Elections: Governors who lost Senatorial bid
No fewer than five governors has failed their attempts to win senatorial bid after their two-term tenure of eight years each.
The outgoing governors lost the February 25 National Assembly elections in their respective senatorial districts.
Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 after years of military rule, the National Assembly which includes the Senate and the House of Representatives has been described as a ‘retirement home’ for former governors who ride on the power of incumbency to win elections into the red and green legislative chambers.
About 20 former governors were elected into the Ninth National Assembly in 2019. Former governors presently in the National Assembly include Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Orji Kalu (Abia), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), and Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), amongst others.
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Notably, all of them are in the race to return to the red chamber.
Already, Governors David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) won Saturday’s parliamentary election. The results of others like Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) are yet to be announced by the electoral body. Ex-governors who won senatorial seats so far include Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom).
Here is a list of outgoing governors who lost their quest to move to the National Assembly after their tenure on May 29, 2023:
A vocal figure of five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) known as the G5, Samuel Ortom of Benue State lost his election bid for Benue North West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
He to his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart in the district, Titus Zam.
The APC candidate polled 143,151 while the PDP scored 106,882 and the Labour Party 51,950.
Interestingly, Zam was an appointee of Ortom in his first tenure from 2015 to 2019, where he served as the Special Adviser to the governor on local government and chieftaincy affairs before he resigned from the Ortom administration on loyalty grounds.
Another member of the G5, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State lost his bid to represent Enugu North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
Ugwuanyi was defeated by Okechukwu Ezea of the Labour Party in the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday.
While Ezea scored 104,948 votes to emerge the winner, Ugwuanyi came second with 46,948 votes.
Ugwuanyi has been governor of the South-East state since 2015 and his eight-year constitutional limit will end in May. He was a member of the House of Representatives before being elected governor in 2015.
Another outgoing two-term PDP governor who lost his senatorial ambition is Darius Ishaku of Taraba State. He lost his bid to represent Taraba South Senatorial District in the forthcoming 10th National Assembly.
The governor lost to his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart in the district, David Jimkuta, who polled 85,415 to defeat Ishaku who raked in 45,708 votes.
The defeat is beyond party lines as two APC governors also lost their senatorial bid. One of them is Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong who is also the Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).
The political heavyweight and former chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum lost the bid to clinch the Plateau South Senatorial District slot.
He lost to Bali Ninkap Napoleon of the PDP who scored 148,844 votes while the governor polled 91,674.
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River also suffered a fatal defeat in his bid to return to the Senate after completing his eight-year tenure as governor.
Ayade, who was in the Senate from 2011 to 2015, had hoped to return to the role as Senator representing cross River North but he was defeated by the incumbent, Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe.
PDP’s Agom-Jarigbe got 76,145 votes while Ayade polled 56,595.
Though results are still trickling in for the presidential and National Assembly, surprises abound as newcomers are poised to unseat some ‘NASS landlords’ who have been in the red and green chambers consistently for the past 24 years.