16 out of the 31 governors of the Second Republic era are alive, PREMIUM TIMES General Editor, Festus Owete, writes
The death of Solomon Daushep Lar on Wednesday has depleted the number of former state governors who held sway in the defunct Second Republic, terminated by the Muhammadu Buhari-led military coup of December 31, 1983.
Mr. Lar, who died at 80, was governor of old Plateau State (Plateau and Nasarawa state) on the platform of the defunct Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP, between October 1, 1979 and December 31, 1983.
He was sworn in alongside 18 other governors, who had won election on the platform of the then five parties registered by the defunct Federal Electoral Commission, FEDECO. There were 19 states then.
The parties were the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, Great Nigeria Peoples Party, GNPP, Peoples Redemption Party, PRP and NPP.
The Nigeria Advance Party, NAP, led by Tunji Braithwaite, was registered shortly before the 1983 elections bringing the number of parties that contested that year’s elections to six.
The NPN formed the government at the federal level in 1979, and in seven states. The states were old Sokoto (presently Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi) with Shehu Kangiwa as governor; Bauchi (Bauchi and Gombe) with Tatari Ali as governor; Rivers (Rivers and Bayelsa) with Melford Okilo as governor; Kwara (Kwara and Kogi) with Adamu Atta as governor; Niger with Awwal Ibrahim (the current Emir of Suleja) as governor; Cross River (Cross River and Akwa Ibom) with Clement Isong as governor; and Benue State (Benue and part of the present Kogi) with Aper Aku as governor.
The UPN formed governments in five states, namely Bendel (Edo and Delta) with Ambrose Alli as governor; Ogun with Olabisi Onabanjo as governor; Oyo (Oyo and Osun) with Bola Ige as governor; Ondo (Ondo and Ekiti) with Michael Ajasin as governor; and Lagos State with Lateef Jakande as governor.
The GNPP won in two states – Borno (Borno and Yobe) with Mohammed Goni as governor; and Gongola (Taraba and Adamawa) with Abubakar Barde as governor. Kano State (Kano and Jigawa) and Kaduna (Kaduna and Katsina) were ruled by Abubakar Rimi and Balarabe Musa, respectively of the PRP.
The NPP formed governments in Anambra (Anambra, Enugu and parts of Ebonyi) with Jim Nwobodo as governor; Imo (Imo and Abia) with Sam Mbakwe as governor; and Plateau State (Plateau and Nasarawa) with Mr. Lar as governor.
Those who became governor along the line were Wilberforce Juta (Gongola) and Abdu Dawakin Tofa (Kano) when their bosses resigned to contest the 1983 election on the platform of other parties. Garba Nadama became Sokoto State governor when Shehu Kangiwa died in a polo match in 1981, while Abba Musa Rimi stepped into the gubernatorial seat of Kaduna State when his boss, Balarabe Musa, was impeached by the NPN-dominated House of Assembly.
Those who emerged governors in the 1983 elections were Christian Onoh (NPN, Anambra), Sam Ogbemudia (NPN, Bendel), Bamanga Tukur (NPN, Gongola), Donald Etiebet (NPN, Cross River), Sabo Barkin Zuwo (PRP, Kano), Omololu Olunloyo (NPN, Oyo), Lawal Kaita (NPN, Kaduna), Asheik Jarma (NPN, Borno), and Cornelius Adebayo (UPN, Kwara).
With Mr. Lar’s death, only 16 of the first civilian governors of their states are still living. They are Samuel Ogbemudia, Garba Nadama, Awwal Ibrahim, Lateef Jakande, Cornelius Adebayo, Adamu Atta, Jim Nwobodo and Wilberforce Juta.
Others are Dawakin Tofa, Omololu Olunloyo, Mohammed Goni, Asheik Jarma, Bamanga Tukur, Balarabe Musa, Abba Rimi and Lawal Kaita.
Only about five of the Second Republic governors have flown high in the current Fourth Republic political dispensation, going by the positions they occupied or are occupying. They are Messrs Lar, Tukur, Okilo, Nwobodo and Adebayo.
Mr. Lar was the first National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, while Mr. Tukur is the incumbent chairman of the ruling party. On their parts, Messrs Okilo and Nwobodo were senators between 1999 and 2003, while Mr. Adebayo was Communications Minister under the civilian regime of Olusegun Obasanjo.
Other former governors who tried to play relevant roles in the current dispensation include Messrs Jakande, Goni, Jarma, Musa and Kaita.
Mr. Goni ran unsuccessfully as the PDP governorship candidate in Borno State in 2011, while his successor, Mr. Jarma, was a member of the Board of Trustees, BoT, as well as some committees of the party. Mr. Musa resuscitated the PRP machinery and ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2003. The party has been deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Mr. Keita was a member of the PDP, but later left the party with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. Mr. Jakande floated a party called Action Party of Nigeria, APN.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...