Yesterday, 2018 held sway. But as of now, the defunct 2018 has left the pitch of existence for 2019 on a high. Many personalities have made its coming and leaving worthy of remembering. These people, by the virtue of weeks of assessing their exploits in the outgone year by a league of incorruptible judges, have been distinguished as worthy.

Aside the awardees, the panelists also deemed it to give out some takeaways to some honorary mentions.

So, where do we start from?

For months now, they’ve both been in the news. While one hoists his broom to say “let’s take Nigeria to the next level”, the other shields himself with his umbrella (mind not that we are in dry season) saying, let’s “get Nigeria working again”.

There hassles have been noticed by the panel of Judges. And in acknowledgement of the winning chances both have above their presidential faithful peers, Buhari and Atiku have won themselves additions to their libraries (if they have one). In order to fleshen Mr Atiku’s “getting Nigeria working again” agenda, his is a copy of Daron Acemoglu’s and James A. Robinson’s Why Nations Fail. For his next level agenda, Mr Buhari gets Lee Kuan Yew’s From Third World to First: The Singapore Story.

Shall the two septuagenarians match forward for their gifts?

For his grandiloquence all year long, his constant Balotellian stunts, his historic Mourinhoic antics, and his occasional theatrics in and out of the hallow chamber, Senator Dino Melaye – representative of Kogi South Senatorial District – has won himself two basketful of freshly harvested okra from Obasanjo Farm.

One of this, the Judges say, would keep his mouth lubricated to talk and sing more. The other to aid the gliding of his muscles and joints to ease future attempts to jump out of police vans, disregard arrest warrants and not to forget, flaunt his vigorous dance steps.

Honourable Senator Dino, it’s yours in the taking: two basketful of okra — fresh from Obasanjo Farm!

From his “off the record” comment on the outrageous amount spent by the Federal Government in feeding the Islamic Movement of Nigeria incarcerated leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, to his “we have fulfilled all our election promises”, to his rebuffed “no ransom was paid for the release of the Dapchi girls” statement, the honourable Minister of Information has had his name reworded by some nosey Nigerians to Lie Muhammad. The Judges think rewording his name is an aberration to his regal office; rather, Nigerians should be rewarding his rare patriotism.

Hence, the Judges maintain that he be called Alhaji Lai Muhammad. And because “lie” isn’t a good appellation behind the title “Alhaji”, he is hereby gifted copies of the Holy Qur’an, Sahih Bukharee and Sahih Muslim – from which he might learn to be more prodigal with truth – strap by a 99-count comboloio to seek forgiveness if need be.

Alhaji Lai, it’s time to turn to the Lord. Accept this token with large heart.

And now to the awardees.
Senator Bukola Saraki, this outgone year, showed ingenuity with his brand of politicking. Coming off from the circumstances that earned him the Senate presidency, the Kwara-born lawmaker beat even the best bookmakers to their wits. Lovers of creativity were still savouring this when he again deflects to the APC in grand style. If he had stopped there little could have been made of it; but the way he has held the seat of the Senate Presidency as a member of a minority party by wading off every impeachment move is classic. With these to Bukola’s name, he easily could have coasted home with the much coveted Conman of the Year award. But no! Bola Tinubu show that the award fits his palms better.

The Jagaban of Lagos state, the one who has been taunted by many to be paid Lagos money (Sanwo Eko), breathed life into the decaying carcass of Lamidi Adedibu of Oyo state. The former, when he lived, even though with little education, had governorship faithfuls groping at his feet. It is simple: you either join force with Adedibu or you are phased out of the governorship race. Same it is for Tinubu.

The manner with which Ambode’s second term bid was blown off by the Tinubu-led forces is absolutely exceptional. Clean. Perfectly executed. Such would have Nollywood playwrights licking their fingers because in it they have a blockbuster epic in the offing. He is why the name Sanwo-Olu is gradually replacing the name Ambode even before the election billed for March. Tinubu.

With a resounding round of applause, welcome Bola Tinubu as he steps forward for his award: Conman of the Year.

At first, it sounded like an English class where personification is taught. In the end it play out to be what it is said to be: a mysterious snake is said to have swallowed N36 million, no thanks to a sales clerk of JAMB office in Makurdi, Philomina Chieshe. Wonders didn’t seize there as a senator, Sheu Sani (Kaduna) announced that the then Chairman of Northern Senators Forum Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa) was removed because of a missing N70 million belonging to the Forum which is believed to have been carted away by monkeys which raided the farm house of the some executives of the Forum. If only animals could talk!

These money eating animals are, certainly, worthy winners of the Oddity of the Year but Peter Fayose won’t let that be. His “I’m in pain” thespian is simply unbeatable. What cemented his hands on this top prize is the popularity of his outcry. Only a few days back, the Chief Judge of this gala saw an injured young football player in the city of Fadeyi in Lagos mimic the “more than popular” politician. It truly shows that time and relevance are patient with his legacy.

So, who else deserves the Oddity of the Year if not Peter the Rock, Ayodele Fayose.

With 353 votes to his favour, PDP governorship candidate at Osun state election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, thinks he would dance his way to the state house to be installed the number one Osunman.

In a twist of event, the election is declared inconclusive, because as provided by the Electoral Act, when cancelled votes are more than the win margin, the election is said to be inconclusive. Nigerians are still shocked by what went down in Osun when, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole speaks to the mic.

He says: “I think that for democracy to flourish, only people who can accept the pain of rigging, sorry, defeat should participate in an election”.

Of the speeches made in 2018, this certainly have every ingredient of a winning speech: talk of the oratorical charge in it, its sweet rhetoric, its brevity, the confidence with which it is mouthed and more importantly, the Freudian slip used by the Edo politician to convey his message.

Although, the “transmission… transmission” speech of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has a big shot at this award but it lacks the aforementioned qualities and it simply isn’t that convincing. Deservedly, our former labour leader has to his name the award of Speech of the Year.

With a standing ovation, give it up for Adams Oshiomhole, winner of the Speech of the Year award.

Shall we have all winners and honorary mentions have a group photograph?

Congratulations to all winners and non-winners. Everyone is a winner. Break more new grounds in 2019!

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