No fewer than 28 serving and former governors will be on the ballot to contest for different senatorial seats as they continue the tradition of governors moving to the red chamber as a retirement home.
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Nine serving governors and 19 former governors are on the INEC list for the February 25 election. A further review of the INEC list by Applesbite shows that 15 of them are running on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, 12 belong to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, while Ibrahim Shekarau’s name appears under the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.
It would be recalled that Mr Shekarau already left the NNPP, however, his name appears as the candidate for the NNPP.
Applesbite reviews the candidates and their chances of winning the seat.
Mr Nnamani, a former Governor of Enugu State, is seeking re-election in Enugu East Senatorial District for another term.
Ordinarily, as the candidate of the PDP, election in Enugu is always a one-party affair, but two things may give the Nnamani a challenging time.
First, he was recently expelled by the PDP for his support for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu. However, he has challenged the power of the National Working Committee of the PDP to expel him.
Nnamani also has to contend with the impact of the Obedient movement as the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi is very popular in the State.
The former Governor Oshiomhole seems to have set his sights on the Red Chamber to represent Edo North Senatorial District.
The Edo North senatorial district remains the stronghold of the APC in Edo State and the former APC National Chairman fancies himself to get the votes in the zone.
He will have to contend with the Labour Party and the PDP in the region. Also, the ongoing scarcity of the redesigning of the naira is one other fact he may have to contend with.
After an 8-year stay at the executive side, Governor Ayade is seeking to return to the Senate to once again represent Cross River North, a district he represented from 2011 to 2015.
He opted for the senatorial ticket after a failed bid for the presidential ticket of the APC.
He will have to contend with the fact that he has never won an election on the platform of any other political party other than the PDP.
Since 1999, Cross River has voted PDP all through, it remains to be seen if he will flip the state to the ruling party.
Then there is the growing influence of the LP in the state.
Like Ayade, Umahi, Ebonyi State Governor, will be contesting an election for the very first time in a party that is not the PDP.
The PDP has been contending with an internal crisis due to a dispute over the leadership of the party, but Ebonyi has never voted for a party other than PDP.
He will be battling the incumbent senator, Nnachi Ama, who represents Ebonyi South.
Like other Southeast and Southsouth states, Umahi will have to contend with the effect of Peter Obi, as the election will be on the same day.
The former Governor of Kebbi State had to decamp to the PDP to recontest his senatorial seat after the incumbent governor, Atiku Bagudu set his sights on it.
The two of them will have to battle for the Kebbi Central Senatorial district.
Then, there is also the fact of the NNPP, a party that is growing in the Northwest.
Governor Tambuwal is seeking a second journey to the National Assembly.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives is on the verge of rounding up his second term as governor of Sokoto State.
He is contesting for Sokoto North senatorial district. First, he will have to stop his former ally, Aliyu Wamakko, who is seeking to retake the State for the APC.
The battle for Taraba South senatorial district is getting hot between Governor Ishaku and a member of the House of Representatives, Danjuma Shidi of the APC.
While the governor is facing allegations of poor performance, however, Taraba State has always been a PDP stronghold and the APC has been battling with some internal wrangling.
The governor of Benue State is rounding up his tenure as governor, and like others, he is seeking to move to the Senate to represent Benue Northwest Senatorial district.
He will have to contend with the growing popularity of APC and its governorship candidate, Hyacinth Alia.
The Yes Father movement appears to be a Tsunami in the state, and there is sympathy for the Obedient movement in the state.
Although, the candidate of the LP, Mark Gbillah is also battling with the appearance of his name in two parties. According to INEC, Gbillah is the candidate of both LP and NNPP.
Interestingly, Ortom has endorsed Peter Obi for president.
The governor of Abia State is following the established pattern of governors by moving to the senate.
He is seeking to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, Orji Uzor Kalu and Theodore Orji.
Ikpeazu, a member of the G5 group will have to contend with the Obedient movement, who may vote in a uniform pattern.
He will also have to battle with the former minority leader of the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe, who is the candidate of APGA.
Abubakar Sani Bello
The Governor of Niger State also has his eyes set on the Red Chamber to represent Niger North.
The main challenge for the governor is that the incumbent senator, Sabi Abdulahi appears to be aggrieved over the ticket.
Weeks back, Mr Abdulahi attempted to hold a rally for the presidential candidate of the APC; however, the venue was shut down by security forces.
The former Governor of Gombe State is the candidate for Gombe North senatorial district.
In 2018, Mr Dankwabo sought the presidential ticket of the PDP but lost to the eventual winner of the primary, Atiku Abubakar.
However, he has moved down a bit to instead go to the Senate.
Although he is sympathetic to the G5 Governors, considering that his election is on the same day as that of Atiku, he may not have the luxury of not working with the former Vice President.
The former Governor of Zamfara State is seeking to return to a familiar territory— the National Assembly.
He was in the House of Representatives until he was elected as governor in 2011. In 2019, he was elected into the Senate, but his election, alongside other APC positions in Zamfara was invalidated by the court.
Yari engaged in a battle with Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, but the party appears to be united after the governor gave the senatorial tickets to Yari and Kabir Marafa.
Yari will have to contend with the effect of Atiku Abubakar in the state.
The governor of Enugu state is also seeking to return to the National Assembly for Enugu North Senatorial District. It would be recalled that he was a member of the House of Representatives before becoming a governor.
Just like Chimaroke Nnamani, ordinarily, there should not be a conversation about Enugu State, but there is the Obedient wave. He will have to contend with Okey Ezea of the Labour Party.
However, it is unclear if the wave will be strong enough to shake Ugwanyi and the Ebeano political dynasty in the state.
The governor of Plateau State and Director General of the Tinubu/Shettima campaign is also seeking to move to the Senate.
While it appears that the governor seems to focus on the Tinubu campaign as he moves around the country, there seems to be a tough battle at home.
One, PDP is still formidable in the state and secondly, there is the growing popularity of the Obedient movement in the state. To win the Plateau South election, he must overcome both PDP and LP
The former Governor of Ogun State is also seeking to move to the Senate.
Mr Daniel, who was the governor of Ogun from 2003 to 2011 is the APC candidate in Ogun East senatorial district.
He will have to contend with the ongoing wrangling within his party as former governor Ibikunle Amosun is backing the ADC for the governorship election.
The former Governor of Sokoto State has been in the Senate since 2015 and is once again seeking re-election.
He is also battling with Governor Aminu Tambuwal of the PDP for control of the state political structure.
Gaya was governor of Kano State in the Third Republic (1992-1993).
He currently represents Kano South in the Senate; however, he will have to cross the hurdle against Kawu Abdulrrahaman of the NNPP.
The popularity of Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the NNPP, may have an impact on the senatorial election.
Almakura, the former governor of Nasarawa State is seeking re-election to represent Nasarawa South senatorial District.
While PDP and LP are popular in Nasarawa State, Almakura is expected to win the election.
The former Governor of Gombe State is still contesting under the APC despite the dispute with Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State.
However, Mr Goje was later given the ticket but concerns remain as PDP is mounting a challenge in the state.
Orji Uzor Kalu
The former Governor of Abia State pulled a surprise in 2019 when he won Abia North Senatorial district.
Mr Kalu was governor from 1999 to 2007, but he did not move to the Senate until 2019.
Pundits believe that Kalu will have a strong claim for the Senate President in the event that APC wins the majority in the Senate.
But like most states in the southeast, there is the impact of the Obedient movement, coupled with the fact that Abia State is a strong PDP State.
Campaigning with the possibility of becoming the number three citizen may help in swaying voters.
After 4 years of sabbatical from the Senate, Akpabio is making another attempt.
The former Akwa Ibom State governor is yet to win any election in APC since he moved there.
Akpabio has both PDP and LP blocking his way to the Senate.
The former governor of Bayelsa is also seeking re-election on the platform of the PDP. He may not have a tough task in the state.
The former governor of Benue State will also contend with APC and LP, similar to the challenges facing Governor Ortom.
It is unclear if the endorsement of Peter Obi by Ortom will affect his election against the LP senatorial candidate.
The former minister of education and one time governor of Ebonyi State is once again seeking re-election to the Senate.
Mr Egwu will have to contend with APC and LP, the two parties pulling weight in the state.
Turaki was governor of Jigawa State from 1999 to 2007, and he was in the senate between 2007 to 2011 where he represented Jigawa northwest.
Now, he is seeking to return to the Senate again.
The former Governor of Kano State is NNPP senatorial candidate for Kano Central Senatorial district despite that he has moved to PDP.
It is unclear if Shekarau is still campaigning for the Senate.
Governor Bagudu will be facing a former governor of Kebbi State, Adamu Aleiro.
Mr Aleiro left the APC after it became obvious he may not get the re-run ticket under the party since Governor Bagudu is also from the same senatorial district.
The former Yobe State governor got the nod of his party to re-contest the seat.
Akinshola Akintelure is a Content Writer, a tech savvy and Social Media Manager.