The trend of governors turning the Senate into their retirement home is not in any way set to be abated as it is set to continue. As the 2019 election year approaches, more governors, both incumbents and former, are falling over themselves to pick up nomination forms for the Senate tickets.
Just last week, the governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, declared an interest to run for the Senate seat while his counterpart from Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari, has also declared interest to challenge another former governor, Sen. Sani Yerima.
Currently, there are about 20 former governors in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, with more governors seeking to either add to the number or replace some.
The list includes; Bukola Saraki (Kwara); Theodore Orji (Abia); Eyinnaya Abaribe (Abia); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom ); Andy Uba (Anambra); David Mark (Benue); George Akume (Benue); Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti Acting); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano); Ibrahim Gaya (Kano); Joshua Dariye (Plateau) Adamu Aliero (Kebbi); Muhammed Lafiagi (Kwara); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Jonah Jang (Plateau); Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto); Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe); Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); and Ahmed Sani Yerima (Zamfara).
Former Governors Join The Frenzy
Some governors who did not join the trend that started in 2007 are also making preparations to enter the new ‘retirement home’. Currently, there are several former governors who are making bids to go to the Senate and they include Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Chris Ngige (Anambra); Sullivan Chime (Enugu); Gabriel Suswam (Benue) and Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), are all making moves to join their counterparts in the Senate.
Majority of these governors have recently been strategizing with many of them decamping from their parties to a new party, so as to get the ticket. Recently, Uduaghan abandoned the James Ibori political platform for the ruling APC, while Shekarau jettisoned his presidential ambition under the platform of the PDP for the Senate seat under the APC.
In the South-West geopolitical zone, all second term governors are making moves to join the new retirement home. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Abiola Ajumobi of Oyo, and while, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is taking it a step higher, there are reports that the governor is contemplating running either in Osun or Lagos State.
In the North-Central zone, Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State is also aiming to add to his huge retirement earning by joining the senate race. In Kwara State, Gov. Ahmed is trying to make the three Senate slots a former-governors’ club. Kwara has two former governors, Sen. Bukola Saraki and Sen. Shaba Lafiagi among its senators and if Ajumobi joins them, then all former governors will then become Senators.
In the North-East, Kashim Shettima is also eyeing the senatorial seat of Borno Central. Governor Ibrahim Gaidam will, just like Yari, have to challenge a former Governor, Sen. Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Ibrahim Dankwambo will likely keep Gombe North Senatorial District as a fall back plan in case he is unable to clinch the PDP presidential ticket.
There is only one incumbent at the tail end of his constitutionally allowed term from the South-East, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who has also declared an interest in the Imo West Senatorial District. The seat currently occupied by Sen. Hope Uzodima who is also a member of the APC and leader of a faction of the party in the state.
From all indications, it appears the governors are not rattled by the statement made by the former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, who recently said that ‘the Senate won’t find peace until former governors stop making it a retirement home.’