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2023 Election

Elections in 2023: Five departed governors who failed to secure a Senate seat



After serving two terms of eight years each, at least five former governors were unable to transition to the Nigerian Senate.

In their respective senatorial districts, the outgoing governors lost the National Assembly elections on February 25.


The National Assembly, which consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, has been referred to as a “retirement home” for former governors who rely on the advantages of incumbency to win elections into the red and green legislative chambers since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 after years of military rule.

In 2019, about 20 former governors were chosen to serve in the Ninth National Assembly. Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Orji Kalu (Abia), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), and Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano) are among the former governors who are currently serving.


Significantly, they are all vying for the opportunity to enter the red chamber again.

Governors David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) have already won the parliamentary election that took place on Saturday. Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) have yet to have their results announced by the election commission. Former governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Godswill Akpabio are among those who have so far gained seats in the Senate (Akwa Ibom).


The following is a list of departing governors who were unsuccessful in their attempt to join the National Assembly after their term ended on May 29, 2023:

Samuel Ortom of Benue State, a vocal member of the G5, a group of five disgruntled governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost his race for the Benue North West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.


He addressed Titus Zam, an All Progressives Congress (APC) colleague in the district.

The APC candidate received 143,151 votes, compared to 106,882 for the PDP and 51,950 for the Labour Party.


It’s interesting to note that Zam worked as the governor’s special adviser on local government and chieftaincy affairs during Ortom’s first term, from 2015 to 2019, before he resigned from the Ortom administration on the basis of loyalty.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, another member of the G5, was unsuccessful in his bid to represent Enugu North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.


At the election held on Saturday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Okechukwu Ezea of the Labour Party defeated Ugwuanyi.
Ugwuanyi received 46,948 votes, placing second to Ezea, who received 104,948 votes to win.

Since 2015, Ugwuanyi has served as governor of the state in the South-East, and his eight-year constitutional term expires in may. Before being chosen governor in 2015, he was a representative in the House of Representatives.


Darius Ishaku of Taraba State is another departing two-term PDP governor who gave up his bid for the Senate. In the next 10th National Assembly, he was unsuccessful in his bid to represent Taraba South Senatorial District.

David Jimkuta, the district’s All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, defeated the governor with 85,415 votes, while Ishaku received 45,708 votes.


Outside party lines, the defeat extends to two APC governors who failed in their bids for the Senate. Simon Lalong, the governor of Plateau State and director general of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, is one of them (PCC).

The former chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and a political heavyweight failed in his attempt to win the Plateau South Senatorial District seat.


He was defeated by PDP candidate Bali Ninkap Napoleon, who received 148,844 votes to the governor’s 91,674.

After serving as governor for eight years, Ben Ayade of Cross River lost his attempt to run for re-election to the Senate.


Ayade, who served in the Senate from 2011 to 2015, planned to run again for the position of Senator representing Cross River North, but Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe defeated him.

Agom-Jarigbe of the PDP received 76,145 votes, while Ayade received 56,595.


Surprises abound as newcomers are ready to dislodge certain ‘NASS landlords’ who have constantly served in the red and green chambers for the past 24 years, despite the fact that results for the presidential and National Assembly elections are still coming in slowly.


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