Seven serving governors’ bid to become senators stopped

*Ayade, Lalong, Ishaku, Ortom, Ugwuanyi

Ime Akpan

The presidential and national assembly elections held last Saturday, February 25, have produced some interesting outcomes one of which is putting paid to the ambition of seven serving to move from the government houses in their various states to hibernate in the senate as lawmakers.

In no particular order, they include Messrs Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Darius Ishyaku of Taraba State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, and Simon Lalong of Plateau State.

Equally, Messrs Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, Kabiru Gaya of Kano State, and Sam Egwu of Ebonyi State are former state governors who were retired from the senate last Saturday.

First, Cross River State. For eight years, the governor of the state, Prof Ben Ayade, has been known for adopting jaw-breaking phrases for budget titles. They include Budget of Deep Vision, 2016; Budget of Infinite Transposition, 2017; Budget of kinetic crystallization, 2018; Budget of Qabalistic Densification, 2019; Budget of Olimpotic Meritemasis, 2020;Budget of Blush and Bliss, 2021; Budget of Conjugated Agglutination, 2022; and Budget of quantum infinitum, 2023.

The Kakum, Obudu-born professor was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 2011 to 2021 when he moved to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The bombastic governor, who completes his second term mandate on May 29, 2023, emerged candidate of the APC for Cross River North Senatorial District in a rerun held on July 14, 2022.

On February 25, Ayade was reduced to a quivering baby after he was roundly beaten by a sitting PDP senator for Cross River North, Mr. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe to clinch the senate seat.


The returning officer of the senatorial district, Dr Emmanuel Emanghe who announced the result said  Jarigbe received 76,145 to defeat Ayade who polled 56, 595 votes.

Jarigbe was a two-time member of the house of representatives before becoming senator through a bye-election following the death of the senator who represented the district, Dr Rose Okoh, in September 2021 .

The governor of Kebbi State, Mr. Abubakar Bagudu who has been governor on the platform of the APC since 2015, lost the senatorial contest for Kebbi Central district to a former governor of the state, Mr. Adamu Aliero.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returning officer, Prof Abubakar Bazata, said Aliero polled 126,588 votes to defeat his challenger, a serving governor under APC, Bagudu who got 92, 389 votes.

*Bagudu, Aliero

Recall that Aliero was a member of the APC. He joined the PDP in the build-up to the 2023 election after a disagreement with Bagudu over the control of the APC structure in the state.

Bagudu has been governor of Kebbi State on APC ticket since 2025.

In Taraba State, the incumbent governor, Mr. Darius Ishaku of the PDP lost the Taraba South senatorial district election to the candidate of the APC, Mr. David Jimkuta.

INEC’s returning officer for the election Prof Solomon Adeyeye announced the election result in the Wukari local government area – the senatorial headquarters of the Taraba south zone.

According to him, Jimkuta polled 85,415 votes to defeat Ishaku who got 45,708 votes.


The governor who is completing his second terms in office was defeated by a margin of 39,707 votes.

Ishaku has been governor since 2015.

In Abia State, INEC declared the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Enyinnaya Abaribe as the winner of the senatorial election in Abia South District.

He defeated the incumbent governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu of the PDP.

The returning officer for senatorial zone and professor of banking and finance at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Georgina Ugwuanyi, announced the result at the collation centre in Aba.

She said Abaribe got the highest number of votes in the election, having scored 49,903 votes.

*Abaribe, Ikpeazu

She further announced that the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Mr. Chinedu Onyeizu, scored 43,903, while Ikpeazu got 28,422 votes to come third.

The returning officer also announced the results of the Aba South and North Federal Constituency, with the LP candidate Mr. Emeka Nnamani winning with 35,502 votes.

She said Mr. Alex Ikwecheghi of APGA polled 22,465 votes, while the incumbent Representative, Mr. Chimaobi Ebisike, of the PDP scored 13,388 votes.

Aged 54, Ikpeazu has been governor since 2015.

In Benue State, incumbent governor, Dr Samuel Ortom of the PDP lost his bid to represent Benue Northwest constituency in the senate.

He was trounced by his erstwhile special adviser on local government and chieftaincy affairs, Mr. Titus Zam of the APC.

The returning officer, Prof. Rufus Shaato who announced the result of the poll said Zam scored a total of 143,151 to emerge winner while Ortom polled a total of 106, 882 to come second. The candidate of LP, Mr. Mark Gbillah, had a total of 51,950 votes.


Results from various polling units, ward and local government area collation centres across the senatorial district indicated that the governor lost in 6 out of the 7 local government councils winning in only his Guma local government.

Ortom won election under the APC platform in 2015, announced his departure from the party in July 2028 as a result of an internal party crisis, won the March 9, 2019 Benue gubernatorial election and March 23, 2019 Benue State supplementary governorship election.

The result of Enugu North Senatorial District showed that the incumbent governor and candidate of the PDP, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi lost to Mr. Okechukwu Ezea of Labour Party.

While Ezea scored 104,948 votes to emerge the winner, Ugwuanyi came second with 46,948 votes.


Ugwuanyi who is rounding off his second term on April 29 was a member of the house of representatives before he became governor in 2015.

The director general of the APC presidential campaign council and governor of Plateau State, Mr. Simon Lalong, also failed in his bid to clinch the Plateau South Senatorial District slot.

He lost to a retired Air Force officer, Bali Napoleon of the PDP.

The returning officer of the poll, Prof Meshak Goyit declared that Napoleon of  scored a total of 148,844 votes to defeat the governor who got 91,674 votes while Mr. Tobias Nda of the LP received 17,325 votes.

Lalong was speaker, Plateau State house of assembly between 2000 and 2006 under the platform of the PDP and became governor from 2015 to now under the platform of the APC. He is the director general of the party’s presidential campaign council.

The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate Mr. Abdurrahman Kawu Sumaila defeated the erstwhile governor of Kano State, Mr. Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya of the APC to win Kano South Senatorial District.

Gaya was governor from 1992–1993 during the aborted Third Republic.

The returning officer of INEC, Prof Ibrahim Barde, who declared the result, said the NNPP candidate received 319,857 votes to beat his APC counterpart who got 192,518 while the PDP candidate and LP candidates, Messrs Galadanci Murtala Bashir and Umar Darki got 14,880 and 2,875 votes respectively.

In Ebonyi State, the first civilian governor of the state and current representative of Ebonyi North Senatorial District, Dr Sam Egwu of the PDP, kissed the senate goodbye.

He lost the contest to Mr. Onyekachi Nwaebonyi of the APC.

The returning officer, Mr. Nwogo Obasi, who announced the result of the poll at the INEC office in Abakaliki local government, said Nwaebonyi scored 65,863 votes to win; his closest opponent, Mr. Ejiofor Chukwu of LP got 42,283 votes to emerge second while Egwu was a distant third with 26,569 votes.

*Nwaebonyi, Egwu

Egwu served as governor from May 29, 1999-May 29, 2007, minister of education, December 17, 2008 – March 17, 2010 and senator representing Ebonyi North since 2015

In Nasarawa State, the former governor and current senator representing Nasarawa south senatorial district, Mr. Tanko Al-Makura of the APC was ousted by the candidate of the PDP, Mr. Mohammed Onawo.

Declaring the result in Lafia, the returning officer, Prof Ahmed Ashiku, said Onawo got 93,064 votes to defeat Al-Makura who received 76,813 votes. Ashiku declared that Onawo, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, was returned elected.

Reacting to the outcome of the election, the state chairman of the PDP, Mr. Francis Orugu, described Onawo’s triumph as a victory for democracy.

Al-Makura has been in the senate since he served out his tenure as governor in 2019.


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