Eyes on drivers’ seats as 16 senators battle to claim governorship crowns - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS

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Friday, June 4, 2021

Eyes on drivers’ seats as 16 senators battle to claim governorship crowns


 SUNDAY ABORISADE examines the large numbers of senators who are eyeing the governorship seats in their respective states and the likely issues this may throw up


Gone are those days that the Senate was considered as the retirement abode and safe haven for former ministers, governors, retired captains of industries and top civil servants; at the moment, the red chamber has become a platform where governors are made.


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There are quite a number of senators, who are currently serving as governors, just as there is a considerable figure of former governors enjoying their retirement at the upper legislative chamber.


Some of the former governors in the 9th Senate are: Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North), Theodore Orji (Abia Central), Gabriel Suswan (Benue North East), Kashim Shettima (Borno Central), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi North) and Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East).


Others are: Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Rochas Okorocha (Imo North), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano Central), Ibrahim Gaya (Kano South), Muhammad Aliero (Kebbi South), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa North) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West).


The list also includes Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North) and Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe East).



 

Meanwhile, 16 serving senators are warming up to become governors of their respective states, starting from the November 26, 2021 Anambra governorship election.


Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) and Senator Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central) have perfected necessary arrangements to contest their parties’ primary elections, preparatory to the main election.


While Ubah will contest the poll on the ticket of the Young People’s Party, Ekwunife is planning to fly the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party.


Investigations by our correspondent revealed that other serving senators had started perfecting strategies to contest the governorship seats in their respective states.


One of them, according to findings, is the current Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), who was a deputy governor of Abia State before coming to the red chamber.


Abaribe is an experienced politician, who has done everything necessary to win the party’s ticket, according to one of his close aides.


The aide, who preferred anonymity because he did not have the mandate of his boss to speak on the issue, said the 66-year-old Abaribe “has perfected strategies to contest the 2023 governorship election in his seat.”



He said the senator was currently oiling his political machinery to kick-start his campaign to take over from Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.


Another former deputy governor, Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), is also said to be in the race in her state next year.


Olujimi was deputy to former governor Ayo Fayose in his first time in office. She later contested the Senate seat in the 8th National Assembly and later emerged as the Senate minority leader.


Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) is also a major contender for the Sokoto State governorship election in 2023.


Our correspondent learnt that he had set up a formidable team and strong machinery in motion to actualise his dream.


This is his second time in the Senate as he contested the seat of the Sokoto East Senatorial District on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in 2015.


A three-time Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, is also said to be eyeing the Enugu Government House in 2023.



 

One of the senator’s aide confided in our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the lawyer was seriously warming up to take over from Senator Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.


Another governorship hopeful in the Senate is the Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha.


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He represents the Taraba South Senatorial District and he is a ranking member of the Senate, having been in the upper chamber since 2011.


The incumbent Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, 57, who represents the Delta Central Senatorial District at the red chamber, is also said to be doing everything possible to contest the governorship election in his state come 2023.


Omo-Agege will, however, have to slug it out with Senator James Manager, who is representing Delta South, and who has been in the Senate since 2003.


Elisha Abbo, who currently represents the Adamawa North Senatorial District, is also said to be re-engineering his political machinery to contest the next governorship election in his state.


He defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress last year as part of his calculation to become governor in 2023.



The soft-spoken former Minister of Interior and the current senator representing the Benue South Senatorial District, Abba Moro, is also in the race to become the governor of Benue State in 2023.


It was learnt that his political godfather, former Senate President, David Mark, is also not leaving anything to chances to ensure that Moro’s dream becomes a reality.


The politician is said to have taken it upon himself in the last few months to woo the major tribes in his home state to consider an Idoma governor in 2023.


Moro is expected to fly the flag of the Idoma, the dominant tribe in his senatorial district, ahead of the next general elections.


A one-time governor of Kano State, Kabiru Gaya, who is the current Chairman, Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, is also said to be in the governorship race come 2023.


Another senator, who is eyeing the number one seat in his state, is Gershom Bassey.


Bassey, who is currently representing Cross River South Senatorial District in the Senate, is a second time federal lawmaker and is believed to be vigorously working towards succeeding Prof Ben Ayade in 2023.



 

When confronted by our correspondent to know if the recent defection of Ayade, his friend and political ally, to the APC would not affect his chances of becoming governor in 2023, Bassey, said, “Have I told you that I am contesting? I have not declared my ambition yet.”


Findings by our correspondent also revealed that the three senators from Jigawa State are also interested in becoming the governor in 2023.


They are Ibrahim Hadejia (Jigawa North East), Abubakar Sankara (Jigawa North West), and Mohammed Sabo (Jigawa South West).


Details of their political calculations to outsmart each others in the game are still sketchy as of the time of filing this report.


Meanwhile, both Ubah and Ekwunife have written the Senate through the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, about their intention to contest the November governorship election in Anambra State on the platforms of the YPP and the PDP, respectively.


Ubah specifically told our correspondent last week that he would launch his campaign fully after the emergence of other political parties’ candidates latest by July.


“I am set for the election but I want to wait till July and see the candidates that the other parties will produce. They are still aspirants for now,” he said.


The senators’ struggle to govern states is understandable as many of them envy governors who control power, political patronage and resources.

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