Since 2007, a trend evolved on the political turf when outgoing governors pick up the senatorial tickets of their zones to contest for the upper chambers of the National Assembly. It has became the norm for governors that have served two terms to emerge as automatic senatorial candidates.
The journey of the outgoing governors to the red chambers of the National Assembly has always been fraught with controversies, bitter contest and bad blood. The governors who elevated themselves to the leadership of the state chapters of their party ride rough shod over everyone to grab the senatorial ticket.
In 2007 former Governors Ahmed Markarfi of Kaduna State, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, George Akume of Benue State and a host of others moved direct from government houses to the Senate almost seamlessly after displacing the incumbent senators amidst protests.
In 2011, very few outgoing governors like Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State came out to tell Nigerians that they would go back to their private businesses after their second term. While Idris was on his way to his hospitality business, his colleague in Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki was moving to the Senate to keep alive the new fad of former governors retiring to the Senate. Some of these former governors sat in the hollowed chambers of the National Assembly making laws for the citizens of the country despite the fact that they were facing corruption charges.
It is widely believed that most of the former governors that do not indicate interest in retiring to the Senate are those that performed abysmally low during their tenure and are scared of asking for the mandate of their people to represent them at the National Assembly.
In the run up to the 2015 general elections, some outgoing governors indicated interest in contesting for senatorial election. While most of the outgoing governors got the ticket of the political parties, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State and his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan were played out of senatorial ticket. Expectedly, the two governors faced very stiff opposition in their bid to upstage the incumbent senator but lost the battle before the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
While the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, used every arsenal at his disposal to neutralise Governor Chime, the Delta State governor was dissuaded from contesting for the PDP senatorial ticket against Senator James Manager, after a deal was struck for Governor Uduaghan to pick his successor. Unfortunately, after Uduaghan gave up his senatorial ambition his choice successor lost the PDP ticket to Senator Ifeanyi Uduaghan.
With the outcome of the March 25 presidential and National Assembly election, three outgoing governor and two former governors got the shock of their life when they lost their bid to move to the Senate. The outgoing governors and former governors that are yet to come to terms with the outcome of last weekend election are Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Usman Dakingari (Kebbi), chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and former governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and former Governor of Anambra State and incumbent senator, Dr. Chris Ngige.
In Bauchi, Yuguda lost his bid to represent Bauchi South senatorial district in the Senate as Mallam Ali Wakili, a retired Comptroller of Customs, beat him in a landslide victory.
Declaring the results, the Collating Officer and Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Dr. Shuibu Musa, announced that Wakili of the All Progressives Congress scored 341,708 to defeat Yuguda of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 115, 575 votes.
In Benue State, Suswam lost Benue North East senatorial election to incumbent Senator Barnabas Gemade who was a former National Chairman of the PDP before he defected to the opposition party.
Announcing the results, Prof. Ignatius Ada declared that Gemade scored the highest votes of 140,715 to defeat Suswam who polled a total of 118, 603 votes with a wide margin of 22,112.
Benue North East senatorial district comprises of seven local government areas, Kwande, Ushongo, Vandeikya, Logo, Ukum, Katsina-Ala and Konshisha. Gemade is from Konshisha, while Suswam is from Logo.
In Anambra State Ngige lost to a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Ekwunife. Ngige was pushed to the third place at the end of the keen contest. Ekwunife polled 10, 54 while Umeh scored 77,129 and Ngige 20,850 votes.
However, it was landslide victory for Governors Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Jonah David Jang (Plateau), Theodore Orji (Abia), Godswill Akapbio (Akwa Ibom) and incumbent senator and former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, and former Governor of Ebonyi State Dr. Sam Egwu, all won their senatorial districts elections to book their seats in the senate in the next dispensation.
Governor Aliyu Wamakko, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, scored 225,642 to defeat the present senator representing the zone on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Maccido. Senator Maccido scored 65,692 votes.
Governor Godswill Akpabio, winner of Saturday Senatorial election in the sAkwa Ibom North West district mercilessly trounced his opponent when he polled a whopping 422,009 of the 439,449 to defeat Chief Inibehe Okorie of the All Progressive Congress who recorded a paltry15, 152 votes.
In Abia State Governor Theodore Orji was declared winner with 65,653 votes in a very tight race. INEC Returning Officer, Dr. Innocent Okoro, a lecturer at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, said the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Barrister Ahamdi Nweke scored 46,070 while the APC scored 10, 204.
In Ebonyi North, former governor Dr. Sam Egwu secured a total of 78, 620 votes to beat his Labour Party, LP, rival and member of the House of Representatives, Chief Peter Ogeali, who polled 53, 890 votes.
Senator Bukola Saraki again proved that he is the undisputable political kingmaker in Kwara state as he is coming back to the Senate with a landslide victory. Saraki emerged winner of the Senatorial election with 118,879 votes, defeating his closest co-contestant from the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Abdulrasak Abdulrahman, who polled 66,864.
Also coming to the senate is the Taraba Acting Governor Abubakar Sani Danladi who was declared the winner of the Taraba North senatorial election, reports.
Danladi will be replacing Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan who is the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Taraba state.
He polled 106 163 votes to beat Sani Kona of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who garnered 99, 446 votes.
Danladi, who had been impeached by the House of Assembly but recently reinstated by the court, was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election.
While the outgoing and former governors are basking in the euphoria of their electoral victory, Nigerians are not too enthusiastic about their coming to the upper chamber of the National Assembly. The reservation of Nigerians is not unconnected to the poor score card of some former governors in the parliament. Some of the former governors only pick up senatorial tickets at the end of their second term to remain visible on the political landscape.
Only few former governors like Makarfi justified their election to the Senate. Some of the former governors are completely lost on the radar of the Senate once they are inaugurated, even though they are very prompt to collect their outrageous allowances.
However, despite the poor performance of some past governors in the National Assembly, Nigerians are expecting a very vibrant Senate with the coming of outspoken chairman of the PDP governors’ forum, Dr Godswill Akpabio. The political tsunami that swept away the PDP as the dominant party in the national assembly is also expected to impact on the level of debate expected from the former and outgoing PDP governors.

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