Many senators, whose governors are completing their second terms in May 2023, have commenced moves to take over in their respective states.
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, it has been a common practice among Nigerian politicians to switch from the legislature to the executive, and vice versa.
Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed (Bauchi), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto) are former federal lawmakers currently serving as governors.
Governors who moved to the parliament as senators are Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North), Theodore Orji (Abia Central), Gabriel Suswan (Benue North-East), Kashim Shettima (Borno Central), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi North) and Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East).
Others are Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Rochas Okorocha (Imo North), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano Central), Ibrahim Gaya (Kano South), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi South), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa North), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe East) and Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa Central).
There are many senators in the Ninth Senate eyeing the number one political seats in their respective states in 2022 off-circle and 2023 general elections.
While some have publicly declared their intention to run for the governorship race, others are re-engineering their political machinery to actualise their dreams.
Barau I. Jibrin (Kano)
Jibrin, regarded as a grassroots politician in his home state of Kano, is a two-term senator and chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. He was in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003.
After Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Jibrin is seen as the face of the G-7, a factional All Progressives Congress (APC) group in Kano State. The group’s feud with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje over the party’s congresses in the state had created a crack in Kano.
The lawmaker, who is among the top-shots eyeing the exalted seat in the Kano State Government House come 2023, had his governorship campaign office situated around Maiduguri Road in Kano but burnt by hoodlums after a court ruled in favour of his group on the ward congresses logjam.
Despite having a campaign office, Jibrin, who has attracted many projects to Kano State to the admiration of the people of the state, is yet to formally declare for the governorship race.
Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto)
Gobir, a third-term lawmaker, was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) until 2014 when he decamped to the APC.
Although Gobir is yet to disclose his governorship interest, he is reportedly among the major politicians in Sokoto State eyeing to take over from Governor Tambuwal.
He had spoken publicly about zoning political positions at all levels to address sectional democracy.
“I believe we have to locate other areas at the national level, not to talk of states or local governments. We are fighting for the same Nigeria and the same goal; therefore, we cannot give more priority to a section or sections and deprive others the right,” he told reporters in Sokoto ahead the state’s APC congress.
Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba)
Bwacha is the Deputy Senate Minority Leader and represents Taraba South.
He is considered to be among the major governorship hopeful in Taraba to succeed the incumbent Governor Darious Ishaku, whose second term ends May 2023.
Also, in a 2020 interview, Bwacha reportedly said, “If I may ask, am I qualified to be a governor? The answer is yes. When governors finish their tenures, they switch to the Senate. And I am coming from the Senate to become a governor. How will you describe this scenario? So there is no big deal if I want to become governor.”
Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina)
The sojourn of Kaita to the Senate started in last Assembly when he won a by-election following the demise of Senator Mustapha Bukar. Kaita, who represents Katsina North, where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from, won re-election in 2019.
Although he is yet to declare for the race, his constituents have since commenced campaigns for him via the social media and other platforms. In an interview last year, the lawmaker said that before his ambition, his concern was on the challenges bedevilling Katsina State.
Uba Sani (Kaduna)
Sani is not a new comer in the country’s political scene as he has been in the terrain since 1999. At a time, he was former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s adviser on public affairs.
The governorship ambition of Sani, who chairs the Senate committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, is a common knowledge in the Kaduna political circle.
Abba Moro (Benue)
Moro is also said to be in the race to become the governor of Benue State in 2023.
Moro is yet to declare his governorship intention, but influential politicians of his Idoma extraction have already set machinery to actualise this dream.
He also enjoys the support of his political godfather, David Mark, a former Senate president, who is also working to get the support of other major tribes in Benue to consider an Idoma governor.
Elisha Abbo (Adamawa)
Abbo is also said to be re-engineering his political machinery to contest the next governorship election in his state.
He defected to the ruling APC last year as part of his calculation to become governor in 2023.
Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia)
Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, recently declared interest to contest the Abia governorship seat at the 2023 general elections. He had served his state as deputy governor before coming to the Senate.
The lawmaker made his intention to join the race to take over from Governor Okezie Ikpeazu public during a courtesy call on the latter on Christmas eve in Umuahia.
Speaking at a reception in his Ahiaba country home, Obingwa Local Government Area of the state, Abaribe said, “As an Igbo man, I respect constituted authorities. I believe the number one citizen of the state should know, and I have paid him that respect.
“I have let him know, and by extension, the people of Abia. I am telling the people of Abia to look forward to seeing me in charge in come 2023.’’
Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti)
Olujimi has been in politics since 1999 and had served Ekiti State as deputy governor under former Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The female lawmaker has impressive performance in the Red Chamber, having sponsored several bills and motions.
She declared her intention to contest the 2022 Ekiti governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while addressing party members and supporters recently in Ekiti East Local Government Area of the state.
Olujimi said it would amount to abridgement of fundamental rights for Nigeria’s governorship seats to be an exclusive preserve of men.
Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu)
Ekweremadu, a three-time deputy Senate president, is also said to be scheming to take over the driver’s seat in Enugu’s Lion Building come 2023.
In 2015, he attempted to run for the governorship position, but the then governor, Sullivan Chime, denied him the ticket, insisting that it was the turn of another zone. This prompted Ekweremadu to renegotiate his way to the Senate.
Currently, he serves as chairman, Senate Committee on Environment. During his re-election in 2019, Ekweremadu had said he would not be seeking another term in the Senate come 2023 when he must have spent 20 years in the federal parliament.
Although the power sharing arrangement in the state may not work in his favour, Ekweremadu is said to be under pressure to try the shot at the Government House since all the three senatorial districts have occupied the position.
James Manager (Delta)
Manager, fondly called the indigene of the Senate because his long time in the federal parliament, is said to be among those eyeing the governorship position in Delta.
A viral picture showing him kneeling before a former governor of the state, James Ibori, to get the latter’s blessing for his ambition generated reactions from various interest groups.
Although his Ijaw kinsmen have been drumming support for him, he still has works to do to get the buy in of other ethnic nationalities that make up Delta State.
Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta)
Deputy Senate President Omo-Agege is among the top politicians in Delta State plotting to occupy the governorship seat come 2023.
He has not declared his intention to run for the coveted seat in his state, but a political lobby group, Grassroots Marshalls for Ovie Omo-Agege, was inaugurated in September 2021 to drive his governorship ambition ahead of the 2023.
The patron of the group, Tony Ochuko Onyokoko, an engineer, during the inauguration, said it was formed for the purpose of campaigning for Ovie Omo-Agege to become the next governor of the state.
Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti)
Bamidele is a lawyer, human rights activist and three-time member of the National Assembly. He chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
Recently, he wrote all the APC senators to intimate them of his intention to contest the 2022 Ekiti governorship election. Dozens of his colleagues and supporters also accompanied him to the APC national secretariat to pick his nomination form.
He said he had what it takes to lead Ekiti State following over 35 years in various leadership positions and exposure in the three arms of government.