There seems to be a trend amongst politicians about carving an identity for themselves from their name initials and the registration of such in the political consciousness of the people. Shola Oyeyipo and Nkiruka Okoh identify some prominent Nigerian politicians whose initials have literally become their identity
Potentially one of the commonest and most popular name initials in the Nigerian political landscape is OBJ, in reference to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He did not actually get his initials from the first letters in his complete name but a compression of his first name, Obasanjo. Many newspapers fondly use OBJ to describe Obasanjo, who had been both military and civilian ruler in the country.
Obasanjo will be remembered for his firm leadership and his ability to give the current democratic dispensation a footing. Although his administration recorded both high and low points, it was fraught with alleged constitutional infractions, which observers attributed to his military background. His alias, OBJ, is registered in the political lexicon.
No doubt, one of the earliest name initials in the country. It refers to a former military president and foremost leader in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd). IBB is one Nigerian politician with many name references. While some call him the 'Evil Genius', others prefer 'Maradona'. And this is a function of his deft political machinations. But of all, IBB is the most popular which truly represents his name.
As a former military ruler, his administration presented Nigerians with some of the most memorable political intrigues, especially the unsuccessful transition to civil rule and the eventual annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election presumed to have been won by the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, who died in detention during the regime of General Sani Abacha. He is still an active player on the turf and his name initials, IBB, is as relevant.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is also known as GEJ. This is a combination of the first alphabets of his three regular names. This was particularly made popular in 2011 when he sought to succeed his deceased boss, the late President Umar Musa Yar' Adua.
As president, the administration of Jonathan has witnessed many challenges, especially the spate of terror attacks in the northern part of the country. Although, he is yet to categorically declare his intention in re-election in 2015, indications are rife that GEJ might give the presidency another shot.
Immediate past governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is also a leading opposition figure. Tinubu's name initials, BAT gained popularity during the governorship election of 1999 when his campaign organisation; Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO) took the acronym to town. He registered the name on the Nigerian political template as a two-term governor.
He further gained popularity with his party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) controlling six states and with increased National Assembly members. Tinubu, also popularly known as Jagaban Borgu, a chieftancy title bestowed on him in Borno State is gradually a colossus in the Yoruba race, with his party offering progressive governance. He is a key player in the ongoing merger of opposition parties.
Although, the initials of the Rivers State governor, Hon. Chibuke Rotimi Amaechi, would have been CRA as his three names read, he has chose to make it more fun to reference by making it read: CAR, as if an automobile. Aside his name, Amaechi is a prominent political figure in the Nigeria of today.
As the undisputed chairman of the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF), Amaechi has fought many battles in recent time which have confirmed has Marxist background.
But in the midst of the many crises, he remains undistracted and has continued to enjoy widespread support among the people. A second term governor, CAR has also won the hearts of many with his sterling performance through the development of both infrastructure and human capacity in Rivers State.
The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF) is obviously another public office holder with a unique and peculiar name initials. His name initials are as popular as his developmental strides in the state. The Fashola administration has conquered developments in such areas as infrastructural renewal, security, healthcare delivery and transportation amongst others.
Fashola’s administration is famous for law enforcement without minding whose ox is gored. He once had a running battle with commercial motorcyclists in the state when he started to implement the new Traffic Law of the state. But it was clear it was a war they would not win. Fashola, a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is one of the opposition governors who, has redefined governance in many ways than one.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun (SIA) is a first term Governor of Ogun State, having been elected in 2011 on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria. An accomplished accountant, Amosun was a former senator who represented Ogun Central on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before defecting to the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the run up to the 2007 elections.
But since elected some two years ago, Amosun has since been changing the face of the state in terms of infrastructure renewal and especially in the area of security which was a major challenge for the administration on assumption of office. SIA as his fans and supporters call him is obviously seeking re-election even though he is yet to indicate his intention. The tendency to want to consolidate on the present effort is deemed imperative by his supporters.
Almost sounding like the initials of the late 35th American President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), the Ekiti State Governor, John Kayode Fayemi has opted for JKF as his name initials and this is believed to suit him because of his intellectual background.
A product of struggle and a testimony of a thriving justice system, Fayemi who contested the governorship of the state in 2007 did not mount the saddle until October 2010 when an Appeal Court in Ilorin, Kwara State declared him winner.
And since assuming office, Fayemi’s agovernment has been remarkable for many infrastructural developments and especially his huge investment in education, which had informed the state’s rebranding at inception. From what used to be known as the Fountain of Knowledge, Ekiti under Fayemi has been rebranded to the Land of Honour to suit the ongoing effort at value renewal.
This is obviously not discussing Master in Business Administration (MBA) but the Niger State Governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, yet another politician with an interesting name initials. Aliyu, a second term governor was re-elected on 26 April 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Despite drawbacks in terms of low revenue, Aliyu is said to have refocused his attention to the laying of foundation for the realisation of vision 2020.
By focusing on human capital development, healthcare, infrastructure as well as improving the educational sector of the state through the free education scheme, Aliyu has endeared himself to the people. Also acknowledged as a community leader and a workaholic, the governor has played a significant role in fighting and curbing the spate of insecurity in his state. Comfortable with the title, 'Governor Servant', Aliyu is one of the Northern governors on the forefront of the agitation for a Northern president in 2015.
The Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is a politician with colour and carriage. Endowed with the gift of the garb even as his era is notable for remarkable developments, Kwankwaso, despite challenging insecurity has been unrelenting in repositioning Kano State.
One of his key achievements is located in the educational sector where he has harmonised the Quranic schools with the western education to ensure that school leavers are employable. It has also revitalised state’s machinery for revenue generation with giant strides in the transformation of infrastructure and human development.
Although, this shares a bit of semblance with Special Anti-robbery Squad (SAS), it is also the initials of a former governor of Bornu State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff otherwise called SAS. He was branded SAS when serving as Senator for Bornu Central senatorial district of the state. The coinage is Senator Alimodu Sheriff.
He contested for the office of the governor in 2003 on the platform of ANPP and won and was re-elected in 2007. Sheriff is currently the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and an active player in the ongoing merger of political parties. He wields immense influence in the North-east and is one of the political forces to be reckoned with.
Two terms former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party and the alleged bran behind Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), the party that challenged PDP’s hegemony in the 2011 election. Daniel’s administration birthed some developments in the state including the Abeokuta-Siun expressway, the refurbished Olumo Rock and the new Gateway ICT Polytechnic in Itori amongst others.
His name initials are a combination of the first letters of his title and his names. But he has since had a shaky political career, following his many battles with some persons in the party and state. He carries himself with a degree dignity.
That Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, a former Oyo State governor and member of the PDP is a notable politician in the South-west region of Nigeria, is not in dispute. With his dramatic trajectory from deputy governor to temporary governor and back as substantive governor, his administration, despite its criticism, remains epochal in the politics of the state.
Two years since he left office, Akala still stands out and remains as one of the major forces of the PDP in South-west in general and Oyo in particular, despite the crisis threatening the unity of the party in the region.
Senator Ganiyu Olanrenwaju Solomon (GOS) represents Lagos West senatorial district. A former Chairman of Mushin Local Government and one term member of the House of Representatives, GOS is one Lagos politician who has paid his dues on the turf.
In fact, his name initial is popular among the people than his full name. A grassroots politician with a strong cult-like following amongst the masses, GOS is an aspiring governor of the state and about the most experienced amongst those presently itching to succeed Governor Fashola.
Strangely though, his initial- GOS- is derived from a combination of Muslim, traditional Yoruba and Christian names. He is fondly referred to as "incoming governor" of Lagos State amongst his colleagues in the Senate who feel he has all it takes to become the next governor of Lagos State.
Before you get it twisted, this is not the familiar Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) that is found in automobiles; it is the name initials of a former governor of Kwara State and Senator representing Kwara Central, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS).
Saraki who was the immediate past chairman of the crisis-ridden NGF is the scion of the late strong man of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki. He is currently seen as the rallying point in the state politics having taken over the political structure and dynasty of his father, ABS enjoys a cordial relationship with majority of the people because of his people-oriented leadership style and the achievements of his administration in the eight years that he was in office. He also enjoys the trust and loyalty of his successor, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
It is not impossible that coming in contact with his signature for the first time, you might reckon a Senior Special Adviser had just signed up something. That would be a wrong assumption. Like Sheriff, Senator Smart Adeyemi (SSA) got his initials from a blend of his Senator title and his name. This was however prominent in his campaign signature in 2011.
Adeyemi, as his name implies, was considered smart enough to secure his return to the National Assembly for the second time despite open antagonism from former governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, who supported one of his cabinet members, Mr. T. J. Faniyi.
Although Adeyemi is yet to openly declare his intention for a third term, indications are high that some of his supporters are already rooting for his third term. The rationale is that having a third term Senator in the National Assembly allows for better representation, since the senate operates on hierarchy.
In discussing the name initials of the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar (MDA), a typical novice might as well presume the issue on the table concerns the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs). How wrong, that’s some else’s initials for crying out loud.
MD Abubakar as he is fondly called was appointed the Police IG last year February, following the deteriorating security situation in the country. And coming from a smashing record of an impressive career, Abubakar came on stream with measures that depicted a man ready for the job. A
Although strictly professional, Abubakar operates in an environment that is controlled largely by politics. His dismantling of police checkpoints on assumption of office proved his supporters right that with Abubakar, it would not be business as usual again.
Obviously not a politician, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI), is certainly not apolitical. A globally renowned economist, she wields a lot of power and influence in the body polity because of her position and would rather, sometimes, make do with her job title, CME. She has been spearheading the country’s economy since 2011 and has unfolded several measures to put the economy of the nation in shape.
One of her ideas, the Youth Enterprise with Innovation In Nigeria (YouWIN) is a business plan that serves as a response to unemployment in the nation. Conceded to her economic wizardry is the projection that Nigeria’s foreign reserves would increase in the next four years to the tune of $80billion. No doubt, the minister is aware of the challenges and is up to the task.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS) was first appointed by the late Yar’Adua in June 2009. Coming at a time the world economy was in crisis, Sanusi was challenged to reposition the country’s economy in lieu of the global financial crisis. Analysts had believed that Sanusi's tempered mien would serve as a counterpoise to some of his predecessor at such a critical time and based on his past records, Sanusi indeed imposed stricter controls.
In August 2009, the Sanusi led the CBN to "rescue" Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank by bailing them out with 400 billion naira of public money, and dismissed their chief executives. With a cashless policy now blazing across the economy of the country, Sanusi was in 2010 recognised as the Central Bank Governor of that Year, citing his radical anti-corruption campaign aimed at saving 24 banks on the brink of collapse and pressing for the managers involved in the most blatant cases of corruption to be charged and, in the case of two senior bankers, imprisoned. Although a banker, Sanusi is believed to have political disposition even as a prince.
Former deputy national chairman of the PDP, South, Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, has remained an active player since the return to civilian rule in 1999 when he took up an active role in party politics when former president Olusegun Obasanjo held sway.
And even when Obasanjo had left office, BG as he is called has continued to be relevant in the politics of South-west and Lagos, his state where he is lord. Only recently, the leadership of the party in the zone met and reaffirmed his leadership of the party in the zone.
BG, it was, who led the PDP to victory in the zone in 2003 and 2007, winning five out of the six states in the zone. But his incarceration in 2009 saw the party lose its bite and defeated round in all the states. Now that BG is back, he is threatening a repeat of the feat in 2003 and 2007.
Chief Jubril Martins-Kuye, otherwise called JMK, is one of the old politicians from South-west, Ogun State. He became a member of the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) towards the end of the Sani Abacha regime. He was a governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State in 1999, but did not win.
He was, however, appointed Minister of State for Finance in June 1999 during the first term of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, serving until June 2003. With a cult-like following, he often prides himself as god-father of Ogun politics, leading the conservative group of the Ogun State PDP. He claimed to have installed Gbenga Daniel as governor, but by 2010, he had become an opponent of Daniel
His ministerial nomination in March 2010 by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan was controversial, since he had apparently not been on the list of ministerial nominees in Ogun State submitted by Governor Gbenga Daniel. Some leaders of the PDP state chapter wrote a petition protesting the nomination to the national PDP chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor. Although, he is no longer as relevant in the politics of the state especially that PDP has gone under somewhat, JMK is however a household reference in the state.
Presently the Chairman, Industrial Trust Fund (ITF), Senator Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro is one of the few politicians in Lagos State who has risen significantly in their career. From the being chairman, the old Lagos Island Local government, he had also been Commissioner for Home Affairs, Senator and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana.
Popularly called ‘Koro Ibo’, deriving from his surname, Obanikoro, his name initials, MO is however popular amongst family and close allies who would rather he was called by his initials.
A frontline governorship hopeful, Obanikoro had tested the waters in 2007 with a campaign that electrified the political turf. Indeed, many believed that had his party, the PDP, leveraged on his outing the last time on subsequent elections, a little would have changed about their story. Although, he has not indicated interest in the 2015 governorship, the news of his aspiration is all over and if he eventually gives in, he might give a good challenge.
Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (MOB) is the chairman, House of Representatives on Budget and Research. A two-time commissioner in Lagos State, both in the ministries of Sports and Information, Bamidele is a heavyweight in the politics of his Ekiti State. Although, he has been in the news lately because of his positions on some of the happenings in the state, he remains a top notch Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) politician.
Whilst many believe he has ambition and that it is the reason he is seen as opposition to the government he helped to install, Opeyemi has always dismissed such speculation but that his position has been based on conviction and merit. He however acknowledges the fact that he has ambition but when it would materialise is when he does not know. His name initial, MOB, is a household name in Ekiti.
Talk about the Nollywood, then, Mr. Richard Mofe Damijo is as good as the man next door. He made his name RMD as an actor but the name was further elevated when he made an exploit into the political foray as commissioner in charge of Delta State Culture and Tourism Board. The renowned actor however retained his name initials even as a politician.
His social life which also made headlines in most national dailies mostly came with the initials- RMD. The death of his former wife, Mee Mofe Damijo, remains a major drama in his life before his eventual romance with an Africa Independent Television's (AIT) presenter, Jumobi Adegbesan, which eventually culminated in a fresh start for him. He went into government as a celebrity.