As winners of the February 25 National Assembly Elections celebrate their triumph at the polls, OrderPaper Nigeria spotlights ten outgoing state governors who ran for seats in the National Assembly including those who fell short of favour in the sight of the electorate
Three out of the five governors in the South East geo-political zone would have served out their eight-year term by May 29, 2023. The other two state executives are first-term governors and have their elections conducted as off-cycle polls. As it has become tradition, the three of them sought the mandate of their home constituents to represent them at the federal parliament.
In the end, only one of these governors secured victory at the polls.
Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia South)
A member of the group of five rebellious governors (G-5) in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Ikpeazu lost his Senatorial bid to the incumbent Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Although Senator Abaribe is largely very popular in his home state, political analysts would argue that the governor’s loss was his undoing; especially as he and his G5 colleagues led by the Governor Nyesom Wike worked relentlessly against their party’s presidential candidate. This was in spite of the fact that they were running for National Assembly seats on the same platform.
Interestingly, Governor Ikpeazu placed third in the contest behind Chinedu Onyeizu of the Labour Party (LP) and Abaribe, who is a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and former Senate Minority Leader.
Ifeanyi Uguwanyi (Enugu North)
Governor of the Coal City State, Uguwanyi had his own share of electoral misfortunes on Saturday at the legislative polls.
A Member of the 5th, 6th and 7th House of Representatives, the outgoing state chief executive lost his Senatorial bid to the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Okey Ezea.
Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South)
An engineer by profession, the Ebonyi Governor is seen as one of the leading lights in the South East geo-political zone given his performance especially in the area of infrastructure as state chief executive in the last eight years.
On February 25, he had to fight another epic electoral battle in his political career after he emerged as governorship candidate of his former party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 against the wishes of then governor, Martin Elechi. Having spent eight years ad Deputy Governor, he went on to win two terms on the platform of the PDP before he defected to the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2020.
Governor Umahi won his Senatorial bid defeating the candidate of the Labour Party.
The South South geo-political zone has six governors. While two of the governors were elected during off-cycle elections in 2020, only one of the four outgoing governors ran for a Senatorial seat.
Ben Ayade (Cross River North)
Governor Ben Ayade, a former member of the 7th Senate was elected governor in 2015 and is serving out his second term.
Ahead of the expiration of his tenure in office, the Senator was seeking a return to the Red Chamber but lost to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on whose platform he was elected for the two terms.
Other than the South East, the North Central geo-political zone had the highest number of governors running for National Assembly seats. While two of its six state executives are first term governors, three of the four second term governors were on the balot.
Interestingly, only one of the governors suceeded at the polls.
Samuel Ortom (Benue North West)
Highly vocal and a firce critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Governor Samuel Ortom suffered one of the most resounding defeats in his political career on February 25.
A former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, the state chief executive lost the Benue North West Senatorial election to his former aide on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs (2015 -2019), Titus Zam of the All Progressives Congress. Ortom shockingly placed third in the contest, just behind the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau South)
A two-time Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Simon Lalong went on to become governor of the Home of Peace and Tourism.
Having spent the constitutionally-permitted eight-year term in office, the state chief executive sought to extend his legislative experience to the federal parliament but was unsuccessful. The Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council lost his Senatorial bid to Bali Ninkap Napoleon of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)..
Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger North)
A scion of the illustrious Colonel Sani Bello, a former Military Administrator of Kano State; the state chief executive was successful in his quest to become a member of the Red Chamber.
‘Abu Lolo’ as he is fondly called by his admirers, defeated the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
The North East is only one of the two geo-political zones where an outgoing governor sought a seat in the National Assembly. He however, was unsuccessful in his bid.
Darius Dickson Ishaku (Taraba South)
A former Minister of State in the Federal Executive Council, he went on to become a two-term governor of his home state.
Having presided over the Nature’s Gift to the Nation, Architect Ishaku sought to make a switch to the Red Chamber by June 2023. His ambition was however cut short by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his candidate, David Jimkuta.
The only zone in the country with seven states, the North West has six second term governors and a first term governor. Interestingly, only two of the outgoing governors sought seats in the federal parliament, having been members of the National Assembly in their former life. Things are still sketchy however on their status after the February 25 elections.
Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi Central)
Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), the outgoing Kebbi governor is no stranger to the Red Chamber at all. Having served as a Senator in the National Assembly in the past, the soft-spoken state chief executive sought a return to the federal parliament.
He however suffered a devastating setback in the hands of Senator Adamu Aliero, of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Aliero, a grassroots politician of no mean repute is also a former governor of the North Western State.
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto South)
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor Tambuwal is seeking a return to the National Assembly shortly after his tenure as state chief executive.
Having escaped defeat in the buildup to his second term in office by whiskers, his fate in the February 25 legislative polls still hangs in the balance, as the elections management body have declared the election in his Senatorial District inconclusive.
Running against the incumbent, Senator Abdullahi Danbaba; it remains to be seen if the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) will suffer his first electoral defeat in decades.
It is noteworthy that the South West is the only geo-political zone which had none of its governor seek a National Assembly seat. While five of the governors are first term governors, the only second term governor is barely done with his second term in office.