Since 2007 when some of the elected governors completed their constitutionally-allowed two terms in office after the return of democracy in 1999, there has been a steady stream of former state chief executives winning elections into the upper chamber of the National Assembly which has become a sort of political haven for some of them to continue to wield influence at both the federal and state levels.
BODE GBADEBO presents the list.
No elected governor in Nigeria has ever declined to seek re-election even though there are some of them who served only one term when they could not get a second mandate due to poor performance or highwire politics.
In 2011, there was an exception to the above in Kano State when Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was elected for a second time as governor of the North’s commercial nerve. His re-election came eight years after he was rejected by the same Kano electorate after completing his first term in office in 2003.
On completing his second term in 2015, he joined the bandwagon of governors who transmuted into lawmakers by contesting and winning the election for Kano Central senatorial district.
Kwankwaso is the only governor in this Fourth Republic who came back to office in 2015 after an interval and still joined the trend started in 2007 by his fellow governors.
Also, in some cases, there are former Senators who later became elected governors of their states. They include Senators Ali Modu Sheriff, Jibrilla Bindow, Bala Mohammed, Ben Ayade, Ifeanyi Okowa and Atiku Bagudu who later became governors of Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Cross River, Delta and Kebbi states at various times respectively.
Meanwhile, some outgoing governors had tried to transmute to Senators but failed, hence they retired to something else other than the Red Chamber. Former governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Adamu Muazu, lost the election to become a Senator in 2011. Also, former governors of Delta, Gombe, Niger, Benue and Oyo States, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Gabriel Suswam and Senator Abiola Ajimobi, respectively, lost their bids to become Senators in 2015 when they were leaving office as governors. Suswam however made a successful bid in 2019.
There are concerns that the former governors are turning the Senate Chamber into a retirement home of some sort or a refuge from prosecution for past misdeeds.
LEADERSHIP Friday’s finding however show that the membership of the Senate by the ex-governors confers no immunity from prosecution on them if the need be, hence the fears are unfounded.
Senator Theodore Orji currently represents Abia Central in the Senate. A two-term lawmaker, he was first elected into the Senate in 2015 on completion of his two-term of eight years in office as governor of Abia state.
Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji’s predecessor in office, former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, realised his dream of joining the club in 2019 when he was elected as a Senator 12 years after leaving the Abia State Government House.
Former Governor Godswill Akpabio succeded in 2015 by becoming a Senator straight from Government House in Uyo. He was privileged to be become a Principal Officer of the Senate by emerging as the Minority Leader ever as a first-time Senator.
He defected to APC in 2019 and lost his re-election in the last general elections. He is now a Minister-designate awaiting inauguration into the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Chris Ngige was elected governor of Anambra State in 2003 after his predecessor, Chinwoke Nbadinuju lost his re-election bid. Unfortunately, Ngige was removed by the court in March 2006 under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Chris Ngige is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He was elected Senator for Anambra Central Constituency in April 2011.
The first governor of Benue State to complete two-terms in office, George Akume was elected Senator to represent Benue North-West in 2007. He was re-elected twice again in 2011 and 2015 until 2019 when he lost his fourth re-election bid to Orker Jev.
He is currently a Minister-designate awaiting inauguration into the cabinet of President Buhari.
Akume’s successor in office as governor, Gabriel Suswam, called the shots in the Benue Government House from 2007 to 2015. He failed his first attempt to transmute into a Senator. He was a member of the House of Representatives before becoming a governor in 2007.
Suswam became lucky in 2019 when he won election into the Senate.
The immediate past governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, served for eight years and on completion of his two-term in 2019, he won election into the Senate.
Senator Sam Egwu was Ebonyi State governor from 1999 to 2007. He didn’t seek election into the Senate immediately until 2015. He was re-elected into the Red Chamber in 2019.
Senator Chimaroke Nnamani was Enugu State governor from 1999 to 2007. He didn’t seek election into the Senate immediately until 2011 and quit in 2015.
Four years after, he surfaced on the political terrain and was re-elected into the Senate in 2019 to represent Enugu East senatorial zone.
Senator Danjuma Goje was Gombe State governor from 2003 to 2011 and has ever since been the Senator representing Gombe Central till date.
Owelle Rochas Okorocha is new Senator from Imo West. He won election into the Senate in 2019 after quiting Imo Government House which he ocupied from 2011 to 2019.
Ibrahim Saminu Turaki was governor of Jigawa State for eight years from 1999 to 2007. He thereafter moved to the Senate from 2007 to 2011 where he represented Jigawa North West zone.
Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi was elected governor Kaduna State in 1999 and served up till 2007.
He also transmuted into a Senator between 2007 and 2011. He eventually became a member of the Upper Chamber for a second time after a legal tussle that trailed the 2011 election.
Kwankwaso and Shekarau
Kano State has two former governors who became Senators at various times.
While Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was elected into the Senate in 2015 after completing his second term as governor of the state, his first successor in 2003, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, who completed his two terms in office in 2011 waited four years before realising his dream of joining the Red Chamber in 2019.
Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki was two-term Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011 after which he joined the Senators Club.
He eventually became the Senate President in 2015 after his re-lection into the Senate.
Saraki lost his third bid to become a Senator in 2019 after he defected to the opposition PDP.
Like Benue and Kano states, Nasarawa State has two of its former governors as Senators.
The first democratically elected governor of the state, Abdullahi Adamu, became a Senator for Nasarawa West in 2011, four years after leaving the Government House in Lafia.
He has won re-election twice to the Senate in 2015 and 2019.
The immediate past governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, is a fresh Senator who was elected into the Senate in 2019 after his eight-year stint as governor of the state.
Even though he was Senator before becoming a governor of Ogun State in 2011, Senator Ibikunle Amosun launched himself back to the Red Chamber after his two terms at the Government House in Abeokuta.
Senator Joshua Dariye was elected governor of Plateau State between 1999 and 2007.
In 2011 he was elected Senator for Plateau Central and re-elected in 2015 until June, 2018 when he was convicted by an Abuja High Court over corruption charges.
Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko like others was governor in Sokoto state from 2007 to 2015 afterwhich he transmuted into a Senator.
He won a re-election back to the Senate in 2019.
Bukar Abba Ibrahim
Yobe is the fourth state with two of their former governors becoming Senators either at same time or at different periods.
Three-time governor of the state, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, was elected into the Senate in 2007 where he spent 12 years before quitting in 2019.
Incidentally, the immediate past governor of Yobe, Ibrahim Gaidam, succeeded Abba Ibrahim as governor of the state in 2007 and as Senator for Yobe East senatorial district in 2019.
Ahmed Sani Yerima
Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima was the first elected governor of Zamfara State in 1999. He left the Government House Gusau in 2007 to become a Senator for Zamfara West district until 2019 when he left the Senate after 12 years at a stretch.