Victory it was, for ten out of the seventeen ex-governors who sought Senatorial seats in the February 25 National Assembly elections. This piece spotlights these ex-governors along the demographics of incumbent lawmakers, former National Assembly members and newbies
The Red Chamber of the National Assembly has for a long time been perceived as a retirement home for ex-governors in Nigeria as the former state chief executives head for the Senate at the end of their constitutionally-allowed term in office.
Following this, many analysts have argued the trend, which is fast gaining traction at every electoral cycle, does not portend well for the business of effective lawmaking in the National Assembly.
In the February 25 National Assembly elections, while some of them were successful in this endeavour, so many others suffered devastating defeats in the hands of the electorate who refused to grant their stamp of approval. At the last count, only ten out of the seventeen ex-governors who sought a seat in the 10th National Assembly were successful. However, the fate of two ex-governors still hangs in the balance as their election is yet to hold (Enugu East) or have been declared inconclusive (Sokoto North).
Some political watchers say such development is a bold statement that some of these governors have not performed credibly. This piece spotlights the ten ex-governors who were successful under the demographics of incumbents, former National Assembly members and newbies altogether.
- Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North, APC)
A two-time governor of Abia State, the businessman-turned-politician is currently a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), upon which he secured victory for the Abia North Senatorial seat.
Senator Kalu had previously been a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the defunct Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), whose Board of Trustees (BOT) he chaired.
The Senate Chief Whip was first elected to the federal parliament in 2019 and has since then, sponsored twenty-five bills. With his re-election, he is primed as one of the contenders for the presidency of the 10th Senate.
- Henry Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa West, PDP)
Senator Dickson is not new to the business of lawmaking. Having served as a member of the House of Representatives, he proceeded to Creek Haven; Bayelsa State’s seat of power, where he served for two terms as governor.
A former Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, in 2020, he replaced incumbent Governor Duoye Diri in the Red Chamber upon his victory at the bye-election for the seat. He sponsored just one bill between May 2019 and May 2022.
He currently represents Bayelsa West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
- Mohammed Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central, APC)A former governor of Gombe State, Senator Goje went on to become a Minister of State for Power and has remained influential within the state’s political circle.He has been the Senator representing Gombe Central District since 2011 and won re-election on February 25.In the Red Chamber, he leads the chart of Gombe Senators with four bills, including a Bill seeking to establish a Federal Medical Centre in Deba, which has already been passed.
- Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central, PDP)
Aliero is a former governor of Kebbi State and one-time Minister of the Federal Capital Territory under President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s administration.
Many political actors in his home state see him as the prime figure in the North-Western State, where he largely influences the political direction. Political watchers add that he has achieved the feat due to his open-door approach to politics.
In the run-up to the 2023 elections, he had to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) for his former party; the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), where he picked the ticket to defeat incumbent governor, Atiku Bagudu, in the Senatorial elections.
First elected to the Red Chamber in 2007, Aliero has three bills to his credit in the last three years, including a piece of legislation seeking the establishment of a Federal University Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State.
- Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe East, APC)
A civil servant-turned-politician, Senator Geidam is the immediate past governor of Yobe State. Senator Geidam became governor in 2009 when the then Governor, Mamman Ali, died in office.
He currently chairs the Senate Committee on Secondary Education and has since been re-elected to the Senate for a second term in the February 25 National Assembly elections.
The Yobe East Senator has sponsored two bills since 2019, including a bill seeking to establish the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, which has passed first reading.
B. FORMER NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
1. Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West, APC)
A former Minority leader in the 8th Senate, Akpabio is a former governor of the oil-rich state of Akwa Ibom and former Minister for Niger Delta Affairs.
He secured a seat in the 8th Senate at the end of his tenure as governor in May 2015 on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), and his party’s Senate Caucus graciously handed him the position of Minority Leader until his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in August 2018.
The lawyer-turned-politician ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2019, and in June 2022, he withdrew from the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential primaries in favour of the eventual winner. He thereafter picked the senatorial ticket for Akwa Ibom North West under controversial circumstances but eventually emerged as the general election winner.
The Akwa Ibom Senator is said to be preparing for the Senate Presidency contest, should his party zone the office to his home South-South geo-political zone.
2. Abdul’aziz Yari Abubakar (Zamfara West, APC)
A two-time Zamfara State governor on the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) platform and former Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) from 2015 to 2019.
Senator-Elect Yari also served as a Member representing Anka/Talata Mafara Federal Constituency in the 6th House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. In 2019, he sought a move to the Senate and secured victory at the general election, but the Supreme Court nullified his party’s victory across all levels on May 24, 2019.
Known to be controversial, he also sought to become the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in early 2022 but failed. He then went on to rejig his Senatorial bid and won the February 25 general election into the Red Chamber.
The ex-Zamfara Governor is tipped as one of the lawmakers interested in presiding over the affairs of the Red Chamber ahead of its inauguration in June.
- Dave Nweze Umahi (Ebonyi South, APC)
Also deemed as controversial in some circles, the outgoing governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman of the South East Governors Forum.
A former Deputy Governor of his home state, he left the People’s Democratic Party midway into his second term as Governor for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He went on to win his election as Senator representing Ebonyi South Senatorial District, defeating the duo of Linus Okorie of the Labour Party (LP) and the incumbent Senator, Michael Nnachi of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Umahi, who ran unsuccessfully in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Primaries in June 2022, is also being speculated as a possible aspirant for the seat of Senate Presidency in the 10th National Assembly.
- Adams Aliyu Oshiomole (Edo North, APC)
One of the country’s most popular labour leaders, Oshiomhole, rose to prominence in Nigeria as President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s leadership of the country.
He went on to serve as governor of Edo State for eight years and as National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before his unceremonious exit in 2018.
Known to be unafraid of political battles, he initially declared for the seat of President in 2022 but later withdrew in support of the current President-Elect and picked up the Senatorial ticket of the APC for his home district.
A politician of no mean repute, he defeated incumbent Senator, Francis Alimehkena of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 National Assembly Elections. Analysts also view the orator as one of the lawmakers to watch out for in the yet-to-be-inaugurated Assembly, especially in the build-up to the election of presiding officers for the Red Chamber.
- Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo (Gombe North, PDP)
Immediate past governor of Gombe, he had previously served as a former Accountant-General of the Federation.He had made attempts in 2019, at the expiration of his term in office, to pick the Presidential ticket of his party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) but lost in the primaries to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
He then made moves to cross over to the Senate but was unsuccessful, losing to Saidu Alkali of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In a twist of fate, however, the former governor defeated Senator Alkali in the February 25 National Assembly elections.
- Gbenga Daniel (Ogun East, APC) A former governor of Ogun State who has been in political limbo since he left office in 2011, he announced a retirement from partisan politics sometime in 2019.Months later, he joined the fold of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and was offered the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ogun East Senatorial District, upon which he was been elected to the Red Chamber for the first time.Largely uncontroversial, this will be his first appearance in the federal parliament as a legislator of any kind.