Powerful, influential, charismatic and eccentric, what they do this year may further weaken the fabric of the Nigerian society
Professor Ishaq Akintola: Conspiracy Theory Genius
A maestro at linking unrelated developments, religious fundamentalist and an all-round sower of discord.
The kaffiyeh-wearing Director of Muslim Rights Council (MURIC), under the pretext of fighting for the rights of Muslims, is happy when lighting ethno-sectarian fires-at which he is prolific.
Last year, he suggested that the gale of deaths in Kano State, which some attributed to Covid-19, was induced by health authorities to reduce the Muslim population in the country. He is similarly on record as having described Amotekun, the South-West regional security outfit, as Christian outfit; branded the West African Examinations Council’s (WAEC) School Certificate timetable anti-Islamic because papers were fixed for Fridays and at a time for Jumat service; accused WAEC of deploying a face recognition software that automatically fails to capture female candidates with hijab; has railed against New Year’s Day and Boxing Day, wrongly describing them as Christian holidays and regularly justifies, however lopsided, appointments of Muslims into public office.
Almost on a daily basis, he issues divisive statements that suggest he is keen on seeing Muslims subjugate adherents of other faiths or spark a conflagration. The saving grace is the refusal of the country’s Muslims, including the Southwest, to accord his toxic rhetoric any importance
Nnamdi Kanu: Charismatic, Eccentric Separatist
The 53-year old leader of the separatist Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, unlike Akintola, has devoted followers and they would happily kiss the ground he walks on. Kanu knows what gets sections of his marginalised Igbo emotionally-charged. He regularly expresses his desire to see Nigeria break into pieces and claims to be building a military force capable of bringing that about if the Nigerian state won’t let the Igbo go without war. A skilled mental manipulator, Kanu is credited with the Jubril of Sudan narrative and its recent successor that the mythical Jibril has been replaced in Aso Rock by a Nigerien functioning as a dead President Buhari.
Propaganda is a major weapon in his hand, as evidenced by an audio clip that circulated during the #ENDSARS disturbances in Lagos when he sought to claim to have initiated attacks by supporters on public and private property. He mocks Yoruba and core-Northerners for fun, something that delights his followers. A large section of the Igbo, however, consider him bad news- a swindler and nutcase. He frequently has run-ins with those who disagree with him and recently branded Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike an idiot, in addition to placing a N100 million bounty on his head.
Lai Mohammed: Prolific Liar, Committed Free Speech Opponent
He once told the Senate that his grandson asked why he is called “Liar” Mohammed, a name he said he did not take seriously. Not difficult to see why he did not, as he probably believes the lies he tells, some of them vulgar.
A columnist once described him as “the most dangerous minister” in President Buhari’s cabinet for his disdain for free speech, as evidenced by his desire to push through legislation to control social media use and the hate speech regulation he sneaked into the sixth National Broadcasting Code, something akin to a landmine for the broadcast media laying mines in the new canon for broadcasting.
He holds the National Broadcasting Commission by the balls, something for which he is been widely criticised by industry stakeholders, who are concerned about his desire to gag broadcasters. It’s unsafe for the public to take its eyes off him
President Buhari: Drowsy and Dangerously Uninspiring
It’s been more than half a decade of leadership in snooze mode. The high hopes his trumpeted integrity raised has evaporated. The gains of his military training have not been on display, as the country has been racked by a resurgence of insurgency, free reign of bandits, who recently kidnapped hundreds of school children in a signature raid; attack on free speech, corruption, mismanagement of Nigeria’s diversity and, of course, the economy.
His continuous general lack of mental and intellectual figure pose the greatest danger to the country in the new year. Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, recently refused to answer an interviewer’s question on the President because, as he said, doing so would have been at the risk of his mental health.
Femi Fani-Kayode: Man with 0.00 Per cent Self-awareness
A legend in his own mind. The former aviation minister is the exact opposite of who he thinks he is. In his self-awarded role of the “voice of the people” and worshipper of the “Most High” and democrat, he holds court on Twitter, preaching hate for Muslims, the core-North, passions shared with Nnamdi Kanu; and non-People’s Democratic Party figures, especially Buhari and Bola Tinubu. He has a huge following, especially among the sentiment-driven, and until he buried his head in outgoing US President Donald Trump’s anus and refused to exit, he got away with many things. His devotion to Trump’s fraudulent claim to represent Christian values has made some of his Twitter followers walk back to scrutinise his credentials as a democrat. He experienced a marital collapse last year, was captured on video launching a withering verbal attack on a journalist, but has recovered a bit to keep spraying lashings of hate, lies and intemperate language to followers hungry for such. By default, he is an unpinned grenade and looks like a man capable of starting a fight in a room occupied by only himself. He’s a fan of Kanu and supports Nigeria’s break up.
Chris Oyakhilome: Almighty God of Men
He combines matinee-idol looks, a broadcaster’s diction with religion-induced lies, making him a smash hit among his unquestioning followers.
Last year, especially since the Covid-19 outbreak, he has shown an appetite to take on the government by his rejection of safety protocols and directives. He continues to transmit this to his followers, who have happily consumed garbage like Covid-19 is an attempt by powerful to effect a “new world order” through 5G technology, and coronavirus lockdowns were happening so that 5G structures could covertly be built”. He also said the objective of the lockdown and physical distancing was to “create the antichrist and go after the church of Jesus Christ” and not to arrest the spread of the virus.
Backed by his followers, who launched the hashtag #IStandWithPastorChris, he kept making kooky claims and has continued at the detriment to public health. His almost militant followers are likely to defy the authorities if he directs them. They once beat to stupor a journalist in his church premises.