If you’re reading this, you’re already too late. All the cool people got it a day early because they’re already subscribed to our newsletter – Game of Votes.
We know you don’t like being a professional LASTMA, so here’s a chance to read all that happened in Nigerian politics in a way that won’t bore you to death, before everybody else. Subscribe to the Game of Votes newsletter, to get just that, here.
Now back to the news.
1. A Beef History of Okorocha and Ihedioha.
Politics in Imo State is starting to look a lot like my face when I woke up to work on this post: a hot mess.
At the centre of this mess arethe former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and the incumbent, Emeka Ihedioha.
Okay, what happened here?
It all started in 2018 when, perhaps dizzy from all the foreign nationals erected in Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha forgot he was in Nigeria — a democracy — and decided to impose a monarchy. In the elections held in the year of our Lord 2019, Okorocha tried to have his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu instated as governor of Imo State.
As we know, that didn’t pan out and gubernatorial victory eventually went to the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha. Okorocha didn’t like that.
A ton of ugliness ensued: Okorocha alleged that Ihedioha wasn’t the real winner of the elections, and Ihedioha (allegedly) hit the man where it really hurt — his statues — just one day after resuming office. Have to love the priorities.
Now, while Ihedioha denied being behind the demolition of the Akachi statue, he didn’t miss the opportunity to point fingers at the unpaid workers responsible for erecting the statue, perhaps their anger at Okorocha led them to do it. Petty what?
Arrows have since flown, with the Ihedioha administration alleging that the past administration left no hand over note and therefore no instructions as to continuity. Ihedioha also threw shade at the ₦43.5 billion government house built by the Rochas administration, claiming it was “a decayed place”. According to Okorocha, the current governor claimed he governed from a bush bar in the government house and therefore has to operate his government from outside the house. Ihedioha even converted the Eastern Palm University owned by Okorocha, into an annex of the state university – IMSU. This guy?
More serious allegations of financial impropriety have been made, however, with the Ihedioha administration recently accusing Okorocha’s of leaving the state in ₦32 billion debt, as well as the former governor operating over 250 bank accounts while in office. Okorocha denies both claims.
Senator Rochas claims the Ihedioha administration spends over ₦2.8 billion on sanitation, and that the governor used his first three months in office to construct multiple homes and a hotel in Owerri and his hometown. Claims which were denied by the current governor and one-upped by the accusation that the Okorocha administration stole the sum of ₦1 trillion from the state treasury while in office.
On August 19th, the Ihedioha administration began a probe into the contracts awarded by past governors Udenwa(1999-2007), Ohakim (2007-2011) and Okorocha (2011-2019). What plays out should be interesting.
2. Uh-Oh, Dino Could Be A Senator No-Mo.
On August 23rd, an election tribunal sitting in Kogi State, declared the election of Dino Melaye, the declared winner of the 2019 Kogi West senatorial election, nullified. Mr Melaye’s victory was contested by his rival – APC’s Smart Adeyemi. The tribunal has ordered that fresh senatorial elections be carried out.
Melaye served as the Representative of the Kabba/Idimu Constituency for two terms, before being elected as a senator in 2015. This is his second term as senator.
So how is he taking it?
If you think he’s mulling about, then clearly you haven’t seen this Instagram post and caption from three days ago.
He plans on appealing the tribunal’s decision and has this to say about his post in the National Assembly: “for my senate mandate, no shaking”. Ugh, his way with words ❤️.
It’s important to mention here that Melaye plans to contest the Kogi State gubernatorial elections holding on November 16th, if he wins the PDP primaries. He is also being prosecuted by the police for allegedly aiding violence in Kogi State and attempting to commit suicide. Just throwing that in.
3. Nigeria To The US: Someone Cannot Play With You?
In a little play I like to call: ‘When America Goes Low, Try To Go Lower, But Remember the Exchange Rate (working title), Nigeria has reduced visa fees for Americans applying to Nigeria, just one day after the US announced it would be increasing visa fees for Nigerians applying to the US. This proposed increase was essentially to punish Nigerians for making her citizens pay higher visa application fees, while Nigerians paid less when applying to America.
If this isn’t the meekest response to “keep that same energy” you’ve ever seen, then I don’t know what is. Someone, please ask this guy to give Nigerians a masterclass on Big D Energy.
Let’s Back It Up
Back in 2017, the US began imposing stricter non-immigrant visa reciprocity terms as part of a ridiculous “Muslim ban” led by the administration of big man, little hands – Donald Trump.
These ‘reciprocity terms’ are a bit of ‘gbas-gbos’ if you will.
It requires the equal treatment of American citizens and a foreign country’s nationals when it comes to non-immigrant visa applications, especially regarding validity periods and application fees. They also spell out consequences where the reciprocity doesn’t bang, consequences like the payment of a reciprocity fee, in addition to the visa application fees.
Now would you guess what country, until recently, thought it’d be a good idea to have higher visa fees than those charged by the US to her citizens? This same country had over 220,000 citizens spend ₦9.7 billion on non-immigrant American visas in 2017 alone? Just guess.
For the past 18 months, the US has been trying, to get Nigeria to adjust the visa fees imposed on Americans and finally had enough on August 27th, 2019. The country announced it would be imposing a non-refundable reciprocity fee, which Nigerians would pay in addition to visa application fees, but ONLY where the visa application was actually granted. The fees were to differ according to the type of visa applied for, but say you applied for a student, tourist or business visa, a non-refundable reciprocity fee of $110 (₦40,700) would have been paid in addition to the equally non-refundable ₦59,200 visa application fees, bringing the sum total to ₦99,900. The reciprocity fees were to ‘eliminate’ that cost difference between both country’s visa application processes and were to take effect from August 29th.
Now That You’re Up To Speed, Here’s What Happened Next.
Perhaps Nigeria was protesting the outrageous Muslim ban or the indignities Nigerians have to suffer for American visas by imposing higher fees, I don’t know; but whatever it was, the government decided going low is no way to work things out, the country is almost 60, back pain is real.
So on August 28th, the Nigerian Federal Government said: Lol, ᴡʜᴀᴛ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴛᴜʀɴɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ᴄʜᴇᴇᴋ? and reduced the visa fees Americans had previously been subjected to.
Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria’s (clueless) Minister of Interior blamed the tardiness on implementing lesser fees despite 18 months of discussions, on “delays due to transition processes in the Ministry at policy level.” Uhun, sure.
Now that the burden of reciprocity fees are out of the way, Nigerians can focus their energies on tackling the real demon, actually getting an American visa to begin with.
4.Buhari Takes Japan.
Even though social media was filled with tales of our favourite travel vlogger — President Buhari, going to Japan to visit Prime Minister — Shinzo Abo who was away at the G-7 meeting, he was really there to attend the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development alongside African leaders like the president of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon and South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. We’ll just pretend we didn’t notice Nigeria didn’t get an invite to the G-7 for our peace of mind, okay?
Also, the presidency wants you to know, there’s also no truth to the rumour that members of IPOB harassed the presidency. So there.
Did You Miss This?
1. This man allegedly stole from Nigeria in 1998, got caught and was allowed to keep a portion of his loot. He now heads the ministry with the third-highest budgetary spending for 2019. The big reveal here.
2. Anyone know where I can purchase just 1mg of the confidence of Nigerian Men? Here’s Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria’s former Minister of Communications who was caught with a fake NYSC certificate, admitting shock over not being re-appointed.
3. Even though countries like the US eradicated polio way back in 1979, our president is still using Nigeria’s polio eradication as a talking point for the country’s ‘improved healthcare’. Off that mic!
1.Okay, maybe this is a little newsy. Wondering what the fuss about the parliamentary suspension in the UK is about? This could help.
2. A man walks off a boat, walks into a restaurant, orders the albatross soup, takes one bite and kills himself. Why did the man kill himself? If you can figure this riddle out, hats off to you becauseee.
3. The Many Lies of Carl Beech. Have you heard about this creep? Check this out.