10. Lai Mohammed:
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is not just one of the most loquacious mouthpieces of the Presidency, but a conflict-ridden aristocrat, who is saddled with the responsibility of publicising the progress or lack of the current administration to people, and yet never bereft of monumental controversy.
In May, Mr Mohammed got Nigerians – especially the unemployed – amused and further appalled when he announced a job proposal for the youths, saying they could make a life career out of costuming masquerades.
His job recommendation met a brick wall as Nigerians chided the minister for unveiling a hilarious version of job creation through tourism in what they termed ‘a witless jocularity’.
Two months earlier, Mr Mohammed was also on the news after a statement was credited to him admitting that the country’s economic situation was beyond President Muhammadu Buhari’s control.
Although the comment was described as a ‘’complete misrepresentation of what he actually said”, a playback of the recorded interview showed that Mr Mohammed actually said the situation was beyond the government’s control, considering the various forces at play.
He also got tongues wagging in May, after he said “the Federal Government increased the price of fuel to raise money to run the system, since the country is currently broke.”
In September, in the wake of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign launched by the President, the Minister had threatened to sue the Daily Independent newspaper, Omo Bazuaye and Akin Fadeyi for claiming that he (Mohammed) stole the idea of the campaign from them.
Senator Dino Melaye, the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, is known by many to be one ‘unmanageable’ fellow in the Senate, who has an ostentatious avidity for fast cars and an exotic ego to complement a personality that is overly untamed.
In July, Melaye had reacted furiously to claims by Sahara Reporters, that he had threatened to beat up and impregnate Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos Central), during a closed-door meeting of the Red Chamber.
Days later, the truth was laid nude, as Mr Melaye admitted to using abusive and threatening words at Mrs Tinubu, further saying that he was willing to show profound contrition if he had wronged any individual in the matter.
Not satisfied, after issuing a ‘false’ apology, Mr Melaye took the war of words to the forefront of Mrs Tinubu’s state residential.
Giving a thuggish sound-off after he arrived in Lagos, the Kogi lawmaker bragged that he was in town, daring those who had warned him to stay away from the city to do their worst.
While he was in town, he took a series of photographs with jeering captions as he walked through Bourdillion Road in the upscale Ikoyi area of Lagos, home to former Lagos Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
His presence in Lagos courted the wrath of several women who took to the streets with placards in a campaign #SayNoToDinoMelaye to oust him out of the state.
8. TB Joshua:
Prophet T.B Joshua, who is the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations, is one of the most infamous clergymen in Nigeria, who has thrived in the myriad of criticisms even when others struggled.
Prominent for his predicting verve, Prophet Joshua was slammed by President Peter Mutharika of Malawi in March, following a televised prophecy the former gave about the latter.
The barrage of affronts hurled by Mutharika, who was politically in a bad mood, came on the heels of an alleged prophecy made by the SCOAN pastor that he (Mutharika) would die before April 1.
Several months later, Joshua took his gamble too far when he predicted that Hillary Clinton will win the recent U.S. Presidential election.
On a Sunday of November 6, Joshua had claimed that he saw the new leader of the free world “ten days ago”, and that the person was a “woman.”
As soon as Republican Candidate, Donald Trump (a man), was announced as the winner of the presidential election, Nigerians took to social media platforms in droves, hurling offensive words at him.
In an attempt to quell the conflagration, Joshua blamed Clinton’s defeat on the intercessory prayers made by thousands of people, adding that God heard them and then favoured Trump.
7. Bukola Saraki:
Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki was listed on the popularity scene this year apparently because “he is the first Senate President faced with three different charges of corruption – 16-count charge of alleged false asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal; alleged forgery of Senate rules in 2015 and the damning involvement in the list of people that subscribed to the services of the Panamanian firm, Mossack Fonseca to create off shore companies to hide properties from the regulators in their countries – and he is still not impeached?”
A heated verbal war ensued between him and President Muhammadu Buhari, with the Senate President saying that the trial pressed against him and other alleged conspirators represented “another phase in the relentless persecution of the leadership of the Senate.”
However, the presidency, who appeared not in the mood to condone any allegation, faulted Saraki over his claim that “a cabal has hijacked the government.”
6. Nasir el-Rufai:
The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai was all over the news and the subject of public outcry in February after he conveyed a bill seeking to regulate religious preaching across the state, to the state House of Assembly – a bill that seeks 2-year jail term for unlicensed religious preachers in Kaduna.
In spite of the outrage that trailed El-Rufai’s controversial religious bill, his spokesman maintained that the governor will not backtrack on his programmes for the state.
While several citizens frowned at the Bill, a popular televangelist, Dr Chris Okafor gave the governor a 14-day ultimatum (since March 20) to withdraw his impending Religious Bill before the state House of Assembly or face the wrath of God.
This is after Apostle Johnson Suleiman of Omega Fire Ministries (OFM) had fired a warning to the governor that he would die if he does not withdraw the bill. – a threat El-Rufai replied: “If that apostle is truly an apostle, he should mention the day I will die.”
In April, El-Rufai raised the alarm that a new deadly Islamic group, Gausiyya, is springing up in Markafi Local Government Area of the state, even as he ordered the arrest of the spokesman of Shiite group, better known as the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), which was labelled an unlawful society.
This is coming at a time when the elder brother of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the arrested and embattled leader of the Islamic Shiite movement, had requested that the government of Nigeria investigate thoroughly into activities of the sect.
A month ago, El-Rufai, while dragging former Vice President Atiku Abubakar into the scandal that consumed American congressman, William Jefferson, who bagged a jail term in the United States of America, dared him to step his foot on the soil of the American country.
To be continued…