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20 senators lose out in guber race

Twenty senators from both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) have lost out in their bid to secure…

Twenty senators from both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) have lost out in their bid to secure their parties’ governorship ticket, Daily Trust can reveal.
At least 24 senators have been nursing governorship ambitions since the beginning of this assembly and have gone far with campaigns. They include Senate leader Victor Ndoma-Egba (Cross Rivers Central), Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya (APC, Kano),
Deputy senate leader Abdul Ahmed Ningi (PDP, Bauchi), Solomon Ewuga (PDP, Nasarawa), Gyang Pwajok (PDP, Plateau), Chris Anyanwu (PDP, Imo), Helen Esuene (PDP, Akwa Ibom), Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia), Aisha Jummai Alhassan (APC, Taraba), and Nkechi Nwaogu (PDP, Abia).
Others are Bello Tukur (Adamawa Central), Ehigie Uzamere (PDP, Edo), Mohammed Jibrilla Bindo (APC, Adamawa),  Simon Ayogu Eze (PDP, Enugu North), James Manager (PDP, Delta South), Hope Uzodinma and Atiku Bagudu (PDP, Kebbi), Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba), Ganiyu Solomon (APC, Lagos), Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos), Nwankwo Chris Chukwuma (PDP, Ebonyi), Paulinus Nwagu (PDP, Ebonyi) Olugbenga O. Obadara (APC, Ogun), and Magnus Abe (APC, Rivers).
During committee meetings, or plenary sittings, other senators usually refer to the erstwhile governorship aspirants as “your Excellency.”
Even Senate President David Mark had at various times cracked jokes in the red chamber by referring to some of them as governors in the waiting.
Most of the senators were banking on their friendship and closeness to their state governors for them to be endorsed as their successors.
The lucky ones
But findings by Daily Trust have indicated that 20 out of the 24 – most of them PDP members – have lost out to their state governors who have anointed other aspirants.
Senators still in contention for the governorship tickets in their states are Solomon Ewuga, from APC-controlled Nasarawa; Gyang Pwajok, who has been endorsed by Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang; Aisha Jummai Alhassan, who is leading the opposition APC in Taraba State and Mohammed Jibrilla Bindo, who had won the primary election in APC for the botched October 11 election in Adamawa State. Ehigie Uzamere comes from Edo State where governorship election is not due in 2015.
The unlucky ones
In Abia State, both Senators Abaribe and Nkechi Nwaogu  have lost out in the governorship race after the state governor, Theodore Orji, has endorsed a different aspirant, while Tukur dropped his ambition after Adamawa PDP leaders have endorsed former EFCC chairman Malam Nuhu Ribadu.
Senator Esuene has also found out that she is not the preferred candidate of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio.
In Bauchi, Abdul Ningi has also been ousted following the endorsement of other aspirants by Governor Isa Yuguda and PDP national chairman Adamu Mu’azu; same fate befell Senator Babayo Garba Gamawa from the northern zone who has also nursed the ambition for the plum job in 2015.
For Ndoma-Egba, who cried foul over the PDP ward congresses for Cross Rivers, not only has he lost out in the governorship race but is struggling to retain his senate seat after Governor Liyel Imoke has endorsed Rep. John Enoh for the Cross River central senatorial district.
Ayogu Eze has also been axed out of the Enugu governorship race with the endorsement of Rep. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi by Governor Sullivan Chime.
James Manager has also lost his bid to get the Delta governorship ticket, just as Senators Hope Uzodinma and Chris Anyanwu from Imo state have also lost out.
Kabiru Gaya has quietly picked APC nomination form seeking re-election to return to the upper chamber after he lost out in the Kano governorship contest.
In Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu has been axed by Governor Saidu Dakingari and may soon defect to the APC, according to reports. In Taraba, Bwacha dropped his ambition for former Minister of State for Niger Delta Darius Ishaku.
In Lagos, Solomon and Ashafa, who warmed up to succeed Governor Babatunde Fashola in 2015, are now angling to return to the Senate after losing out.
Chukwuma and Nwagu are also out of the Ebonyi State governorship race. From Ogun State, Senator Olugbenga O. Obadara is also out of the race, while Magnus Abe has lost out to Rep. Dakudu Peterside who is backed by Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
‘Bleak record’
From 1999 to date, only two former senators have succeeded in becoming governors of their states, i.e. Ali Modu Sheriff from Borno state who became governor in 2003 and late Senator Mamman Ali, who left the Senate in 2007 and became Yobe State governor.
After losing out in the governorship race, the senators are now struggling to get back the Senate ticket which is also proving equally difficult for them, our correspondent reports.
Recently, the lawmakers have demanded for two automatic senate tickets per state by the ruling PDP, even as their governors have vowed to replace them with their loyalists in the upper chamber.
For two consecutive days, PDP senators refused to sit in plenary, in protest, after President Goodluck Jonathan had allegedly failed to guarantee them the automatic return ticket he purportedly promised them early in the year.
Jonathan told us to return to Senate – Abaribe
When contacted, Senate spokesman Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia) confirmed to Daily Trust that he has dropped out of the Abia State governorship race on the prodding of President Goodluck Jonathan who asked them to return to the National Assembly.
“Yes, I am out of the race, now I am running for the Senate again,” Abaribe said.
According to him, “when we had [a] meeting with the president, he told us that he wanted us back in the Senate so as to strengthen the legislature. He said we should allow governors to handle the states.”

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