No fewer than 30 senators may not make it back to the parliament in 2023 when the 10th National Assembly would be inaugurated, Daily Trust on Sunday can report.
While some are pursuing other aspirations, paving the way for other aspirants to take over their seats in the Red Chamber, the re-election bids of other lawmakers are threatened by the senatorial ambition of their state governors.
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The governors, aside from having the power of incumbency, which may work in their favour, the state chapters of their parties are populated majorly by their loyalists.
The development has pitched the lawmakers against their states’ chief executives, who are majorly from the same senatorial districts and political parties as themselves.
The lawmakers who are running for governorship are Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia), Aishatu Dahiru Binani Ahmed (Adamawa), Albert Bassey Akpan (Akwa Ibom), Gershom Bassey (Cross River), Sandy Onor (Cross River), Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta), James Manager (Delta), and Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi).
Others are Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu), Mohammed Sabo Nakudu (Jigawa), Uba Sani (Kaduna), Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina), Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi), Teslim Folarin (Oyo), Dimka Hezekiah Ayuba (Plateau), George Sekibo (Rivers), Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto), Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba), and Yusuf A. Yusuf (Taraba).
While horse-trading is gathering steam between some senators and their governors over who would get senatorial tickets, other lawmakers are ready to slug it out with their states’ number one citizens in the primaries.
Here are some senators who may be dislodged by their governors at the Senate:
Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central)
Aliero had indicated interest to seek re-election, but his return bid is threatened by the move of the state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, to switch to the Senate.
They are contesting the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for the Kebbi Central senatorial zone.
The frosty relationship between Aliero and Bagudu was laid bare after APC’s congresses in the state. The lawmaker lamented the imposition of candidates during the congresses and the removal of party members perceived to be loyal to him in the hierarchy of the party’s leadership.
Aliero had earlier this year said political calamity awaited the APC in Kebbi if the party failed to treat all members with fairness.
Pundits say the state governor stand a better chance of clinching the party’s senatorial ticket as the structure of the state’s chapter of APC is said to be under his control.
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North)
Sabi is making deft moves to retain the Niger North seat in the 10th Senate, but his re-election bid has pitched him against his governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, who is also seeking to represent the same zone. Both are of the APC.
The governor, after picking his senatorial forms, said his decision to switch to the parliament was in response to the clarion call of his people in the senatorial zone, who see him as a worthy ambassador to represent them in the National Assembly.
Sabi had said he was not moved by the number of aspirants jostling for his seat in the Senate and vowed not to step down for the governor. He said withdrawing from the race would amount to betraying his constituents, who he said purchased the nomination forms for him.
The contest would serve as a litmus test for the lawmaker to prove his political might in the senatorial district, where the governor claimed that other aspirants across political parties had showed him solidarity by dropping their ambitions for his.
Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North)
Nwaoboshi replaced Ifeanyi Okowa in the Senate after the latter was elected Delta State governor in 2015. Both later fell apart, forcing the lawmaker to defect to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Nwaoboshi is seeking a third term in the Red Chamber and had long declared his interest to challenge either the governor or any other candidate of the PDP for the Delta North senatorial seat.
But Okowa, who is in control of the PDP structure in the state, is not running for Senate but reportedly backing a former House of Representatives member, Ned Nwoko, to uproot Nwaoboshi.
Nwoko, a former vice chairman of the Okowa Campaign Organisation, had contested for the PDP Delta North senatorial ticket during the 2019 primaries but lost to Nwaoboshi, then in the PDP.
Political watchers in the state say the governor would deploy all his political machinery and incumbency powers to ensure that Nwaoboshi is defeated to prove his mettle.
Ibrahim Danbaba (Sokoto South)
Danbaba was elected to the Ninth Senate on the platform of the PDP but left the party to pursue his third term senatorial ambition. His movement to the APC has been linked to the purported political calculation of his governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who was said to be planning to contest the senatorial election if he loses the PDP presidential primary. They are both from the Sokoto South senatorial district.
There are insinuations that Bala Bodinga, the commissioner for land and housing in the state, is holding the PDP Sokoto South ticket in trust for Tambuwal pending the outcome of the presidential primary.
Should Tambuwal run for a Senate seat, pundits say it would not be a smooth sail for the governor to unseat the incumbent senator, who is said to have strong political structures across the zone.
Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North)
Utazi, who currently chairs the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, has dropped his re-election bid to pave the way for the emergence of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to move to the parliament to represent Enugu North in the 10th National Assembly.
The lawmaker said he decided to promote the existing peace in the senatorial zone and reassured the governor that the PDP and the entire people of the district were solidly behind him and his political decisions.
Nora Ladi Daduut (Plateau South)
Daduut, who was elected to represent Plateau South in the Red Chamber after the death of Ignatius Longjan, will be dislodged by Governor Simon Lalong, who had indicated interest to occupy the seat in the next parliamentary session.
Lalong’s commissioners picked nomination forms for him to contest the party’s ticket for the senatorial zone. He also seems to have the backing of several stakeholders in Plateau South to represent them in the Senate.
Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South)
Abaribe, who is the Senate Minority Leader, is among the federal legislators aspiring to switch to the executive as governor.
His Abia South Senate seat is causing ripples in the state, with some alleging that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is plotting with some highly placed chieftains and PDP leaders to hand over power to a non-old Aba successor in exchange for the party’s senatorial ticket.
Ikpeazu will be serving out his second term by 2023 and he is said to be in the race for the Senate seat.
Abaribe and 10 other Abia governorship aspirants had asked the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) not to accept any list of delegates from the state, saying there was no ward congress to elect the three-man ad hoc delegates in the state. They alleged that the chairman of the PDP in Abia singlehandedly wrote a letter to inform the Independent Nation Electoral Committee (INEC) about the congress, which they said did not hold.
Abdullahi Danladi Sankara (Jigawa North West)
Sankara chairs the Senate Committee on Information. His return to the Senate in 2023 is uncertain as many of his colleagues who represent the senatorial district of their governors are completing their final term next year.
The declaration by Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State that he would not contest the APC presidential ticket against a former transport minister, Rotimi Ameachi, is a pointer to his rumoured bid to move to the Senate.
“Some of you might begin to think that Badaru is also a presidential aspirant, but I assure you that there is no contest between me and Amaechi. So Jigawa delegates, when you think of me, think of Amaechi,” he said.
Badaru did not declare categorically that he had abandoned his presidential bid for Ameachi, but many believe he is rooting for a vice presidential post if a southerner emerges as the party’s candidate. Others say his plan B was to move to the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
Should the governor finally settle to run for Senate, he would have to lock horns with Senator Sankara, except the latter withdraws from the race.
Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South)
Bwacha’s governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has commenced moves to replace him in the Red Chamber.
Coast became clear for the governor to move to the Senate to represent Taraba South when Bwacha declared his intention for Taraba governorship.
Ishaku, a second term governor, is reportedly backing another aspirant outside his Taraba South senatorial district to succeed him. The development has pitted him against Bwacha, and the frosty relationship forced the lawmaker to dump the PDP for the APC to pursue his governorship ambition.
The lawmaker had said the governor once asked that he should drop his governorship ambition as a condition to settle their scores. He said he left the party to escape the “apparent persecution” by his governor, whom he accused of being against his political progress.
Emmanuel Orker Jev (Benue North West)
Samuel Ortom of Benue State, in early March, declared his interest to contest the Benue North West senatorial seat, currently occupied by Emmanuel Orker Jev, both of whom are PDP members.
The governor’s senatorial bid has foreclosed the chances of Orker Jev of returning to the Red Chamber though the lawmaker had already dismissed any frosty relationship between him and his governor over the senatorial seat.