Elections: Prominent Nigerian families divided by politics

As the 2019 general election approaches, a trend where family members support different candidates appears to be increasing.

Those who in 2015 supported a particular candidate are on the opposing side for one reason or the other.
Below are some prominent Nigerians whose family members support different candidates publicly.

Bukola Saraki and Gbemisola Saraki

Bukola Saraki is the Senate President and a former senator, Gbemisola Saraki, is his sister.

The rivalry between the siblings can be traced back to 2011 when Gbemisola, who was a member of the House of Representatives (1999 to 2003 under the defunct All Peoples Party) and two-term senator ( 2003 to 2011 under the PDP), wanted to succeed her brother as governor of Kwara State.

Despite getting the backing of their late father, Olusola Saraki, her brother kicked against the idea arguing that it was not morally right for the position to be rotated between siblings. He then backed the incumbent governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed.

Having lost control of the PDP in the state to his son, their father, popularly called Oloye, left the party for the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) under which platform Gbemisola contested but lost to Mr Ahmed.

Mr Saraki was also elected senator to represent Kwara Central Senatorial District, the seat vacated by Gbemisola.

In 2014, as a member of the PDP, after her brother had defected to the APC, she tried to contest for the governorship position of the state but was defeated at the party’s primary by Simeon Ajibola.


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She remained in the PDP till 2015 but members of the party in the state saw her as an extension of her father’s hegemony and blocked her every move.

In 2015, days before the gubernatorial election, she defected from the PDP to join her brother in the APC.

In 2018 again, Bukola Saraki defected from the APC to the PDP he left in 2014.

After his announcement of his defection, his sister declared her “unwavering support” for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and the success of the APC.

Although Bukola lost his presidential bid in PDP, he is now part of the campaign team for PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who is seen as the major challenger of President Buhari.

Obasanjo and Olujonwo

Olujonwo Obasanjo, a son of a former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, joined President Buhari’s campaign team after his father’s endorsement of Mr Abubakar last year.

The former president had in 2015 supported Mr Buhari but stopped supporting him after accusing the president of dismal performance.

Declaring his support for Mr Abubakar, he said had ‘forgiven’ his estranged former deputy whom he severally spoke and copiously wrote against for about 10 years.

But his son, Olujonwo, said his decision to support the president has not created any rift between him and his father. He said in supporting the president, he was only looking at the future of the Nigerian youth.

Doyin and Ditan

Just like the Obasanjos, Ditan Okukpe, the son of a member of the PDP and former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okukpe, also joined President Buhari’s campaign team.

Mr Okupe senior, who is also the chairman Bukola Saraki Presidential Campaign Media Council, said his son joined the Buhari campaign team as a way of getting back at him.

“This may be his way of getting back at me. I wish him luck” he said.

Rinsola Abiola and Jamiu Abiola

Rinsola and Jamiu Abiola are children of the late Moshood Abiola who was recently recognised by President Buhari 25 years after the election which he was said to have won but was annulled by the military junta of Ibrahim Babangida.

As a result of this act by the president, Jamiu threw his support for Mr Buhari and also urged the Yoruba to vote for him.

Rinsola Abiola on the other hand, who used to be a member of the APC, left the party. She said it is not friendly to the youth. She is now running on the platform of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) for the Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi Owode federal constituency in Ogun State.

she has so far, however, not shown support for any presidential candidate.

Buba Galadima and daughter Zainab

Buba Galadima was a former associate who has turned a virulent critic of President Buhari. He created a factional APC, the R-APC, which has now joined forces with the PDP.

Mr Galadima is now a spokesperson of the Atiku presidential campaign. But his daughter works at the presidency as the special assistant on Rule of Law to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

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