The trend where roughly 67 percent of members of the National Assembly do not make it back to the legislative body after every general election cycle is set to continue in 2023 as obstacles mount against sitting lawmakers.
The most notable of these obstacles are the failed attempts by the lawmakers to make direct primaries a must for political parties in picking flagbearers for electives offices, the growing number of party factions at the state level, which will likely lead to litigations with uncertain outcomes, and lawmakers who are planning to contest for other offices.
In the 2015 general election, for example, 70 of the 109 senators did not make back to the Senate while more than 250 members of the House of Representatives failed in their return bids.
The numbers were slightly better in 2019 as 45 senators and 209 House members made it back to the National Assembly. The 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 was meant to give the lawmakers a fighting chance against the dictates of state governors who control the party structures. President Muhammadu Buhari, however, rejected the bill late last year.
By LEADERSHIP Sunday’s count, at least 18 senators are not planning to recontest their seats in the 2023 general elections; they are instead eyeing the governorship race in their respective states.
These include senators in Taraba, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Abia, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Oyo. In Taraba, it is all three senators of the state, while in Bauchi, Delta, Cross River and Oyo, no fewer than two senators are looking to contest for governor. And Ekiti where the governorship election will come up in June 2022, lawmakers in contention will not have to give up their seats at the National Assembly.
Coupled with senators giving up their seats, the failed attempts to amend the electoral act now means that the path of every lawmaker to retaining their party ticket is through the government house in each state capital. In some cases, it is the governors themselves that want to go to the Senate while a number of their aides are campaigning for the lower chamber of the National Assembly. In virtually every state, governors’ aides are lining up to replace current members of both the Senate and House of Representatives and, in some cases, even state assemblies.
The challenge is just as steep for lawmakers in the opposition parties facing popular candidates from within and hostile governors in the ruling party. In some, senatorial and House of Representative seats are determined by micro-zoning between constituencies, which changes after every election cycle.
This has largely contributed to the high turnover of lawmakers at the National Assembly since 1999 and has also eliminated some sitting lawmakers from the 2023 general elections. Here is a state-by-state analysis on how political events are playing out in the contest for party tickets.
Uzodimma In Search of Okorocha’s Replacement
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Imo State Chapter, presents a picture of uncertainty, disunity and fierce acrimony as each faction seems combat ready to confront each other frontally. The battle for supremacy between Senator Frank Ibezim of APC representing Okigwe Senatorial zone (Imo North) and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume seems to resonate everyday as both parties are still bent on slugging it out.
For Senator Ararume it is not over until it is all over. The APC Senatorial ticket for Ararume is a walkover if the battle is left between him and Ibezim. However, Ibezim is lucky to have the backing of the governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, coupled with the support of the minister of state for education, Dr Emeka Nwajiuba. The governor and the minister joined forces to wrest the ticket from Ararume’s hands and the ripples generated by the controversy still rage. Uzodimma is bent on controlling the party in the state and is ready to overcome any obstacle in actualising this dream.
The governor is interested in having all the three Senatorial zones of the Senate in APC. Consequently, a business magnate and philanthropist, Alex Mbata, has been thrown up to challenge the PDP representative in the Senate, Onyewuchi Ezenwa, who represents Owerri zone (Imo East) in the Senate. Backed by the governor, Mbata is hoping to trash Senator Onyewuchi come 2023 senatorial election.
Mbata is conversant with the system and, having created structures within Owerri zone, could be set to take over power in 2023. Mbata has gained popularity among the people through the initiation of empowerment programme and the party is ready to buy into this project due to the people-oriented gesture.
The Orlu Zone Senatorial seat is occupied former governor Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha of the APC, who paradoxically is bent on consolidating strong hold to the Orlu Senatorial throne. Having governed the state for eight years, he is believed to have fashioned a workable methodology for grasping and mastering the Imo political scenario.
Okorocha for now does not have any challenger to the Orlu senatorial ticket. This is probably due to his political sagacity and manoeuvering which scare other intending contestants.
However, the running battle between Uzodimma and Senator Okorocha may work against the incumbent senator as the governor is searching for an aspirant that has the capacity to challenge Senator Okorocha. While the search continues, the former governor holds strongly as the political colossus in Imo political landscape.
The House of Representatives seats in Imo state are occupied by politicians who are aware that you need the people and personalities to succeed.
The Ehime Mbano-Ihitte-Uboma representative in the House of Representatives, Hon. Chike Okafor understands the political chess board of the state and realigned to the present realities in the state, as the governor calls the shots and he who pays the piper dictates the tune.
Hon. Okafor thrives in empowering the constituent and leverages on his goodwill to win the hearts of the populace, having penetrated the structure in his constituency. And with the backing of the governor, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for any challenger to displace him come 2023 election.
Ikpeazu, Abaribe Could Trade Places
The three senators from Abia State, namely Enyinnaya Abaraibe (South) and Theodore Orji (Central) both of PDP, and Orji Uzor Kalu (North) of APC are serving their fourth, second and first terms respectively.
Just recently, Abaraibe announced his interest in the governorship of the state, but if he changes his mind and wishes to return to the Red Chamber, he may have to contend with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who is said to have an eye for the seat.
Other challengers could be Barr F. N. Nwosu, a 2015 and 2019 governorship aspirant, and Rep Nkem Abonta, the fourth-term representative of Ukwa East/Ukwa West federal constituency of the state.
Just like Abaribe, T.A. Orji, a former chief staff to then Governor Kalu and two-term governor of the state himself, has indicated at different occasions that he would step down in 2023.
However, if his “constituents prevail in him to return,” he is likely going to face Senator Nkechi Nwogu, Chidi Ajaegbu, and Rep Solomon Adaele from the Ngwa divide of the senatorial district.
Kalu, the chief whip of the Senate, recently said he would run for president if it is zone to the South East, but would no doubt contest the Senate seat again if he scales through his APC hurdles.
Fourth and second term Reps Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and Uko Nkole of Umunneochi/Isuikwuato and Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituencies respectively and, the deputy governor, Ude Oko Chukwu, may pose threats to the ambition.
Similarly, having represented Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency from 1999 -2003 and the district from 2015-2019, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa is still a serious obstacle to the former governor of the state.
For Ben Kalu, the first term representative of Bende federal constituency, it has gone past the realm of speculation that Chimobi Anyaso will give him a tough battle for the seat.
Anyaso, the first runner-up to Anyaso in the 2019 general election, has since then been visibly competing for recognition with the lawmaker space-for-space across the constituency.
Another representative from the state, who is likely to be challenged, is second term lawmaker, Adaele of Obingwa/Osisioma/Ugwunagbo federal constituency. He may have already started looking over his shoulder for the chief press secretary to the governor, Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka.
As for Darlington Nwokocha of Isiala Ngwa North/Isiala Ngwa South federal constituency, a second term lawmaker, Hon Ginger Onwusibe of Isiala Ngwa state constituency, and the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Prince Chris Enweremadu, may want to shove him aside.
Ugwuanyi Fixes Gaze On Presidential, VP, Senatorial Tickets
Enugu State has three senatorial zones and the three persons representing the zones are Senator Chimaraoke Nnamani (Enugu East), Senator Chuwuka Utazi (Enugu North) and Senator Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu West).
Although Nnamani, who was a former governor of Enugu, is a household name in his senatorial zone, it is expected that many people will contest against him come 2023. Among those is Senator Gilbert Nnaji, and a former chairman of the APC in the state, Ben Nwoye, among others. But Nnamani has the brightest chance to be re-elected in 2023.
In Enugu West Senatorial Zone, a former Deputy Senate President and current senator representing the zone, Ike Ekweremadu, may slug it out with a former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime in 2023. Apart from Chime, others who may also contest for the seat are Barrister AOU Onyema but Ekweremadu has the brightest chance to win if he decides to re-contest.
Perhaps the zone that will be the centre of the greatest battle is Enugu North Senatorial Zone where the incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, hails from. The senator representing the zone is Chukwuka Utazi. A member of the House of Representatives, Pat Asadu, may also contest the senatorial seat. There is also speculation that Ugwuanyi may also settle for the Senate in the event he fails to get the presidential or vice-presidential positions.
In the House of Representatives, Hon. Asadu Patrick, represents Nsukka/Igbo Eze South Federal constituency. He is likely to be challenged by Barrister George Ogara, a former governorship candidate of the APC.
Ogara is a grassroots politician but those following political happenings in the federal constituency are of the view that Asadu is well rooted and will easily win if he decides to re-contest.
Governor Umahi Versus 3 PDP Senators In Ebonyi
In Ebonyi State, the three senators representing the South, Central and North Senatorial zones of the state all belong to the opposition PDP and are the major financers of the party.
Since the defection of the Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi to the ruling APC, Senators Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), Michael Nnachi (Ebonyi South) and Sam Egwu Ebonyi (North) took the responsibility of paying party executives and other stakeholders, and as of today, it is not clear if any person within the party will challenge them in the forthcoming general election.
Obviously, the senators do not have the backing of the state governor as supporting their return to the red chamber amounts to anti-party activity.
The senators enjoy the backing of the party in the state having during the last PDP congresses in the state ensured that candidates of their choice emerged as ward, local government and state executives, thereby paving way for themselves ahead of the primary election in the state. They also enjoy popularity within their local government areas and the same cannot be said of the generality of the senatorial zones as they might face an uphill task in the general election since their major contenders from the other political parties also enjoy popularity in their own local government and senatorial zones.
Just like the senators, the House of Representatives members, apart from the member representing Ikwo/Ezza South Federal Constituency, all belong to the PDP.
Apart from Hon Anayo Nwonu who has declared his intention to run for the governorship position of the state, and Senator Obinna Ogba, who also on January 1, 2022 made known his plans to also run for governorship of the state, many of the would-be aspirants are yet to make their intentions known.Senator Shettima Looking Safe In Borno
For Borno Central Senatorial District, which former governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, is representing at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, no challenger has been identified to face him in 2023, even though nobody knows if Shettima wants to return.
But since there is still time before the elections, pundits are of the belief that a challenger will emerge as time draws nearer. Shettima’s relationship with the incumbent governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum whom Shettima handed over power to, will play a great role should any challenger emerge.
For Senator Ali Ndume who represents Southern Borno Senatorial District at the National Assembly, his return to the Senate for the third time would be a herculean task as people of his constituency might be in need of a change in representation.
Although, Ndume has a cordial relationship with Governor Zulum, the emergence of two challengers for his seat might spell trouble for him.
Notwithstanding, Bamanga Buba, one of the Ndume’s challengers, is a new entrant to the political terrain of Borno, while Alhaji Idris Durkwa, another Ndume’s challenger, is a force to reckon with.
Idirs contested the 2019 gubernatorial elections at the party primary of the APC alongside the present Governor Zulum who won the primary. His outing in that election was not a bad one, as Borno stood still on his arrival from Abuja to declare his ambition. Idris lost the primary gallantly.
As for the Senator representing Northern Borno Senatorial district, Senator Abubakar Kyari, reclaiming his seat in 2023 equally requires hard work even though no serious contender has emerged to challenge him. But that could change with time.
For the House of Representatives, Hon Kadri Rahis, representing Borno Central, cannot be said to be in a bad relationship with the governor.
One of his major challengers might be Alhaji Abubakar Tijani, present Commissioner of Transport whom he contested against for the APC primary ticket for the House of Representatives and won.
For Jere Federal Constituency, Hon. Ahmed Satomi has not done bad in his representation as a first-timer, but his chances of returning might be fifty – fifty, as Jere is known for not returning representatives for a second term. Though challengers had not emerged, it is obvious that they will soon spring up any time.
And for Dr Haruna Mshelia, member representing Hawul/ Askira-Uba Federal Constituency, his return to the seat might be impossible considering his level of aloofness to the grassroots after his election. Similarly, the ambition of Alhaji Usman Maman Durkwa, former deputy governor of Borno who enjoys a good relationship with the present governor, might spell a doom to Hon Mshelia’s return to the House.
In the same vein, the member representing Gwoza/Chibok/Damboa Federal Constituency, Hon Ahmed Jaha, has been trying his best through massive constituency projects amid grassroots relationship. Although, no one has heard from Hon. Asabe Vilita who represented the constituency before Jaha, on her plans, Asabe who is a grassroots politician will make a statement should she have plans.
All 3 Taraba Senators Set Sights On Government House
None of the senators from Taraba State has indicated interest to recontest for the Senate seat come 2023 general election.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that Senator A.A. Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central) is working hard to clinch the governorship ticket of the party later this year.
Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP,Taraba South), deputy minority leader at the red chambers, recently declared plans to run for the governorship seat. Though Bwacha said he would unveil the platform which want to contest the election soon.
Sen. Shuaibu Lau (PDP, Taraba North) has not publicly spoken on the next election, but his political associates say he is hoping to succeed Governor Darius Ishaku in 2023.
Meanwhile, Hon. Kasimi Mello Maigari (APC Jalingo, Yoro, Zong) is facing a challenge by the former member of Taraba state House of Assembly, Hassan Bapa.
Bapa, a PDP member, is said to be the favoured candidate of Governor Darius Ishaku. A political analyst in the state who spoke on the election said Bapa has an advantage over Maigeri, who has not made any public appearances in the state since he was elected to represent the constituency at the National Assembly.
Hon. Liman Shaulu (PDP, Ussa, Takum, Donga) is also facing stiff opposition within the party. The current member representing Donga constituency at Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon. Donglas Ndatse and the Chief of Staff to Governor Ishaku, Hon. Istifanus Gbana, are the preferred candidates by the governor to replace Shaulu in the race.
Hon. Mubarak Gembo (APC, Bali, Gasol federal constituency) is also being challenged by the chairman Bali LGA, Prince Musa Mahmood, who is from PDP.
Mahmood, a grassroots politician, has the blessings of both the PDP and the governor.
Adamawa Governor Holds The Ace
Mr Stephen Maduwa, a childhood friend to Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa state, has been named as a major challenger to Senator Cliff Ishaku Abbo, representing Northern Senatorial zone of the state.
It is believed that it is high time for Governor Fintiri to pay back Maduwa, who stood by him during his electioneering campaign days by helping to defeat incumbent Senator Abbo, who defected from PDP to APC, just as hopes for Abbos’s re-election are up in the air due to the aversion of his constituents to vote APC in the past.
Maduwa’s closeness to Fintiri, who is bankrolling PDP in the state, may give him the upper hand to clinch the party’s flag during primaries.
In Adamawa Southern Zone, the incumbent Senator Binos Dauda Yaroa (PDP, South) would have to slug it out with Adamu Atiku Abubakar, Commissioner for Works and son of Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Adamu is believed to be relying on name recognition and the political popularity of his father to win the Southern zone, which comprises of nine local government areas.
Also, former Senator Grace Bent, who recently defected to APC, would also give Sen. Yaroa a tough time in the primaries as she is seen to have sympathy support from the people of the zone after being frustrated by the ruling PDP in the state.
Sen. Aisha Dahiru Binani, representing Adamawa Central, pundits say, should bid farewell to the red chamber, as former Senator Abduazeez Nyako’s intention to contest the seat under APC party is glaring.
Sen Nyako defected from African Democratic Congress (ADC) following a series of meetings and consultations with other members and politicians who also dumped the party to return back to APC. He is still counting on his father’s legacy as the former governor of the state who is remembered for human capital development during his time.
Challengers for the House of Representatives members from the state are yet to declare the ambitions publicly. The PDP and APC party secretariats could also not disclose names of their candidates.
In Bauchi, 2 Opposition Senators Challenge Bala Mohammed
The race for the three Bauchi senatorial seats is never an easy one especially as all the incumbents are from the APC, the leading opposition party in the state.
Senator Lawal Yahaya Gumau (APC, Bauchi North), is believed to be eyeing the governorship seat in the state, while Alhaji Shehu Buba, from the same APC, has been consolidating effort to clinch the Bauchi North Senatorial seat, a position once occupied by the incumbent governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed.
The race for Bauchi North is believed to be a hot one as the incumbent, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, is fast becoming unpopular among the electorate in the zone over what some constituents tagged ‘non-performance.’
The zone housed Baba Tela, the present Bauchi State Deputy Governor, and Sulaiman Nazif Gamawa, two politically lively former senators who represented the zone at the Senate from the camp of PDP. Many analysts believe both campaigns to be gathering momentum.
“By party proximity, of course, Governor Mohammed will support either Baba Tela or Nazif Gamawa to help win the seat to their party from APC in 2023,” said Salahudin Yakubu Gwani, a resident of Azare.
He said within the APC, there is a power play, especially given the fact the party is in control of the central government. He said Faruk Mustapha, a loyalist of the Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, has great potential to succeed Senator Bulkachuwa in 2023.
Bauchi Central is no different from Bauchi North. The incumbent senator, Halliru Dauda Jika, is making moves to vie for the governorship seat of the state, which creates room for Isah Hamma Misau to seek a way of going back to the Senate.
However, none of the current senators from Bauchi State has the blessings of Governor Bala Mohammed because of party differences.
Yahaya, Goje Plot To Oust Each Other In Gombe
Former two-term governor, Danjuma Goje, is the incumbent senator for the central zone. Being in the Senate since 2011, he is a heavyweight politician who has both adequate resources and supporters to retain his seat come 2023.
However, he will not go unchallenged as some aspirants are already eyeing his seat. One of them is Barrister Idris Umar, a former minister of transport and former senator. It is also pertinent to note that Goje may not enjoy the support of the incumbent governor of the state Inuwa Yahaya as he and the governor have been at loggerheads in recent time.
Gombe North is being represented by three-time Senator Sa’idu Alkali, so he is a very strong politician and popular. Besides, he has the backing of the state governor Inuwa Yahaya as the governor attends any political gathering organised by him.
But he is not without challenger as another known politician, Bala Bello Tinka, is nursing ambition to take over his seat under the platform of the APC. Tinka is a rich businessman and popular politician.
In Gombe South, Amos Bulus Kilawangs, is the senator representing the zone, but Joshua Lidani who was once a senator of the zone wants to bounce back in 2023. It could be said that the duo has almost the same political strengths in the party. But the present senator has no problem with the state governor.
A Tinder Box In Kano
Kano South Senatorial district, with 16 local government areas, has former governor, Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya as the serving Senator, who is planning to extend his stay in a seat he has occupied since 2007.
However, the growing popularity of Hon. Sulaiman Kawu Sumaila among the youths and women in the senatorial district is causing headaches for Gaya. Samaila, a one-time minority leader of the House of Representatives and Special Advisor to President Muhammadu Buhari is seriously working to take over from Gaya come 2023.
Recall that the duo slugged it out during the APC primaries until the might of the governor and other top ranking members of the party pulled Kawu down before so Gaya could have his way during 2019 contest .
Samaila accepted defeat and surrendered power to Gaya, although majority of the youths in Kano South are said to be strongly behind his senatorial contest and have vowed to back him up to actualise his dream in the next political dispensation.
In Kano North, the chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Barau I. Jibril, has publicly stated his interest to contesting the governorship post.
However, there are contrary opinion to that as some top members of the APC, who spoke to this reporter on anonymous condition, said the main target for him is to be allowed to retain his position at the end of it all.
However, what seems to constitutes a stumbling block to his ambition is the likelihood of the incumbent governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, gunning for the same senatorial position when he finally finishes his tenure in May 2023 .
According to a powerful voice who does not want his name in print, “Nothing will stop the governor from occupying that seat unless death”.
He said Senator Barau knows quite well that his days are numbered on that seat after he joined the G7 group opposed to the state government headed by former governor, now Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau.
Likewise the senator representing Kano Central, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau will be facing so many challenges in his effort to retain his seat in the Senate since he has drawn a battle line between him and Ganduje by forming a paradelle party leadership headed by Ahmadu Danzago against the governor’s anointed party chairman, Abdullahi Abbas .
Our Correspondent learnt that plans are underway to replace Shekarau with another very loyal member from the Gandujiyya group. When the time comes his name will be made public, the source said.
Hon Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe, a five-time member of House of Reps for Rimin Gado, Tofa, and Dawakin Tofa Constituency, is also going to face serious challenge on his way back to the House because there is a political coldness between him and the state governor, Ganduje, and from all indication there is every likelihood that he will be seriously challenged by the governor’s son Abba Umar Ganduje, who has since indicated interest in claiming the seat.
It was gathered that Hon. Jobe is one of the G7 members led by Shekarau and are giving the governor tough time in the court over to the purported ward and state congresses of the APC, held some couple of months ago.
On the other hand, the state government is determined also to remove the chairman, House Committee on Security, Hon. Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada, the member representing Kano Municipal, of his seat. Ibrahim clinched the position after a Supreme Court verdict in his favour.
During the 2019 election, the governor openly backed Ishaq Yakasai, the present commissioner for special duties but they failed to make it as a result of some electoral lapses.
Road Block For Senators In Zamfara
There are serious obstacles facing all the three senators of Zamfara state in their hopes of returning to the National Assembly in 2023.
Speculations are rife for the emergence of potential contestants to face the incumbent senators. In the Central Senatorial district, several politicians are said to be targeting the upper chamber of the National Assembly, such as former deputy governor during Governor Abdul-Aziz Yari’s tenure, Ibrahim Wakala; former speaker of the state assembly and Chief of Staff to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Sanusi Rikiji, while the incumbent, Sen. Hassan Nasiha is all struggling to retain the seat.
Also, the current senator of the Western zone, Sen. Lawal Dan’iya, is facing serious threat as former deputy governor to Governor Mahmuda Shinkafi and uncle to Sen. Ahmad Sani, Mukhtar Ahmad, is being groomed for the Senate.
Ahmad, a close ally to Governor Matawalle, was initially to contest for the PDP ticket during the 2019 election, but declined. Trends might have changed now with the emergence of Matawalle as the governor of the state.
Also, the same trend is emerging in the Northern Senatorial district, as former member, House of Representatives, Hon. Sani Jaji, is pushing for the Senate.
Kaduna Waiting For el-Rufai To Show His Hand
In Kaduna South Senatorial district, the incumbent senator, Danjuma Laah, is serving his second term on the platform of the PDP and eyeing a return to the red chamber in 2023. He succeeded in breaking the jinx of serving more than one term.
However, there are strong contenders from his party who have declared interest to unseat him come 2023, one of whom is Hon. Sunday Marshal Katung. If present indicators and feelers are anything to go by, he is one contender standing a very good chance of unseating the incumbent Senator. He has served as a member, House of Representatives, and was the running mate to the governorship candidate of the PDP in 2019 general elections after he won his primaries to return to the green chamber.
Another contender on the platform of the PDP is serving third-term House of Representative member, Hon. Shehu Nicholas Garba (Sarkin Noma), who has equally thrown his hat into the senatorial race for the district. Another contender from the APC is a retired federal civil servant and founder of Nok University Kachia (NUK), Chief Tony Hassan, but his chances are not very bright considering the fact that the senatorial district is predominantly PDP.
In Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Senator Uba Sani, information has it, is nursing a governorship ambition on the platform of APC. Although he got the support of the governor in 2019 to get elected into the red chamber, it is not clear whether he will get his support to succeed him at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House. In any case, a major contender for the senatorial seat is the present Speaker of the Kaduna House of Assembly, Yusuf Ibrahim Zailani, whom, it is rumoured, has the support of the governor. Another contender from the PDP is Lawal Usman (Mr La), whose acceptability has grown over time among the people of the district. In the 2019 general elections, he was the candidate of the PDP and polled reasonable votes but not enough to beat the candidate of the APC who had the support of the governor.
For Kaduna North Senatorial district, which has a serving Senator Abdu Kwori on the platform of the APC, it is not very clear who his challengers are presently. It is not also clear whether or not he will be seeking a return to the red chamber or would be seeking an executive position. Only time will tell.
In Chikun/Kajuru Federal Constituency, the incumbent representative is Hon. Yakubu Umar Barde, who has been there since 2003 on the platform of the PDP. It is not clear yet whether he will have a challenger from his party in 2023, but from the APC, Ekene Abubakar Adams has proved to be a strong contender. In 2019, he challenged him unsuccessfully on the platform of the APGA and has indicated interest again to challenge him this time around on the platform of the APC. There is no doubt that Hon. Barde is loved by his people and Chikun/ Kajuru Federal Constituency presently is in the hand of the PDP at both local governments. It will be difficult for any other party to make any significant impact there.
In Kachia/Kagarko Federal Constituency, the incumbent, Hon Gabriel Saleh Zock of the APC may not be too lucky to secure a return in 2023. His major contender on the platform of the PDP, Hon. David Umar Gurara, said he will not leave anything to chance to unseat him in 2023. Gurara , a former majority leader in Kaduna State House of Assembly, is loved by his people and may be rewarded in 2023.
In Kaduna South Federal Constituency, the present House of Representatives member Hon. Mukhtar Ahmed Monrovia had an overwhelming support in 2019 on the platform of the APC and might gain same in 2023 as no known contender has indicated any interest to challenge him at the moment.
Jigawa Senators May Not Return In 2023
In Jigawa State, all the three senators with the exception of senator representing Jigawa Northwest zone, face an uphill battle to retain their seats in the forthcoming 2023 general election.
The senators are going to find it very tough as the President Buhari factor and other factors that culminated in their success in 2019 general election will no longer be there.
For the senator representing Jigawa Central, Sabo Muhammad Nakudu, he will find it very difficult to even secure his party’s (APC) ticket as many candidates with higher political profile want the ticket.
Senator Sabo Nakudu, who is in his second term, has little to show in terms of bringing dividends of democracy to his constituency.
There is also a speculation that the senator is not in good terms with the state governor and he was also conspicuously absent during the last party congresses, which points to his lack of interest in party affairs.
The Senator representing Jigawa Northwest zone, Danladi Abdullahi Sankara has recently received a big nod from his constituency and APC in the state by declaring that they are proud of his representation.
The state party chairman, Hon Amimu Sani Gumel, was reported to have urged other APC senators to emulate the commitment of Sankara on party and community development.
Senator Ibrahim Hadejia is representing Jigawa Northeast and he was former deputy governor of the state. His zone is one of the most keenly contested in Jigawa State politics, leaving his political future shaky as many political gladiators in the zone are after his seat now.
Even though Senator Hadejia has cordial relationship with Governor Badaru his performance in terms of touching the lives of his people is below average. while he is not in the good books of his APC party leaders in the zone.
If eventually governor Badaru imposes him as APC candidate in the zone, certainly he will find it very difficult to win the elections in the absence of Buhari and Badaru factor in the state.
Holding Forth For Plateau Governor
Plateau State has two APC senators and one PDP senator. Plateau North has Senator ID Gyang, PDP, Plateau Central with Sen. Hazekiah Ayuba Dimka and Plateau South has Sen. Nora Ladi Daduut, both of the APC.
Sen. Nora Daduut won the bylection to replace Ignatius Longjan in the National Assembly after his demise in 2019.
Governor Simon Lalong single-handedly brought the university don with the view to hold forth for him till 2023 when his tenure in office will expire.
From all indication, Prof. Nora will not contest the 2023 senatorial election as her principal, Governor Lalong, will take over from her as arranged.
For Plateau North, the incumbent Senator Gyang will battle his kinsman, Dr. Simon Mwadkhom, who is currently the member representing Riyom/Barki Ladi federal constituency. The duo are members of the opposition PDP.
Senator ID Gyang has the backing of the leader of the party, Sen. Jonah Jang, the former governor and senator representing Plateau North.
For Plateau Central, the incumbent Senator Hezekiah Ayuba Dimka is said to be eyeing the seat of the governor of Plateau State. APC has zoned the 2023 gubernatorial election to Plateau Central.
Hon. Diket Plang, the special adviser to Governor Simon Lalong on Public Affairs and the former representative of Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency under the platform of the ruling APC is jostling to replace Sen. Hezekiah Dimka.
Hon. Plang will have the support of his principal and party structure. As a grassroots mobiliser, he is deeply rooted to get the better of Hon. James Ayuba.
For the Bassa/ Jos North Federal Constituency, former Rep, Hon. Suleiman Kwande, and another former Rep, Hon. Saleh Hassan; Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Hon. Abey Akwu and former Minister of State Information and Culture, Ibrahim Nakande Dasuki, all of APC, and many others are jostling to replace the late Haruna Maitala, who represented Bassa/Jos North federal constituency who died in a ghastly road accident early this year.
Hon. Abey Akwu may have the day because of his support base; and having resigned as a commissioner after consultation, he may have the support of his party, APC, and of course his boss, Governor Simon Lalong.
However, for Langtang North/ Langtang South federal constituency. Hon. Beni Lar of the PDP has been there for the fourth time now. The effort by APC-led administration to remove her since 2015 has been unsuccessful. Hon. Nandum Pienap, who recently defected to the ruling APC and with the support of the state government and APC state structures, he may pull a surprise to defeat the incumbent Hon. Beni Lar.
Abdullahi Adamu Is Standing Tall In Nasarawa
In Nasarawa West Senatorial zone, the first governor of the state under the PDP between 1999 and 2007, is the current senator representing Nasarawa West Senatorial Zone. Popularly called Mayi (wizard), he is confronted by stiff rivalries even from his ruling APC. There is indication that Barrister Labaran Magaji is coming out with full force to unseat the incumbent senator. Magaji is an Egbirra man from Toto local government of Nasarawa state and is from the late Aliyu Akwe Doma camp.
Another contestant in the race for Senate 2023 is Hon Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, a two-time member of the House of Representatives for Karu/Kokona/Keffi. The politicians are putting heads together to retire Adamu. Even with the support of governor Abdullahi Sule to Senator Adamu, he will taste the bitter pills of politics.
For Nasarawa South Senatorial zone, no doubt the state governor, Engineer ‘ is with the incumbent, former governor of the state, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of the ruling APC. Al-Makura is a first-time senator and is in the good books of Gov. Abdullahi Sule who referred to him as an ‘architect of modern Nasarawa State’. Even with the backing of the governor, the Alago nation is looking at the possibility of grabbing the seat, which they see as theirs by right.
Rt. Hon. Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo, the running mate of Hon David Ombugadu, the governorship candidate of the PDP, is one of the challengers of Tanko Al-Makura. He is a popular politician whose marks in the sands of Nasarawa South especially Awe/Doma/Keana federal constituency are indelible. He represented his people for two consecutive terms, and is putting his house in order to challenge Mike Omeri, former director general of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) under the reign of President Goodluck Jonathan.
In Nasarawa North, Sen. Godiya Akwashiki is working tirelessly to return to the Senate come 2023. He will experience difficulties politicking if truly Danladi Halilu Emvulanza, a billionaire and a governorship aspirant in 2019 election, joins the race under the APC. The former secretary of Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) has shifted ground from wanting to contest for governor to looking to the Senate. Insiders say the governor is backing Emvulanza.
Zoning Displaces Senators In Niger
By the local zoning arrangements the Senator representing Niger South, Mohammed Bima Enagi is already out of the race , the Niger south is divided into three federal constituencies. The Federal constituency of the senator is hopefully expected to produce the next governor, thus automatically he is out of the race.
Notwithstanding the arrangements, few names like Hon Ibrahim Ebbo from Lapai is said to be eyeing the position. His closeness to the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello as Special Adviser on Special Duties is seen as an advantage.
Another name that was mentioned is Ibrahim Liman, the boss of the Federal Fire Service, who retired recently. He is seen as an achiever for taking fire service to all the states from just four states that he inherited.
For Niger North, Senator Abdullahi Sabi has also been schemed out based on the zoning arrangements. The chairman of the party, Hon Haliru Jikantoro is from the same federal constituency as him, thus Kontagora and Rijau/Magama federal constituency are expected to produce the senator in 2023.
No clear names have been mentioned as many politicians are watching the body language of the governor who is from Kontagora, on whether he will go for it or not. But in PDP, Umar Mohammed Nasko is likely to give it a shot. He was the governorship candidate of the party in 2015 and 2019 and the electorate are familiar with him.
In Niger East, the zone is to produce the next deputy governor. In view of this if Paikor/ Bosso federal constituency, where the incumbent Senator Sani Musa comes, from produces the next deputy governor, he will be automatically ruled out.
There are no clear names mentioned yet as possible contenders. However, if Senator David Umaru who was removed by court decides to contest on the platform of another party, it will be difficult for the incumbent because he is said to have structures he can rely on.
The fight for the House of Representatives seats is as stiff as that of the senators but it is always stiffer in Chachanga and other urban federal constituencies.
Currently, Chachanga is represented by Hon Mohammed Umar Bago who is set to contest the governorship seat of the state. Names mentioned to take over from him are Mohammed Usman Tinau, current director-general of the state Pension Board. He is believed to be influential, with high intellectual capacity. Abdulraman Chatta is a young banker and financial management expert who is in touch with people while Ado Abubakar is said from an influential family.
In Bida, Gbako and Katcha federal constituency, the incumbent Hon Saidu Musa Abdul is said to be delivering the dividend of democracy to the people, but it was learnt that by zoning arrangement Gbako or Katcha is to produce the next member even though there are no clear names mentioned to be eyeing his seat.
Suleja Gurara, Tafa federal constituency is represented by Abubakar Lado Suleja, who is eyeing the governorship position of the state, but even without that there are groups working behind scene to produce a formidable candidate who will comfortably slug it out with him because of his approach to politics.
The member representing Agaie/Lapai federal constituency, Abdullahi Mahmoud may find it difficult to come back because his alleged “exclusive representation,” and if the senator of Niger South is to come from Agaie, he may not have a chance especially against a very strong candidate like Mahmoud Abdullahi, the chief press secretary to the late Governor Abdulkadir Kure, who is loved by many in the constituency. He is said to be grassroots-oriented.
Contenders Lying Low In Kwara
Politicians in the fold of the ruling APC in Kwara State are still keeping their ambitions in the next political dispensation close to their chests.
The reluctance of the APC stalwarts in declaring their next political move might not be unconnected with the polarisation of the party in the state.
While the main APC in the state is under the firm grip of the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, a splinter group, which christened itself as ‘APC Loyal’ is being led by the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
By the time of filing this report, only one politician, Prince Saheed Popoola had shown interest in contesting the Kwara South Senate seat.
Popoola is seeking to replace the incumbent, Senator Lola Ashiru. Popoola and Ashiru are both from Offa town.
Ashiru, an architect and a consistent opposition leader in the state before the advent of the administration of Governor AbdulRazaq, is loved by his people. He’s a philanthropist of note. The senator is also in the camp of the governor just like his two other counterparts, in the struggle for the control of leadership of the state.
On the other side, Prince Popoola, a former Offa council chairman, commissioner and two- term member of the state House of Assembly, is also popular.
He carved a niche for himself as a performing chairman when he was elected under the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) as the chairman of Offa local government. That was the time when the ACN held sway in Kwara.
Popoola’s antagonist posturing to the administration of Governor AbdulRazaq has further endeared him to his admirers, especially the politicians in the fold of Lai Mohammed- led APC in the state.
Harmony Between Ortom And His Senators, Yet…
In Benue State, all the senators are PDP, and because the governor is also PDP, their working relationship for now is a smooth one.
About their backing to return in 2023, that is where there is confusion because there are rumours that the governor also want to contest for the Senate of Benue North West Senatorial District where Oker Jev is is first term senator.
However, the governor in different fora said that he was yet to decide on whether he will be contesting any position or not come 2023.
“I am still waiting for God’s direction,” Ortom stated.
Senator Jev himself has refused to comment on the development anytime he is approached by the media.
In the House of Representatives, out of the 11 members the state has, eight are of PDP while three are in other political parties.
Recently, a three-term member of the House of Representatives, representing Gboko/Tarka at the Federal House of Representative who won the 2019 election under the platform of the APC defected to the PDP.
In another development, there are feelers that the House of Representatives member for Gwer East/Gwer West, Hon. Mark Gbillah of the PDP is also eyeing the Zone B Senate seat.
In Rivers, Wike Has PDP In His Pocket
In Rivers East senatorial district, the incumbent, Senator George Sekibo, has no plans to return to the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, as he is alleged to have his eyes set on the Rivers State Government House come 2023.
However, the battle for the senatorial seat would be between Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and former Commissioner for Education, Chief Allwell Onyesoh.
Although, there are rumours that Wike is planning to run as a vice presidential candidate in 2023, he has the structure of the PDP in his pocket and can use it against Onyesoh, who only defected to the PDP from the APC less than two years ago.
In the Rivers South-East district, the incumbent, Senator Barry Mpigi, has two former senators, Lee Maeba and Olaka Nwogu, all members of the PDP to contend with.
Although Mpigi joined the PDP from the APC few months to the 2019 general election, he is alleged to have the structure and backing of the governor to return to the National Assembly in 2023.
In Rivers West district, the incumbent Senator Betty Apiafi does not enjoy the support of Governor Wike to return to the Senate in 2023.
Even if Apiafi tries to run for another term, she will have to contend with former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Prince Chibudom Nwuche, who was recently received into the PDP by Governor Wike.
In the Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 1, the incumbent, Hon. Ken Chikere is alleged not to have interest to return to the Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
However, the member representing Port Harcourt Constituency 3 in the Rivers House of Assembly, Hon. Smart Adoki, is alleged to be the anointed of the governor to take over from Chikere.
Adoki has a large followership and has structure and loyalists within the party that can deliver for him during the primaries.
In the Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency, the incumbent, Hon. Boniface Emerengwa, seems not to have the support of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to return to the Green Chambers in 2023.
Emerengwa will be struggling it out with the chairman of Ikwerre local government area of the state, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, who has the structure and backing of the governor to go to the House of Representatives in 2023.
Governor Okawa Wants His Senatorial Seat BackThe three senators in Delta State are Peter Nwaoboshi, Ovie Omo Agege and James Manager, representing Delta North, Central and South respectively.
The likely challenger to Senator Nwaoboshi is Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who wants to return to the Senate for a second term after his second term tenure as governor of Delta State. Nwaoboshi as APC Senator has the backing of the party but he is likely to be running mate to Omo Agege who has governorship ambition in 2023.
It is also been speculated that Hon Ndidi Elumelu, who is the minority leader, House of Representatives, and Hon Onyemachi Marakpor, former House of Representatives member, also of the PDP, are eyeing the position. If the governor is not going back to the Senate, then he is going to back either Elumelu or Marakpor who are his loyalists. They are party members and are equally popular in the party. Meanwhile, Victor Ochei, former speaker of the state assembly, may later indicate interest.
Senator Omo Agege is of APC and cannot have the governor’s backing. The deputy Senate president has governorship ambition and may not likely recontest the senatorial seat, meaning that a PDP member, Hon Evelyn Oboro, former member of House of Representatives and presently Commissioner for Water Resources, is a major contender to replace him.
Definitely, Governor Okowa will support Oboro any day especially when the woman has the support of the party, PDP. Also, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, 2015 former governorship candidate of APC, is warming up to replace Omo Agege.
In Delta South, Senator James Manager is campaigning to be governor in 2023 but many believe he is doing that to negotiate his way back to the Senate because the governorship slot has been zoned to Delta Central. Manager, a PDP member, has former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, and chairman, Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Michael Diden to contend with.
However, the governor will support Manager because of the cat and mouse relationship between him and Uduaghan. Okowa as the leader of the party may influence the party to support Manager who is more popular in the party than Uduaghan.
Ben Ayade Looking To Senate
The three senators representing Cross River North, South and Central senatorial districts definitely have gladiators within and outside their party, the PDP, who are likely going to fight them in the forthcoming primary elections later this year. Cross River is predominantly a PDP state, despite the fact that the state governor is of the APC. Since the advent of democracy in 1999, the state has consistently been led by a PDP governor if not for the incumbent Governor Ben Ayade who defected to the APC.
The only senator who would have received the governor’s blessings for a rerun in 2023 elections would have been Senator Stephen Odey. Unfortunately, he was asked by the court to vacate his seat for his political arch rival, Sen. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, who now represents Cross River North Senatorial district at the National Assembly.
This is because in the Senator representing Cross River South senatorial district, Senator Gershom Bassey, a two-term lawmaker and a core PDP man, is jostling to run for the seat of governor. At the moment no political gladiator has indicated interest to contest election in the South to replace Sen. Bassey.
In Cross River Central Senatorial district, Senator Sandy Onoh of the PDP, who like his South counterpart, is also jostling to take over from Governor Ben Ayade, whose tenure would end by the end of 2022, had already prepared his political arsenal to ensure that no one ousts him from office. Those close to Prof. Onoh are of the opinion that besides the academic’s struggling to secure the PDP ticket to enable him pursue his governorship ambition, he will also do everything humanly possible to secure the senatorial ticket again, just in case he is unable to secure the governorship ticket.
Even though the picture of who will contest the senatorial election in the PDP with Sandy isn’t clear, there are indications that he has a battle to contend with, as the former presidential adviser on anti-corruption, Barr. Obono Okoi Obla, whose campaign posters are already flooding virtually all the streets of the central senatorial district, indicating that he is going to run for Senate come 2023.
In the Cross River North Senatorial district where Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe is senator, the only aspirant giving headache to him is Governor Ayade who is perceived by many as nursing ambition of going for the Senate ticket on the platform of the APC after his governorship tenure ends.
However, in the PDP, the picture is not yet clear for now. No aspirant has come out to indicate interest to contest the Senatorial ticket with senator Jarigbe.
2022 Osun Guber Race Eclipsing Lawmakers’ Plans
The major focus of an average politician in Osun State for now is the gubernatorial election slated for this year.
Whoever emerges as the governor on whichever party platform will determine in no small measure who emerges as members of parliament at the red, green or state chambers.
The power tussle within the ruling APC between the incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his predecessor and current Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola, will no doubt impact on who emerges as candidates of the party.
Currently, the two senator from Osun Central Senatorial district, Bashir Ajibola and that of Osun West, Adelere Oriolowo, both of APC, are in support of Governor Oyetola and for obvious reasons – the governor support them as well.
However, a major senatorial contender from Osun West from Aregbesola camp is the former Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Folasayo Salam.
For Osun East that has Senator Francis Fadahunsi as the sitting senator, there is yet to emerge any contender as his party, the PDP, is battling internal crises.
In Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu Has No Say
In Lagos State, it is a different political scenario when it comes to who represents the people in the Senate. It is not an all-comer’s affair in the sense that a particular party in the last 23 years, controlled by politicians who identify with the “progressives” fold that metamorphosed into APC, has governed the state.
In Lagos State the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, leads other stakeholders in the Governance Advisory Council to decide the best candidates for senatorial positions. It is not in the purview of the state governor to decide. In fact, the governor’s support does not count.
Presently, Lagos senators include Tinubu’s wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Lagos Central, Senator Tokunbo Abiru, Lagos East, and Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, Lagos West, and if they are going to be retained or not in the upper chambers, they will be given right of first refusal depending on decision of party leaders.
Two Senators Ready To Take On Governor Makinde
In Oyo State, the ruling PDP has one only one senator while the opposition APC has the remaining two.
The PDP senator, Kola Balogun, representing Oyo South in the National Assembly, has not indicated any interest to contest the governorship of the state.
In APC, Senators Teslim Folarin (Oyo Central) and Fatal Buhari have eyes on the Agodi Government House come 2023.
Senator Buhari, who was rated the best in terms of representation at the National Assembly, had started consultations and is showing interest in the coveted seat.
There is no way the governor could support them because of party affiliations. Their constraints may include, among others, the party’s zoning arrangements and the decision of the people of the state to a change of government.
Contenders In Ekiti Bracing Up Epic Fights
In Ekiti State, the ruling APC has two senators, Opeyemi Bamidele (Central) and Olubumi Adetumbi (North), at the National Assembly.
Senator Biodun Olujimi of the PDP is presently representing Ekiti South.
As of now, there are no known challengers to both Bamidele, who is also in the race for the June 18 governorship election in the state, and Adetumbi in their party, APC.
They seem to still enjoy the governor’s support and the party’s backing as well. They are popular among party members.
A prominent member of the PDP and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Kehinde Agboola, who represents Ekiti North federal constituency, is said to be interested in the Senate ticket for the Northern senatorial zone of the state.
All of these, however, may change after the conclusion of the governorship election coming up in less than six months, when those eyeing the seats will openly come out to declared their aspirations.
For Senator Olujimi, who has also declared her intention to contest the governorship poll on the platform of the PDP, she is likely to have a challenger in the former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Segun Adekola.
Adekola, a strong member of PDP faction loyal to the former governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, represented Ekiti South federal constituency l in the eighth National Assembly.
One Emure Ekiti-born Nicholas Tai Faweya has also registered his intention to vie for the South senatorial ticket on the platform of APC.