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2023: National Assembly members who want to be governors

Customs official dies during committee meeting at National Assembly

Ahead of the 2023 general election, some members of the National Assembly in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are making moves to take over the mantle of leadership in their states, especially where the governors are serving out their second terms.

This practice has been in place since 2007 when many governors completed their second terms and some National Assembly members succeeded them while other former states’ chief executive officers moved to National Assembly, especially the Senate, which some pundits described as “retirement home” for ex-governors.

Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu)

Ekweremadu, is a three-time deputy Senate president who from all indications is jostling to become Enugu State Governor in 2023. He had attempted to run for the governorship position in 2015 but was not given the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket, as according to the then Governor Sullivan Chime, it was the turn of another zone.

Ekweremadu later renegotiated his way to the Senate and was lucky to emerge as the deputy president, a feat he could not repeat in 2019 but compensated with chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Environment.

His supporters have been clamouring for him to be elected the governor of Enugu State now that all the three senatorial districts in the state have occupied the position and that would not be an impeding factor. In fact, last week in Abuja, at the public presentation of a book co-authored by Toby Okechukwu, deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ekweremadu was hailed with shouts of “incoming Governor” to his visible delight.

Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta)

Like his predecessor, Ekweremadu, the current Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege is believed to be one of the top contenders for the job of Delta State governor, come 2023. As the highest political office holder in the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Delta State, the Senator is well positioned to clinch its governorship ticket.

When he declared his intention to run for Delta governorship a few days ago, a mammoth crowd cheered him. A political group, Grassroots Marshalls for Ovie Omo-Agege, was inaugurated last year to champion his governorship ambition ahead of the 2023 general election, and has been doing mobilization for the senator ever since.

Patron of the group, Tony Ochuko Onyokoko said at the inauguration, that it was formed for the purpose of campaigning for Ovie Omo-Agege to become the next governor of Delta State.

Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia)

Enyi Abaribe, as he is fondly called, has since made his intention known. The Senate Minority Leader and a former deputy governor of Abia State had since declared his aspiration to contest for governorship in his home state, Abia. He officially let the cat out of the bag last year’s Christmas in Umuahia when a group paid him a visit.

He had said at a reception in his Ahiaba country home, Obingwa Local Government Area of the state that: “… I am telling the people of Abia to look forward to seeing me in charge come 2023.’’

Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba)

Bwacha is the immediate past Deputy Senate Minority Leader and lawmaker representing Taraba South Senatorial District. Bwacha who recently defected from PDP to APC is considered to be among the major governorship contenders in Taraba State in 2023.

The lawmaker gave an indication to contest for governorship when, he in a media interview, said: “If I may ask, am I qualified to be a governor? The answer is yes. When governors finish their tenures, they switch to the Senate. And I am coming from the Senate to become a governor. How will you describe this scenario? So, there is no big deal if I want to become governor.”

James Manager (Delta)

Manager, the longest serving Senator who has been in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly since 1999, is said to be among those eyeing the governorship position in Delta on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). His ambition became popular when viral picture on social media showed him kneeling before James Ibori, a former governor of the state to get the latter’s blessing for his ambition.

Barau Jibrin (Kano)

Jibrin is a two-term senator and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who was in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. The lawmaker is among the top politicians jostling to take over Kano State Government House in 2023 under the banner of APC.
Jibrin, who is openly canvassing for support, had his governorship campaign office situated around Maiduguri Road in Kano, which has allegedly been burnt by hoodlums on the prompting of his political rivals.

Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina)

Kaita is the lawmaker representing Katsina North, the Senatorial District of
President Muhammadu Buhari and is believed to be one of the top contenders to succeed Aminu Masari as governor using the broom platform.
Although he is yet to declare for the race, his constituents have since commenced campaign for him via the social media and other platforms.

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (Kano)

Ado-Doguwa is the current majority leader of the House of Representatives and had also served as Chief Whip of the Green Chamber in the 8th Assembly. He is one of those being rumoured to be surveying the political turf of Kano as far as the Kano governorship race is concerned.
There are permutations that as an associate of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje whose tenure ends May 29, 2023 the lawmaker is weighing the options of succeeding his benefactor or returning to the House for possible emergence as Speaker.

Herman Hembe (Benue)

The forth-term lawmaker who got his mandate severally on the platform of the PDP, APC and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is seriously consulting to become Benue State Governor in 2023. He has been meeting with groups and political blocs in Benue to inform them of his ambition to govern the state. He is currently a member of APC and one of the relatively young aspirants.

Read also: Why 2023 should matter to Nigerians

Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa)

Namdas, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Army and House spokesperson in the 8th Assembly is seriously consulting, if not campaigning for the governorship ticket of his party, the APC to take the reins of power in Adamawa come 2023.

Onofiok Luke (Akwa-Ibom)

Luke is the current Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Judiciary and prominent member of the Young Parliammentarian Forum. The former Speaker of the Akwa-Ibom State House of Assembly is one of those who want to govern the oil-rich South-South state in 2023.

Sha’aban Sharada (Kano)

Sharada who represents Kano Municipal Constituency and is Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence last week declared his interest to join the race for the governorship seat in the state.
Sharada is a member of the G7, a factional APC in Kano led by Ibrahim Shekarau, former Kano State Governor and serving Senator representing Kano Central Senatorial district.
He declared his interest at a “Grand Empowerment Program” he organised to distribute various empowerment items running into multi-million naira to the beneficiaries which cut across the 44 local government areas of the state.
The lawmaker said he has designed a road map to change the fortune of Kano people for the good when he takes over the mantle of leadership from Governor Abdullahi Ganduje in 2023.

Benjamin Kalu (Abia)

The 9th House of Representatives spokesperson and lawmaker representing Bende Federal Constituency is said to be nursing governorship ambition in 2023.
This is based on his response at a media interface that: “The people sent me to come here, it also the same people that we are talking about; the people having the centre stage that will decide if I am fit enough to go up or continue where I am. It is the people that will take that decision.”