List of Governors eying the Senate in 2023
There are some serving and former governors who want to occupy the nation’s apex legislative Assembly come 2023. There are also ex-governors currently serving in the Red Chamber, who secured return tickets in the last political party primaries across the country.
It has been observed that, after the first four years of the country’s return to civil rule, the Nigerian Senate has gradually turned into a retirement ground for former governors, who would not want to go into political oblivion after serving out their constitutionally granted eight years.
Most times, as a result of this seeming unwritten trend in the ranks of serving governors, once the tenure of a governor is coming to an end, the Senator representing the District where the governor comes from, will either be preparing to lock horns with the governor or surrender his seat willingly to the State Chief Executive Officer.
Consequently, ahead of the 2023 general polls, some former and incumbent governors are already positioning themselves for election to the 10th Senate.
From available statistics, over 20 serving and former governors in the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other minor opposition parties, are in the Senatorial race for their various Districts.
Presently, 16 former governors are in the Senate. They are Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Tanko Al Makura (Nasarawa), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Theodore Orji (Abia), Chimaraoke Nnamani (Enugu), Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Gabriel Suswam (Benue) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto).
The former and serving governors contesting in the 2023 Senatorial election are: Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Tanko Al-makura (Nasarawa), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Sani Bello (Niger), and Samuel Ortom (Benue).
Others are: Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) and Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia)
Out of the 109 Senators who are currently serving in the Ninth Senate, there are 14 former governors serving as Senators, representing different Senatorial Districts in the Northern and Southern Nigeria.
The pre-2023 general elections horse trading notwithstanding, Sunday Telegraph checks indicate that there are some of the former Governors who are likely going to be eyeing office of the President of the Senate. The top among them are Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who holds the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Another prospective top contender is the present Senate Chief Whip and former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. Also likely to angle for the highly coveted seat, is the incumbent of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi.
Umahi, is however, in a disadvantaged position since he is going to be a first timer, if he eventually makes it to the country’s highest law making Chamber. Kalu and Umahi are both of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the Senate, and indeed the National Assembly, seniority is a critical factor in attaining leadership positions. By the conventions of the Senate and the House of Representatives, old members are usually preferred for the positions of presiding and principal officers.
However, who becomes what as far as the leadership of the Senate is concerned, depends on the outcome of the Presidential elections, going by the zoning arraignment being practiced by different political parties as well as the federal character principles.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Tambuwal’s Senate presidency ambition was part of his trade off to step down for the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, during the May presidential primary.
It was also learnt that his emergence as Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council was strategic to enable him to be considered for the Senate Presidency, if the opposition party wins.
It is important to note that Tambuwal is not new to the National Assembly. He was a former Speaker of the House of Representatives before he contested and won the governorship seat in Sokoto State.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, during one of his tackles against the main opposition party, hinted that Tambuwal was desperately positioning for the top legislative job ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In the APC, it was gathered that the serving Senate Chief Whip and former Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, who currently represents Abia North, is also interested in the exalted seat. He has advantage over Umahi because in the next dispensation, he will be a ranking member in the Senate while Umahi will be a fresher in the Red Chamber, and may not be considered for the plum job.
One of the factors that may work for Kalu above Umahi, is that he is a very close ally of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu. He has on many occasions, expressed his unalloyed support for the Tinubu presidency. This is why he is the one pushing the campaign more than other APC chieftains.