The year 2014 is certainly going to be a thrill. Watch out for Dr Jonathan and the World Cup in Brazil.

There are very many Nigerians who couldn’t wait for 2013 to end.

The country’s heads of security agencies, especially the army, whose troops got more than anyone expected from Boko Haram in Maiduguri, in Damaturu and repeatedly in Bama would certainly wish for a breath of fresh air the new year, 2014, could possibly bring. We certainly need new capabilities in dealing with these challenges, as well as support from neighboring countries.

The ruling party surely counts among those that lost on all counts in the previous year. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP believes in two things: the authority of the high command and consensus. The party has never elected its national chairman. Instead, the Chairman was always nominated by the President. As a result, no chairman can formulate an initiative or make a decision on just anything.These two, coupled with widespread despair generated by insecurity, the lack of jobs and the use of muscle in the form of the police and the anti-corruption agencies against political opponents have come to be seen as the harbinger of change.

This change has begun to unfold within the party itself. Five governors have so far left; tens of parliamentarians have left, shifting majority control to the cluster of minority parties. The political grapevine is abuzz with stories of who is leaving next. Governor Amaechi of Rivers who is among those who bolted from the PDP says March 2014 is the deadline for those in the rebel camp who are still left in the PDP to jump ship. These defections are indicative of a few strong hints. First is that there is a national mood against the ruling party, the PDP, which is likely to do badly in the 2015 general election and two,the party’s automatic ticket for a Dr Goodluck Jonathan candidature may be the final straw to break the proverbial camels back.

The grapevine is equally abuzz with what Dr. Jonathan will himself do or will not do. There are indications that he might at last dispense with party chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, in the hope that some of the governors poised to leave might be restrained from doing so.

The President is also said to be considering a major reshuffle of his cabinet to remove ministers hitherto considered as untouchable. We live in an age of globalization and the whole world is asking questions about his continued retention in his cabinet of ethically squalid ministers tainted by corruption and wrongdoings. Insider gossip also suggests that he is going to purge the inner rings of power.

One thing Dr. Jonathan misses, and something in common with his predecessors in office, is people who will tell him that things are going wrongly for his government. As a consequence, our presidents, not just Dr. Jonathan don’t get an early chance to make amends. Consider the ongoing “internal” crises in the PDP, “an in-house” quarrel that has festered unnecessarily and is in danger of consuming the party, hopefully not our democracy.

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Our leaders are never lucky with men (and women) who surround them. They are praised to high heavens as messiahs who can do no wrong, and conspiracy theories are supplied to explain away their failings. Leaders always find comfort in listening to their court jesters and unprincipled followers who convince them that all is well, the people are happy and prospering in their riches under their rule.

Eventually,they come to realize that there are problems when it is too late do anything to remedy them.

The year 2013, which many see as a year of self-destruction by the Nigerian government, was neither limited to the ruling party nor the Presidency. There are visible effects of these in the lukewarm war against corruption, in agriculture and the mining industry as well as affecting our standing as a country in the eyes of the world. We won a United Nations Security Council seat for a record third time but it was, nonetheless, a disastrous year in international relations. We got beaten in our positions consistently in the African Union and even the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. Nigeria’s delusion of grandeur on the continent had a price in the leadership of our country being completely blocked from the important events of Nelson Mandela’s burial.

It was not all darkness however as there were rays of light in some other areas. Some of the government’s policies in areas such agriculture and as they relate to market and investments are clearly in the right direction and continue to elicit global acclaim. There is a new auto-policy that seeks to promote vehicle manufacturing as opposed to wholesale importation. And in sports, the country continues to surprise and surpass itself in about every contest it goes into.

There is a lot however that needs to be done if 2014 is to be different in a positive way. This is a year that has the potential of being a thrill to majority of our people, if not everyone.

I see that from the changes announced in the army at the close of the year, the President has given an indication of a willingness to listen to other communities besides his own. The appointment of northerners to head the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA and the Nigerian Army Deport in Zaria may have been done to ease continuing criticism of admission and recruitment policies skewed against the northerners and Muslims in the country in particular. As a unifier and an institution that symbolizes the unity of the entire peoples of Nigeria, the army has never failed the country. The army stood tall amidst all the murk that surrounds us but the recent patterns of admissions, recruitments, appointments and dismissals have caused doubts about the institution in that regard. It remains to be seen whether these last-minute changes can eliminate the cracks that have began to manifest on the wall.

In 2014, this country is going to have a new architecture governing elections. Nigeria deserves a law that should make it impossible for incumbents, in states and the centre, to steal elections using the so-called independent electoral commissions, the army and the police. With existing composition and posture of the National Assembly, this will not be an impossible task to achieve. Have it in mind that the new year portends interesting times for the parliament itself. Will it take a seer to project a change in its leadership? Will they chance the President with impeachment?

Expect a lot of buzz around Dr. Jonathan’s “National Conference,” the fact of its increasing unpopularity notwithstanding. This conference, if it holds, will a value in the sense of unmasking the faces that don’t want Nigeria to unite; the faces of those who don’t want Nigeria to be independent and to grow, and the faces of those who don’t want Nigeria to be self-sufficient and take her rightful place in the comity of nations.

In the new year, an important health priority that is crying for eradication is polio. The whole world has succeeded in ridding itself of the scourge, leaving only Nigeria and Pakistan still in the lurch. Both countries have the new year as deadline for ending its spread in their borders; both are wracked by violence but in the case of Nigeria, you are dealing with a health system that doesn’t reach where it is most needed.

The year 2014 is certainly going to be a thrill. Watch out for Dr Jonathan and the World Cup in Brazil.