Sack of two ministers
The presidency like other arms of government experienced the good and not-so-good events and activities this year. 2021 was also a memorable year in the presidency.
Change Of Service Chiefs And IGP
After the clamor by most Nigerians for a change of guard in the war against insecurity, President Buhari in January accepted the resignation of Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The president consequently appointed Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
Sadly, the chief of Army Staff, Gen Attahiru died in a military plane crash on May 21. The president on May 27 appointed Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new chief of army staff.
Also, President Buhari named Usman Alkali as the new Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP). He replaced Mohammed Adamu, whose tenure ended in February but was extended by Buhari on February 4.
Receiving of defectors
This year also saw some major politicians defect to the ruling All Progressive Congress ( APC) and in most cases, President Muhammadu Buhari receives defectors at the Presidential Villa.
Cross Rivers State governor, Ben Ayade on May 10 this year officially ditched the PDP for the APC.
Also Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle defected from the PDP to the APC. Recall that Matawalle became the governor in 2019 after the Supreme Court voided the APC primaries and all the candidates of the APC automatically lost out paving way for the PDP.
However, the most shocking defection of the year was the former minister of aviation, Femi Fani- Kayode moving from the PDP to the APC.Fani- Kayode was arguably the biggest critic of the APC and President Buhari.
The decision by President Buhari to receive FFK at the State House didn’t sit well with some of the party faithful. They argued that some die-hard fans of the president have never had the opportunity to visit the president at the State House but an FFK the biggest critic of the president was given a red carpet reception.
Rejection of Electoral Bill
The amended electoral act had generated some controversies this year. The most contentious parts were the electronic transmission of results and direct primaries. After the outcry by Nigerians, the National Assembly inserted the electronic transmission of the result clause. They also added the direct primaries clause which was met with stiff opposition from governors who were vehemently opposed to it.
Some governors visited the President while Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives also visited the president on the contentious direct primaries clause. Before that, the mandated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to wade I to the impasse as he meet with governors and leaders of the National Assembly.
On November 19, the electoral bill was transmitted to Buhari for assent.
All eyes were on the president but Buhari rejected the bill on the grounds of insecurity and the cost of conducting direct primaries, adding that the recommendation “violates the spirit of democracy”.
Wedding of the President’s son
There was also a cause for celebration at the State House as the President’s only son Yusuf Buhari got married to the daughter of the Emir of Bichi, Alh. Nasiru Ado Bayero.
The event was virtually attended by the who is who in Nigeria including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Also present was the former President of the Niger Republic, Mahamadou Isoufou.
The wedding ceremony which took place in Emir of Bichi’s palace brought the members of the opposition parties, PDP and the APC led by President Muhammadu Buhari and National Caretaker Committee, Governor of Yobe, Mai Mala Buni under one roof.
Among the PDP Governors in attendance include Governor Douye Diri (Bayelsa State), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto), and Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa).
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami officiated the wedding procession which saw a sum of N500,000 being paid as dowry.
President Buhari’s nephew and political ally, Mamman Daura stood in as a representative of the Groom, Yusuf Buhari while the business mogul, Aminu Dantata stood in as representative of the Bride.
Sack of two ministers
One of the shocking things the president did this year was the sack of two ministers and the reasons are not far-fetched. President Buhari is known to be a good employer of Labour who hardly sacks his employees.
Indeed, some of the ministers on the cabinet are on their way to spending eight years as ministers.
So it came as a shock when the president sacked Mohammed Sabo Nanono as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Engr. Sale Mamman as Minister of Power.
Indeed, they were sacked for poor performance after their performances were reviewed.
Consequently, in the same vein, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Environment, was redeployed to assume office as the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, while Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, Minister of State, Works & Housing will now be the Minister of Power.
He also warned that the process of cabinet reshuffle will be continuous based on review.
The president had also nominated Alhaji Mu’Azu Jaji Sambo as a ministerial nominee from Taraba State. He was confirmed by the Senate and last week President Buhari swore him in as new Minister of State for Works and Housing.
Hosting of Turkish, South African Presidents, US Secretary of State
One of the highlights at the State House was when President Buhari hosted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
The president also hosted South African President Cyril Ramaphosa where he urged a stronger emphasis on people-to-people relations between South Africa and Nigeria to evolve a bond that will be of benefit to both countries and the entire African continent.
The president also in November hosted United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
Buhari Signs Petroleum Industry Bill
President Buhari also made history by signing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) 2021 into law.
Politics had stalled the signing of the bill by successive administrations.
In 2018, after the national assembly passed a harmonized version of the bill — the petroleum industry governance bill (PIGB), President Muhammadu Buhari refused assent due to “legal and constitutional reasons”.
The PIB contains 5 chapters, including governance and institutions, administration, host communities development, petroleum industry fiscal framework, and miscellaneous provisions in 319 clauses and 8 schedules.
The Petroleum Industry Act provides a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.
The Senate had passed the bill on July 15, 2021, while the house of representatives did the same on July 16, thus ending a long wait since the early 2000s.
Although the percentage for the host communities generated controversies, the president went ahead to sign the bill.