Prominent senators, governors who lost out in Senate race

Senate President, Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Some prominent senators in the Eighth National Assembly will not be returning in the next assembly, having lost at the polls on Saturday.

Millions of Nigerians on Saturday went to the polls to elect a president who will lead Africa’s most populous country for the next four years. The voters also elected federal lawmakers who will represent them at the National Assembly for the next four years.

All of Nigeria’s 109 Senate seats and 360 House of Representative seats were also for grabs across the 36 states and the FCT. A total of 1,904 candidates took part in the senatorial elections while 4,680 sought seats in the House of Representatives.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a total of 72.8 million (72,775,585) were eligible to vote in the elections, having collected their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs).

Of the 36 states and Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Rivers led with the highest number of eligible voters.

A total of 91 political parties were registered to participate in the elections which took take place in 119,973 polling units and 57,023 voting points nationwide.

But based on INEC’s official result, some of the strong pillars in the eight assembly have been rejected by their constituencies and fallen in the battle to secure a place in the ninth assembly.

PREMIUM TIMES checked on how the senators were rejected by their constituencies.

BUKOLA SARAKI (PDP)

Mr Saraki, the Senate President, lost both his bid to return to the Senate for the third time and a firm grip on Kwara State politics.

Mr Saraki, a medical doctor, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after joining Kwara politics in 2003 by riding on his father’s profile, lost to another medical doctor, Ibrahim Oloriegbe of the All Progressive Party (APC).

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Mr Oloriegbe of the APC polled 123, 828 to beat Saraki of the PDP who scored 68, 994.

The loss is a major setback for the Saraki dynasty in 43 years since the head of the family, the late Olusola Saraki, a former Senate Leader, dominated Kwara politics.

The Saraki dynasty has installed six governors since 1979, hundreds of lawmakers at the national and state levels, councillors and chairmen of local government areas.

According to the results released by INEC, Mr Saraki was defeated in all the four local government areas in the district.

ABIODUN OLUJIMI (PDP)

The Senate minority leader, Biodun Olujimi, also lost her bid to return to the Senate, as she was defeated by former fellow party man, Dayo Adeyeye, of the All Progressives Congress.

Mr Adeyeye emerged victorious at the end of the count of votes for Ekiti South senatorial district.

Mr Adeyeye defected to the APC shortly before the 2018 governorship election, after the controversial PDP governorship primaries.

The Returning Officer for Ekiti South senatorial district, Laide Lawal, said Mr Adeyeye polled 77, 621 to defeat his closest rival, Mrs Olujimi who scored 53, 741.

Mrs Olujimi joined her husband in politics in 1997 as the National Publicity Secretary of the extinct NCPN. She moved to All Peoples Congress (APC) after the extinction of her former party, and still became the National Publicity Secretary in APC.

In 2002, she joined Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and in 2003 she was appointed the Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Ekiti State. From there, she was elected to the Federal House of Assembly.

She became the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State under the governor, Ayo Fayose, in 2005.

In 2015, she contested for a Senatorial seat and won, and became a senator representing the Ekiti South constituency in the National Assembly under the Peoples Democratic Party.

SHEHU SANI (PRP)

Mr Sani, a senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, in October, joined Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), three days after he left the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having fallen out with the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, Mr Sani left the APC and joined the PRP.

He is the current chairman of the Senate Committee Chairman on Local and Foreign Debts.

He lost his Kaduna Central Senatorial Seat to Uba Sani, the candidate of the APC who scored a total of 167,373 votes in the 2019 senatorial election.

Shehu Sani scored a paltry 11,799. He has already called for the cancellation of the election, complaining that the exercise was characterised by irregularities and massive rigging.

In 2003, Mr Sani contested for the Senate under Alliance for Democracy (AD) and lost to Muktar Aruwa of the All Nigerian Peoples Party.

In 2011, he contested for the Senate under Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and lost to Sani Saleh in the primaries. But he won the Senate seat after defeating Mr Saleh in the primaries and Mr Aruwa in the general election in 2015.

On September 4, 2015, he became the first and only Nigerian Senator to declare his assets publicly.

On October 20, 2018, he announced his resigned from the APC and defected to the PRP in Kaduna.

GODSWILL AKPABIO (APC)

Godswill Akpabio, a senator from Akwa Ibom State, lost his bid to return to the Senate for a second term.

Mr Akpabio had dumped the PDP late in 2018, promising to deliver Akwa Ibom to the ruling APC.

The INEC, on Tuesday afternoon, finally declared Mr Akpabio’s opponent, Chris Ekpenyong, the winner of the election in Akwa Ibom North-West District.

The declaration was done at the commission’s headquarters in Uyo.

There was suspense and tension in the state after INEC suspended the release of the result of the election in which both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP claimed victory.

According to the result announced by the returning officer, Peter Oban, a professor, Mr Akpabio, a former governor of the state, scored 83,158 votes, while Mr Ekpenyong scored 118,215 votes.

In 2006, Mr Akpabio aspired for the governorship of Akwa Ibom state in a contested primary election and defeated 57 other aspirants to emerge the candidate of the PDP. He was elected Governor in 2007 and re-elected for a second term in office in 2011.

In 2013, he was elected chairman of the newly formed PDP Governors Forum.

In 2015, he contested and won the Senate seat of the Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District to represent the district in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr Akpabio was nominated for the position of the Senate Minority Leader by the South-South caucus of the PDP.

In August 2018, Senator Akpabio resigned as the Senate Minority Leader, after he had announced his defection to the APC. His defection was marked by Political rally in his hometown at the Ikot Ekpene township stadium, Akwa Ibom State.

MONSURAT SUNMONU (ADC)

Monsurat Sunmonu, who contested under the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC), was defeated in the Oyo Central senatorial district election which that took place on Saturday.

A former Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin of the APC, was declared the winner.

The returning officer, Peter Falayi, announced that Mr Folarin won in six, out of the seven local governments in the area.

Mrs Sunmonu is the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in the 8th Assembly.

Prior to becoming a senator, she was the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Nigeria.

While in the House of Assembly she was the member representing Oyo East and Oyo West local governments.

She became the first female Speaker in the history of Oyo State on June 10, 2011.

BINTA GARBA (APC)

Though not a popular name in the Nigerian Senate, she deserves a mention as she is the only female Senator from Northern Nigeria.

Mrs Garba, a first-time senator, was defeated in the Adamawa North Senatorial Election by Ishaku Abbo of the PDP. She scored 63, 219 votes while her opponent got 79, 37 votes.

She served as a Chairperson, Adamawa State chapter of All Progressives Congress and she is the first female State Chairperson of a registered major political party in Nigeria.

She served the Federal House of Representatives three times, from 1999 to 2011.

She is the only female Senator-Elect in all the 19 Northern States of Nigeria in 2015 elections. She was also, the only female delegate from Adamawa State to the National Conference in Abuja.

MAO OHABUNWA (PDP)

He won the Abia North Senatorial seat in 2015, defeating the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor-Kalu. The election was later cancelled by the court and a re-run ordered, but Mao Ohabunwa won it a second time.

He was not third-time lucky, however, as Mr Uzor-Kalu, now an APC member and ardent supporter of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, emerged victorious after Saturday’s elections.

The returning officer for the election, Charles Anumodu, announced that Mr Uzor-Kalu had a total of 31,203 votes, and Mr Ohabunwa scored 20,801.

However, Mr Ohabunwa’s campaign team is alleging malpractice on the part of the INEC officers and wants the election to “be cancelled completely”.

In 1998, Mr Ohabunwa ran for a seat in the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives the umbrella of the United Nigeria Congress Party and won, before the process was truncated.

He became the first person to represent both Arochukwu/Ohafia constituency when he yet again contested and won in the 1999 elections, this time, under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party and was subsequently elected the Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives.

He went on to contest for a seat to represent Abia North in the Nigeria Senate in the 2007 general elections under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and lost. But, undeterred, he went ahead and contested in the 2015 general election which he won and also won March 6, 2016 re-run after the Appeal Court annulled his earlier victory.

ANDY UBAH (APC)

It was a battle of three Uba’s in the Anambra North Senatorial District election. The serving senator representing the district is Emmanuel Nnamdi Uba, popularly known as Andy Uba.

He was first elected into office in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015, both on the platform of the PDP. But he left the PDP in 2017 to join the ruling APC.

Andy Uba’s younger brother, Chris Uba, was the PDP candidate for Saturday, but both brothers were defeated by Ifeanyi Ubah, another popular politician who had contested for the governorship position of Anambra State.

Mr Ubah, a businessman and owner of capital oil, contested on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) and scored a total of 87,081 votes. Andy and Chris Uba got 13,245 and 62,462 respectively, according to the result announced by the returning officer, M.N Umenweke, a law professor at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

In 2011, Mr Uba returned to the PDP and was nominated as PDP candidate for Anambra South Senatorial district in the April 2011 elections.

He won with 63,316 votes, ahead of Chukwmaeze Nzeribe of the APGA party with 43,798 and the incumbent senator, Ikechukwu Obiorah of the Accord party with 24,724.

Uba’s election was challenged by Senator Obiora, the Accord candidate, who claimed that Mr Uba had forged his West African School Certificate (WASC) and had not obtained any of the university degrees that he claimed.

The story of allegedly faked degrees dates back to a story written by two investigative reporters and published by ‘The News’ in December 2006.

Reporters claim that both Concordia and California State University said that although Mr Uba enrolled, he did not graduate from either university.

GEORGE AKUME (APC)

Senator George Akume who is currently serving in the 8th Senate has lost his seat to incumbent serving House of Representatives member, Emmanuel Orker Jev, who has just been announced the winner of the Benue North West Senatorial seat.

Mr Jev, of the PDP polled 157,726 to beat the incumbent Senator and APC leader in the state, Akume who scored 115,422 votes.

The Returning Officer, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nicodemus Ochani, said the election could not be cancelled or annulled as initial issues raised were resolved.

Mr Akume was the minority leader of the Senate from June 2011 to June 2015. He was also the Governor of Benue State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.

He was the first governor of Benue State to have completed two terms in office. He was elected governor of Benue State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was then elected to the Senate.

Mr Akume was re-elected Senator for Benue North-West in the April 2011 elections, running on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Meanwhile, there are also some governors who want to return to the Senate because they have already spent eight years of their tenure as governors.

OLUSEGUN MIMIKO (ZLP)

Mr Mimiko, who is the candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) for Ondo Central Senatorial District, lost to Ayo Akinyelure, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The INEC returning officer for Ondo Central Senatorial District, Mr Bello, announced the official results at St. Peters’ Unity Secondary School on Sunday midnight.

He also declared Ayo Akinyelure, the winner of the election.

Mr Mimiko polled a total of 56,628 to secure a third place in the result officially declared by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sunday.

Mr Mimiko was beaten by Mr Akinyelure of the leading opposition PDP by a total of 11,366 votes.

Mr Akinyelure polled 67,994 votes after he also beat the incumbent Senator, Tayo Alasoadura, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who got 58,092 votes.

Mr Mimiko was a first two-term governor of Ondo State and the first Labour Party governor in Nigeria.

In September 2018, he declared his intention to run for president of Nigeria in the 2019 elections.

He received the nomination as the presidential candidate of the Labour Zenith Party in October 2018. On November 14, 2018, Mr Mimiko announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign, a few days before the campaign season was formally opened.

He took up the Zenith Labour Party’s senatorial ticket for Ondo Central federal constituency.

ABIOLA AJIMOBI (APC)

The incumbent governor of Oyo tate and senatorial candidate of Oyo South senatorial district, Abiola Ajimobi lost his seat to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Kola Balogun, in the 2019 election.

The returning officer of the district, Wole Akinsola, at the INEC collation centre office located in Ibadan North LGA, declared Mr Balogun as the winner of the Oyo South senatorial district.

Mr Balogun saw off contest from his closest rival, Abiola Ajimobi, of the All Progressive Congress, with a vote difference of 13,502.

The PDP candidate ended the contest with a total of 105,720 votes while the candidate of the APC had 92,217 votes.

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier announced how Mr Ajimobi lost in all four of the first declared LGA results.

In total, Mr Ajimobi won in three of the local governments in the senatorial district.

Mr Balogun won the remaining six.

Mr Ajimobi won in Ibadan Southwest, Ibarapa Central and Ido.

Mr Balogun won in Ibadan North, Ibadan Northwest, Ibadan Northeast, Ibadan Southeast, Ibarapa North, Ibarapa East.

The incumbent senator representing the district, Soji Akanbi, who contested on the platform of ADC, finished behind the duo, in third place.

In 2003, Mr Ajimobi became a Senator of the Republic of Nigeria. Ajimobi who was a principal officer in the Senate served as the Deputy Minority leader of the Senate.

In 2007, he contested the gubernatorial election under the umbrella of the ANPP but lost the election bid. Mr Ajimobi contested again in 2011 under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and was elected in a keenly contested election.

Mr Ajimobi contested for a second term in an election that took place on April 11, 2015. He contested under the APC for re-election against two of his predecessors in office, Alao Akala and Rashidi Ladoja.

In the event of his re-election into office as the governor, Mr Ajimobi is the first person to occupy the seat twice and as well in succession.

IBRAHIM DANKWAMBO (PDP)

Also, the incumbent governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo, a member the PDP, lost his bid for the Senate seat of Gombe North Senatorial District.

He lost to the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Sa’idu Alkali, in Saturday’s National Assembly election.

The INEC’s Returning Officer, Umar Gurama from the Federal Unversity Kashere, said Mr Alkali polled 152,546 votes.

While Mr Dankwambo polled 88016 votes during Saturday National Assembly elections at the Gombe North Senatorial district in the state.

Mr Dankwambo who worked at the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1988 to 1999, was then appointed Accountant General of Gombe State, holding this position until 2005.

He was appointed Accountant – General of the Federation on 20 April 2005 and held this office until he resigned to start his campaign for election as Governor of Gombe State in January 2011.

In the April 26, 2011 election, Mr Dankwambo polled 596,481 votes, ahead of Abubakar Aliyu of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) with 91,781 votes and Senator Sa’idu Umar Kumo of the All Nigeria People’s Party with 84,959 votes.

As a governor, Mr Dankwambo lost his deputy, David Miyims Albashi, who died on November 4, 2011 in a German hospital of injuries he sustained in a car crash on August 28.

On December 17, 2011, Mr Dankwambo appointed Tha’anda Rubainu as deputy governor.

After his re-election in 2015, Charles Iliya has been his deputy governor.

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