Different Strokes: A Tale Of Former Governors In The Senate


The influx of former Governors into the Nigerian Senate is something that has been a major cause of discussion all across the country. Findings have shown that people seek election into the Senate for different purposes. While some are voted because their constituents believe in them as well as their ability to provide qualitative representation, for some others, their track records paved the way for them. In some cases however, the desire to remain relevant politically pushed many into the race for the Senate. Some are however there because no one in their zone can match their political and financial muscles.
The ages of the Senators being between 47 and 75, also says something about the electorate. It is obvious that in some areas, voters seem to believe in experience. That accounts for some Senators being in sent to the Senate for the third time.
It is also being said that some former Governors who looted their states dry are in the Senate just to empower themselves and garner some more political connections especially as their battles with the anti-graft agencies continue. Some former Governors however got there by virtue of the exemplary performances they put up during their terms of office.
One of the former Governors now holding sway as Senators is Joshua Dariye who governed Plateau State between 1999 and 2007. Many still remember that he was arrested in London for being in possession of large sums of money in 2004. He however skipped bail and returned to Nigeria to resume his duties as Governor. He was sacked twice as Governor and twice he came back to office. The first was when a State of Emergency was declared in his state by the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo. Many also remember that he became the first Governor to be impeached after Nigeria’s return to democracy. The impeachment was however declared illegal and the courts ordered that he should be re-instated about 27 days to the expiration of his tenure.
Dariye proved a political point by quitting the Peoples’ Democratic Party for Labour Party which provided him the platform that got him to the Senate. His main opponent at the polls was Dr. Dauda Gowon, younger brother to the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charged him to court for the embezzlement of state funds in 2006 but till date, Dariye the case has not reached a logical conclusion.
Two of Kwara State’s representatives in the Senate are former Governors. Alhaji Mohammed Shaba Lafiagi who represents Kwara North ruled the State during the botched Third Republic. The Waziri of Ilorin, Chief Olusola Saraki was largely instrumental to his emergence as Governor then.
The immediate past Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki represents the Kwara North Senatorial District. Allegations of gross mismanagement during his time at the Societe Genarale Bank trailed his emergence as Governor but the Medical Doctor turned Banker and later politician has continued to wax stronger politically. He seems poised to step into the father’s shoes as the political godfather in Kwara politics. He supported a candidate who emerged as Governor against his own sister who had the backing of their father. Though a new entrant into the Senator, it was an open secret that he had his eyes on the seat of the President of the Senate.
Another former Governor in the Senate is George Akume, representing Benue West Senatorial District. He became a Senator in 2007 after ruling his state for 8 years. He was re-elected to the Senate in April 2011 on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria. It is a common saying in terms of infrastructures; Akume left Makurdi worse than he met it.
Street Journal had also reported years ago that when George Akume’s passport was seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Faridah Waziri signed for its release on the 8th November, 2007.
The story is however different for Alhaji Mohammed Danjuma Goje. That he is loved by the people of Gombe is not in doubt and all across the state, it is unanimously agreed that the former Governor left indelible marks. He successfully embarked on a water provision project and not only do the people of Gombe have him to thank; the Gombe Water Works is adjudged one of the most modern in the country. Alhaji Danjuma Goje obviously has a place in Gombe history as the Gombe Airport, Gombe State University and School of Nursing all came into existence during his time as Governor.
Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim is a political record holder in Yobe State. He became the first executive Governor of the state months after it was created in 1991 and he was in office till November, 1993. He was elected again in 1999 and he ruled till 2007.
Now he represents Yobe East Senatorial District and one of the things he was known for as Governor was the breaking of the four emirates in the state into about thirteen.
Within a short time of being elected, people of Anambra Central have reasons to believe that Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige will not fail them at the Senate. He has proved that he is capable of making meaningful contributions and his constituents believe his presence in the senate will have positive effects on the senatorial district.
He was the Governor of Anambra State and his battle with his erstwhile godfather, Chris Uba caused a stir in the whole state. The 2003 nullification of his election did not affect his popularity in the state and till date, “Onwa” as he is fondly called is a man of the people. His three years in the Governor’s office were spent executing people-oriented projects.
When it comes to political experience, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, the former Governor of Nasarawa State has a wealth of it. He was in the Constituent Assembly in the second republic and during the Abacha regime; he was the Minister of State for Works and Housing. He governed Nasarawa between 1999 and 2007. He had the honour of welcoming Queen Elizabeth II of England to his state during the Queen’s visit to Nigeria in 2003. He became a member of the PDP Board of Trustees and by April, 2011, he won the election into the Nasarawa West Senatorial District.
It will however be recalled that in 2010, Alhaji Adamu was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the allegation that he mismanaged $ 100 million belonging to Nasarawa State.
Architect Kabiru Gaya, a former Governor of Kano State too is a member of the Nigerian Senate. He Governed Kano between 1992 and 93. He became the Senator representing Kano South District in 2007 and he was re-elected in the last election.
Andy Uba too might be classified as a former Governor, though he has the record of being the shortest reigning Governor in the country. He was governor for just fourteen days.
He was former President Obasanjo’s Special Assistant of Special Duties and Domestic Affairs. Many still remember the illegal transportation of $170,000 to the United States via a presidential plane by Uba in 2003. Uba’s election was nullified after the courts ruled that though Peter Obi won the 2003 elections, his tenure only started in March 2006, and as such he had three more years to spend in office. Since the Nigerian constitution does not recognise a Governor-in-waiting, Uba’s 2007 electoral victory became a nullity. His political journey thereafter took him to the Labour Party where he contested against Peter Obi in 2010. He later returned to the PDP and has become the Senator representing the Anambra South District.
Many Nigerians still wonder how some of the former Governors got to the Senate, especially those who still have cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. That has also cast a lot of doubts on the sincerity of the commission as far as fighting corruption is concerned.

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