SEN­A­TORS SEEK­ING TO TOP­PLE GOVS

Mid­way to 2019, many serv­ing sen­a­tors have di­rectly or in­di­rectly shown in­ter­est in cross­ing over from the Na­tional As­sem­bly to var­i­ous state govern­ment houses. Daily Trust takes a look at the grow­ing trend.

Weekly Trust - - Front Page -

Hamza Idris & Is­mail Mu­dashir (Abuja), Romoke W. Ah­mad (Ilorin), Ma­gaji Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Haruna Gimba Yaya (Gombe), Hameed Oyeg­bade (Osogbo), Eyo Charles (Cal­abar) & Has­san Ibrahim (Lafiya)

While some sen­a­tors are plan­ning to nav­i­gate their way to govern­ment houses be­cause the in­cum­bents are round­ing off sec­ond terms, many of the leg­is­la­tors are ac­tu­ally tak­ing the prover­bial bull by the horns in a bid to oust first-term gov­er­nors, who are ob­vi­ously an­gling for sec­ond terms.

While the dream of most sec­ond-term gov­er­nors is to ‘re­tire’ to the Sen­ate on com­ple­tion of their tenures, the as­pi­ra­tion of many, in­clud­ing some first-timers, is to ‘step-up’ to state govern­ment houses, in what many po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts see as “in­co­her­ent role reversals” in Nige­ria’s po­lit­i­cal scheme of things.

Daily Trust re­ports that the am­bi­tion of the law­mak­ers, to a cer­tain ex­tent, is said to be chiefly re­spon­si­ble for the un­end­ing cri­sis rock­ing the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress (APC) and Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) in the af­fected states. Cu­ri­ously, even be­fore 2019, the se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion has man­i­fested, most re­cently in Anam­bra State, where Se­na­tor Andy Uba (APC, Anam­bra South) and Stella Od­uah (PDP, Anam­bra North) vied for the tick­ets of their par­ties ahead of the Novem­ber elec­tions in their states.

Their am­bi­tions were, how­ever, trun­cated fol­low­ing their de­feat at the pri­maries of their re­spec­tive par­ties. Uba de­fected from PDP to APC in Fe­bru­ary this year in an ap­par­ent move to clinch the party’s ticket. His de­fec­tion cost him the juicy Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee in the Sen­ate, which is tra­di­tion­ally chaired by an op­po­si­tion law­maker.

“But lucky them, the Elec­toral Act, 2010 as amended and the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion ‘for­got’ to have a clause that would com­pel them to re­sign from the Sen­ate be­fore as­pir­ing for an­other of­fice,” said Ahmed Su­raj, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst. He said many sen­a­tors would “gam­ble” their seats in 2019 be­cause of the la­cuna in the elec­toral laws.

“And that is why the com­pe­ti­tion for power will al­ways be vi­cious,” he said.

As it is, Se­na­tor Andy Uba and Stella Od­uah are al­ready back in the Sen­ate with­out any eye­brows raised, even as many other sen­a­tors are gear­ing up for 2019 to try their luck in be­com­ing first ci­ti­zens of their re­spec­tive states. The fol­low­ing, are some of them: Malam Ali Wak­ili Wak­ili, a straight­for­ward and easy­go­ing law­maker chairs the Sen­ate com­mit­tee on Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion and So­cial Wel­fare. Speaker Yakubu Dog­ara is one of his con­stituents in Bauchi South Se­na­to­rial District and there is no dis­put­ing the fact that there is mu­tual re­spect between them.

Although the body lan­guage of the re­tired Cus­toms of­fi­cer is un­clear as to a gov­er­nor­ship am­bi­tion, pun­dits feel that the feud between Bauchi fed­eral law­mak­ers, in­clud­ing Dog­ara, with their state gover­nor, Mo­hammed Abubakar, might not be un­con­nected with what would hap­pen in 2019.

For so many ob­vi­ous rea­sons, Dog­ara might not con­test for the gov­er­nor­ship but ob­servers be­lieve that he might use his in­tim­i­dat­ing pos­ture at the na­tional level, cou­pled with his ac­cept­abil­ity in Bauchi to sup­port Wak­ili or any other law­maker from the state to oust Gover­nor Abubakar.

All ef­forts in­clud­ing the one by the Pres­i­dency and the na­tional head­quar­ters of the APC to set­tle the dis­pute between the gover­nor and the fed­eral law­mak­ers have yielded no re­sult. The law­mak­ers are said to be all-out to oust the lawyer-turned-politi­cian from Bauchi Govern­ment House come 2019.

Wak­ili is said to have a firm sup­port of the pow­ers that be in his Se­na­to­rial District, as he meets weekly with them. Kabiru Garba Marafa

Marafa, a ‘sec­ond-ter­mer’ at the Up­per Cham­ber was the lone critic of Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki un­til he was made the chair­man of the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Ptroleum (Down­stream). Con­sid­ered a ‘party man’, Marafa rep­re­sents Zam­fara Cen­tral Se­na­to­rial District at the Up­per cham­ber. His con­sti­tuBe­nacuy to pro­duce a gover­nor since the cre­ation of the state in 1996, and many see him as the game-changer come 2019.

While Zam­fara West has been oc­cu­py­ing the seat for about 16 years (Ah­mad Sani Yarima, 1999-2007 and Ab­du­laziz Yari, 2011 to date), the Zam­fara North Se­na­to­rial district had oc­cu­pied it for four years (Mah­mud Aliyu Shinkafi 20072011).

For the peo­ple of Zam­fara Cen­tral Se­na­to­rial district, 2019 is their turn to pro­duce the gover­nor and the pen­du­lum is said to be swing­ing on Marafa and the in­cum­bent Deputy Gover­nor, Malam Ibrahim Wakala, a loy­al­ist of Yarima.

Bio­dun Olu­jimi

Out of the 10 Prin­ci­pal Of­fi­cers of the Sen­ate, Olu­jimi is also said to be warm­ing her way to the govern­ment house of Ek­iti State, where she was a deputy gover­nor. She is the Deputy Mi­nor­ity Whip of the Sen­ate. Born in 1958, she was first elected into the House of Reps in 2003, and is now an­gling to suc­ceed her for­mer boss, Ayo Fayose, whose sec­ond ten­ure elapses next year.

Her big­gest threat is Gover­nor Ayo Fayose, who has shown his open re­sent­ment to her am­bi­tion and the two politi­cians have since thrown cau­tion to the wind in con­fronta­tion af­ter con­fronta­tion. In Au­gust, sev­eral per­sons were re­port­edly wounded when sup­port­ers of Fayose and Mrs. ‘s clashed, al­legedly in Ko­taEk­iti, dur­ing a PDP meet­ing.

The cri­sis reached a crescendo when Olu­jimi’s am­bi­tion suf­fered a se­ri­ous set­back when stake­hold­ers of the party in Ek­iti, at the

in­stance of Fayose, last month en­dorsed the Deputy Gover­nor of the state, Prof. Ko­lapo Olu­sola as the most pre­ferred can­di­date for 2018 elec­tion. But Olu­jimi is still nurs­ing her am­bi­tion, and a source said she will still go ahead.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) has fixed July 14, next year, for the Ek­iti gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion. Shehu Sani

Se­na­tor Shehu Sani, who chairs the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Lo­cal and For­eign Debts, has been hav­ing a run­ning bat­tle with the gover­nor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Ru­fai. Sani, along­side other mem­bers of the APC in Kaduna who are ag­grieved with El-Ru­fai’s poli­cies and con­duct, last year formed a splin­ter group of the party called ‘APC Akida’ in the state. He rep­re­sents the Kaduna Cen­tral Se­na­to­rial District at the Sen­ate.

Re­cently, Sani’s posters for the 2019 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion have been spot­ted at strate­gic lo­ca­tions in Kaduna State. Like all oth­ers, he has not de­clared his in­ten­tion to con­test but peo­ple around him are of­ten heard re­fer­ring to him as ‘ Your Ex­cel­lency’, and this might not be un­con­nected with the fact that he is plan­ning a move for gov­er­nor­ship. Suleiman Hunkuyi

The sell­ing point of Hunkuyi, a first-timer at the Up­per Cham­ber, is his firm con­trol of the Kaduna North Se­na­to­rial district where he rep­re­sents. For many years, the for­mer com­mis­sioner un­der the Makarfi ad­min­is­tra­tion, has been strug­gling for the Kaduna State gov­er­nor­ship.

Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports that even though he has an­nounced his in­ten­tion to join the gov­er­nor­ship race, the swift man­ner he dis­so­ci­ated him­self from the re­cent en­dorse­ment of El-Ru­fai for a sec­ond term, is an in­di­ca­tor that he is still nurs­ing the am­bi­tion. Ade­mola Adeleke

An­other se­na­tor who is said to be hav­ing a gov­er­nor­ship am­bi­tion is Ade­mola Adeleke, who suc­ceeded his el­der brother, Se­na­tor Isi­aka Adeleke who died in April this year. The el­der Adeleke was the first ex­ec­u­tive gover­nor of Osun State from Jan­uary 1999 to Novem­ber 1993, and was plan­ning to re­turn to Osun State Govern­ment House be­fore he died.

The younger Adeleke was in the APC un­til when he could not se­cure the party’s ticket for the Osun West re­run fol­low­ing the demise of his el­der brother. He there­fore de­camped to PDP and won.

Pop­u­larly known as ‘the danc­ing se­na­tor’ on

so­cial me­dia, Adeleke is said to be all­out to ac­tu­alise the un­ful­filled dream of his el­der brother. INEC has fixed the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion of the state for 22nd of Septem­ber, 2018. Jide Omoworare

He is rep­re­sent­ing Osun East and has shown in­ter­est to con­test for the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in Osun State. This is the first time he is con­test­ing gov­er­nor­ship race. Ah­mad Lawan

His el­e­va­tion to the po­si­tion of the Sen­ate leader in Jan­uary this year raised his po­lit­i­cal pro­file in both Yobe and across the coun­try.

Lawan, 57, has been a fed­eral law­maker since 1999. He served at the green cham­ber twice (1999-2007) and now he is a third-timer at the Sen­ate (2007-date). He is said to be very close to the Yobe State gover­nor, Ibrahim Gadam at the state level while at the cen­tre, both Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari and a sec­tion of the APC lead­er­ship are com­fort­able with him.

Be­cause of his cor­dial re­la­tion­ship with the gover­nor, some be­lieve he might get the bless­ing of Gaidam even though other sources said the po­lit­i­cal com­plex­ity in the state is chang­ing.

Though Se­na­tor Lawan, who rep­re­sents Yobe North Se­na­to­rial District, has not de­clared his in­ten­tion to run, it was gath­ered that any of the gover­nor’s ‘can­di­dates’, depend­ing on cir­cum­stances, might get the nod come 2019. Muham­mad Has­san

Like Lawan, Has­san is also from Yobe State. While Lawan is of APC, Has­san, a banker­turned-politi­cian is of the PDP. He won the elec­tion to rep­re­sent Yobe South Se­na­to­rial District in 2015 in a state con­sid­ered to be a strong­hold of the APC.

Has­san, who is the Vice Chair­man of the Sen­ate com­mit­tee on FCT, is said to en­joy the sup­port of Yobe Zone B. He re­cently re­de­fined con­stituency projects when he built an eightybed hospi­tal re­port­edly from his sav­ings, and do­nated it to the fed­eral govern­ment. The ges­ture has been earn­ing him ac­co­lades. Baba Kaka Bashir Gar­bai

He was Com­mis­sioner for Lo­cal Govern­ment and Chief­taincy Af­fairs in Gover­nor Kashim Shet­tima’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in Borno State but moved to the Sen­ate fol­low­ing the death of Se­na­tor Ah­mad Zan­nah, in May 2015 be­fore the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the 8th Sen­ate. The prince from the Borno Emi­rate Coun­cil won the by-elec­tion con­ducted by INEC in late Oc­to­ber, 2015 and he was sworn in by the Sen­ate pres­i­dent, Bukola Saraki on Novem­ber 3rd. He is the chair­man of the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Rules and Busi­ness.

The level-headed politi­cian’s back­ground and close­ness to Gover­nor Kashim Shet­tima, as well as his re­la­tion­ships with se­nior politi­cians in Borno, might make his ride to Borno Govern­ment House smooth. And for the fact that he is from Borno Cen­tral, as is Shet­tima, they might likely switch roles come 2019. Habu Kyari

An­other po­ten­tial can­di­date for the Borno State Govern­ment House is Se­na­tor Abubakar Kyari. He served as com­mis­sioner in some min­istries in Borno dur­ing ex-Gover­nor Ali Modu Sher­iff’s time, and then Chief of Staff to Gover­nor Shet­tima between 2011 and 2015 be­fore he left for the Sen­ate. His fa­ther is Gen­eral Abba Kyari, and he is from Borno North and an­a­lysts be­lieve that his re­la­tion­ship with Shet­tima is equally cor­dial. And for the fact that Borno Cen­tral has been on the sad­dle for long, if ro­ta­tional fac­tor plays out, then Kyari, who is the chair­man of Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on INEC, might

have an easy ride. Ade­ola Olamilekan

At the mo­ment, he rep­re­sents La­gos West Se­na­to­rial District at the Sen­ate but he is gunning for the Ogun State Govern­ment House, come 2019. Olamilekan, born in La­gos, is one of the diehard ‘boys’ of the APC leader, Se­na­tor Ah­mad Bola Tin­ubu at the Sen­ate. He is said to rely solely on the strength of his po­lit­i­cal god­fa­ther to ac­tu­al­ize the am­bi­tion.

‘Yayi for Ogun Gov 2019,’ is ev­ery­where in Ogun State. A Face­book ac­count has been cre­ated for this pur­pose. The first-time Se­na­tor who stepped up from House of Reps to the Sen­ate chairs the com­mit­tee on lo­cal con­tent. David Umaru

He is a lawyer and sec­ond-time law­maker at the Sen­ate. He de­feated a sit­ting gover­nor, Muazu Ba­bangida Aliyu, who in­di­cated in­ter­est in the Sen­ate in 2015 on ex­pi­ra­tion of his sec­ond ten­ure in of­fice as Niger State gover­nor.

Umaru, who chairs the Sen­ate com­mit­tee on Ju­di­ciary, Hu­man Rights and Le­gal Mat­ters, is said to be schem­ing to oust the in­cum­bent gover­nor, Abubakar Sani Bello. John Owan Enoh

Born in 1966, Enoh, who chairs the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance, de­camped from PDP to APC in May this year. His de­fec­tion, ac­cord­ing to sources, is for him to con­test for the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in Cross River State come 2019.

Enoh, who has been in the Na­tional As­sem­bly for over 14 years, has a se­ri­ous task ahead of him

go­ing by the slim pop­u­lar­ity of APC in the state. Shaaba Lafi­agi

He is from Kwara North Se­na­to­rial district and is ey­ing to be­come the gover­nor of the state in 2019. Se­na­tor Lafi­agi has em­barked on un­der­ground works es­pe­cially through his con­tacts back home. He is a for­mer gover­nor of the state and part of the Kwara po­lit­i­cal struc­ture, and they are known for not openly show­ing in­ter­est. Emanuel Bwacha He is a PDP se­na­tor rep­re­sent­ing Taraba South and is said to be ey­ing the seat of the gover­nor, Gover­nor Dar­ius Ishaku, who is also of the PDP and now in his first term and ob­vi­ously plan­ning to con­test once more. Bayero Nafada

Nafada is be­lieved to be nurs­ing a long­time am­bi­tion of be­com­ing gover­nor of Gombe State. He is said to be plan­ning to take over from Gover­nor Ibrahim Has­san Dankwambo of the PDP, who will be round­ing up his sec­ond term in 2019.

Nafada rep­re­sents North Se­na­to­rial District un­der APC and is yet to show any signs like print­ing of posters or hold­ing po­lit­i­cal meet­ings. In fact, the last time he pub­licly vis­ited the state was in Oc­to­ber 2016, when the state cel­e­brated its 20 years since its cre­ation.

How­ever, po­lit­i­cal ob­servers in the state opined that for the two times he at­tempted to vie for the gover­nor’s seat, he al­ways en­tered the con­test late, to­wards the party’s pri­mary elec­tions. Se­na­tor Philip Aruwa Gyunka

He is rep­re­sent­ing Nasarawa North Se­na­to­rial zone and is plan­ning to vie for the gov­er­nor­ship po­si­tion in Nasarawa State un­der the op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP). The se­na­tor’s bill­board for the 2019 gov­er­nor­ship po­si­tion is placed at en­trance of the PDP sec­re­tar­iat in Lafia, while his posters have flooded walls in and around the state. Also, cur­rent and for­mer house of as­sem­bly mem­bers from the PDP held meet­ings and re­solved to sup­port his gu­ber­na­to­rial am­bi­tion.

Shehu Sani Suleiman Hunkuyi

Andy Uba Stella Od­uah

Jide Omoworare Osun Ade­mola Adeleke

Ali Wak­ili

Bio­dun Olu­jimi

Bashir Garba Abubakar Kyari

Ah­mad Lawan Mo­hammed Has­san

Em­manuel Bwacha

Aruwa Philip Gyunka

Kabiru Garba Marafa

Sha’aba Lafi­agi

Solomon Olamilekan Ade­ola

David Umaru

John Owan Enoh

Bayero Nafada

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