacked Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha from his exalted position as the executive governor of Imo State. In his place, Senator Hope Uzodimma was installed.
It was a judgment that got the entire country baffled, especially, Imo State. However, when Uzodimma and his company thought it was all and then tightened their seat belts for a smooth ride of four years, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Philip Umeadi approached the supreme court for a redress. The plaintiff alleged that following the judgment of the same supreme court which declared
Uche Nwosu the duly nominated candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the disqualification of the same Uche Nwosu by the same apex court for having the nomination of two different political parties, the APC ought to have no candidate for the Imo State governorship election. The plaintiff recalled the judgments of the same supreme court which he equally alleged that they were all in the court’s record. Whatever is the outcome of the apex court will go a long way towards shaping what 2021 holds in stock for Imo State and Nigeria, politically.
The governorship election in Anambra in November this year is one of the factors that will obviously set the tone of how the South East will fare in the 2023 general elections. The two biggest parties in the country, the ruling APC and opposition PDP are not in control of Anambra political structure. Rather, APGA, with the regional tag as Igbo party, is in firm control. Therefore, the November 2021 governorship election in Anambra is expected to be keenly contested among APC, PDP and APGA.
There are fears that the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, might go the way of the Ebonyi State governor, Engineer Dave Umahi, who dumped PDP for APC. That is, Obaino might be re-enacting the feat of his predecessor, Peter Obi, who jumped ship after handing over to his successor pitched his tent with the umbrella party. If this happens, the chances of APGA returning to the Anambra State Government House, Awka, as the ruling party will be vague.
If this speculation goes through, chances are that the broom party may likely “muscle” other parties to win the election thereby making the APC a dominant party in the South East. As it is, the PDP seems to be perfectly putting its house in order, although belatedly. Thus, the November 2021 in Anambra will be the cynosure of all eyes this year and this registers it as one of the major issues to shape 2021.
Certainly, the Biafra agitation group, IPOB, is poised for even renewed struggle in its bid to ensure the creation of an independent country by the name, Biafra. Despite the Federal Government’s proscription of IPOB as a terrorist body, though informed commentators strongly disagreed with that decision, the group still goes about its business of pushing and campaigning for the sovereignty of Biafra. As the President Muhammadu led –APC government has vowed to crush IPOB, the Biafra agitators will see it as an affront and even make the louder noise just to seek an attention.
However, it has been established that IPOB is not an attention seeking group, but a separatist body using both local and international means to draw attention to the inhuman treatment as well as marginalization fireworks targeted against Ndigbo.
Boko Haram attacks
From all indications, it appears the Federal Government has lost ideas on how to put to an end the mindless and reckless attacks by Boko Haram against innocent Nigerians in the North. Boko Haram has killed hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and still counting. They attacked and killed Muslims as well as Christians. It has expired both Hausa/Fulani as well asother Nigerians.
Boko Haram has dealt with both the high and the low. In fact, the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom for Nigerian governments in almost 15 years now. Its activities have placed Nigeria as a terrorist country as it has almost made the country a pariah state. This 2021, will the security forces dissimilate Boko Haram to make peace, order and tranquility a reality in Northern Nigeria?
Nigerians are always interested in the outcome of America’s presidential election. Many factors account for this. For instance, it is very clear that the hard stand of President Donald Trump on immigrant visas was a major reason most Nigerians moved against him as he fought for a return to the White House. Now, what will be stand of the newly elected president, Joe Biden, if he is successfully sworn to office? Will he throw away his predecessor’s policy on immigrant visas? There are still many Nigerians who believe that Trump will come back. These are the issues that are lined up to make 2021 both interesting and irritating.
A woman, who has worked so hard in the international front, particularly at the World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo –Iweala, is indeed one of the central figures and actors of 2021.
According to a publication, “For the first time in its 25-year history, a woman will be named Director-General. The finalists have been narrowed to two outstanding candidates—Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, and Yoo Myung-hee, the current Minister of Trade in South Korea. Both women are highly accomplished and well equipped to lead the WTO. Minister Yoo has worked in Korean trade circles for decades.
She is the first woman to hold her position in a country that has successfully transformed its economy. I am certain that if chosen she would reform and strengthen the 164-member global institution. But Ms. Okonjo Iweala is more suited to the need of the moment when the global economy faces profound uncertainties. The WTO’s greatest challenge right now is to restore faith in an organization weakened by a power struggle between China and the United States.
Ms. Okonjo Iweala, bringing a fresh perspective that is sorely needed, has the depth of experience and persistence to help both inject new life into the global trading system after its mauling from the COVID-19 pandemic and the multinational credentials to address global divisions in broad and innovative ways. But the Nigerian-born economist and international development expert who was a former Managing Director of the World Bank, as well as having chaired the board of Gavi, the vaccine alliance. has a wider range of contacts and experience that will ensure she can deliver at this crucial time for the international community.
The world is at an inflection point, with free and fair trade near the top of the list. Trade wars have returned, trading blocs have weakened, and the multilateral approach to addressing trade issues and disputes has waned. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic has closed borders, upended supply chains, and dragged down the world economy at the same time as global warming is taking its toll on society and infrastructure”.