15 N’Assembly Members Who Dare To Be Governors

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Fifteen members of the 8th National Assembly have their eyes on the governorship seats of their states. But will they change the equation on March 2, report Deji Elumoye and Shola Oyeyipo

With the conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections across the country yesterday, the last round of elections for the governorship and state Houses of Assemblies will hold on March 2. Already, INEC had a few weeks back displayed the list of candidates of the various parties vying for both the governorship and the state legislative seats.

The list however includes 15 members of the National Assembly, who won their parties’ tickets last year to run as gubernatorial candidates in their respective states. In the Senate, eight members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly including ranking and first time Senators are itching to be governors during the March 2 election, while the seven others were from the House.

Usman Nafada

He represents Gombe North Senatorial District and is running for Gombe governorship seat under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), having defeated 12 other aspirants during the party’s primaries last October. The Senator enjoys the support of the outgoing state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo and this went a long way to enhance his success at the party’s primaries.

Nafada, before his election to the Senate was deputy speaker of the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2011. Although a popular candidate at home, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is giving Nafada’s PDP a run for its money in the election.

John Enoh

A first time Senator representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, Senator John Enoh won election into the Senate on the platform of the PDP in 2015 but defected in May, 2017 to the APC. He has 20 years of experience as a lawmaker, both at the state and federal levels, having served as a member of Cross River state House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003 and later, a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2015.

Enoh is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and a member of the Constitution Review Committee headed by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. His gubernatorial ambition was recently threatened with the judgment of a federal high court sitting in Calabar, which declared that Enoh was not the authentic APC governorship candidate for Cross River State. He, however, insisted that the ruling did not invalidate his candidature.

Sunny Ogbuoji

The Ebonyi South Senator, who defected from PDP to APC in 2017, is Vice Chairman of the Senate Committees on Appropriation and Special Duties. He co-sponsored many bills including same sex marriage bill but solely sponsored the Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine (Establishment) bill 2015, which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.

Ogbuoji, in the last few years, also ensured the employment of 123 Ebonyi indigenes including 106 senior staff and 17 junior workers into the federal civil service.

Abdulaziz Nyako

Son of a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, junior Nyako represents Adamawa Central at the Senate and was a member of the PDP before defecting to African Democratic Congress (ADC) in 2018. He is a member of special duties committee of the Senate and his legislative interests include security, navy and the maritime.

In September, 2018, Nyako was elected unopposed as ADC governorship candidate for Adamawa State and polled 2,235 out of the 2,274 votes cast by delegates from 226 wards in the 21 local government areas of the state.

Buruji Kashamu

Buruji Kashamu

The Ogun East PDP Senator, who is Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on states and local governments, was expelled on August 1, 2018 by the national leadership of the PDP. But Kashamu approached the court on the matter and Justice Valentine Achi of the Federal High Court, Abuja ruled that his expulsion was unlawful.

He emerged Ogun PDP governorship candidate in spite of the opposition of the national leadership of the party and following the withdrawal of Adeleke Shittu, who notified INEC about his withdrawal on November 16, 2018.

Hope Uzindinma

The ranking Imo West Senator defected from PDP to APC under which platform he is contesting to be Imo state governor. He is Chairman of the Southern Senators Forum and also chairs the Senate Committee on Customs as well as being a member of the Senate Committees on Aviation and Constitution Review.

Jeremiah Useni

A retired three-star general and PDP Plateau South Senator is a member of the Senate Committees on Defence, Constitution Review as well as Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. He won PDP gubernatorial ticket for Plateau State at the party’s primaries held in Jos, Plateau State capital in October, 2018. He appears to have a sweeping support for his ambition despite his age.

Kabiru Marafa

The ranking Senator won election into the Senate in 2011 under the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) to represent Zamfara Central but defected to APC in 2015. He is Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and had also served as Chairman of Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population.

Marafa belongs to a faction of the APC in Zamfara and was expected to have contested the party’s primaries in Gusau, the state capital last October. But with some of the conflict rulings, which seem to cancel out the APC, Marafa might be missing in action on March 2.

However, in the House of Representatives, the governorship gladiators include two members from the same state running as governor and deputy governor on the platform of the same party.

David Ombugadu/ Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo

In Nasarawa State, the PDP has launched a very strong campaign aimed at wresting the North Central state from the ruling APC.

The incumbent House of Representatives member representing Akwanga, Nasarawa-Eggon and Wamba federal constituency, David Ombugadu, clinched the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP. Interestingly, he picked another House member Hon. Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo representing Awe/Doma/Keana federal constituency as his running mate.

Young, eloquent and presenting very pragmatic leadership skills, Davematics as Ombugadu is fondly called is leveraging his achievements in Nasarawa State political sphere. His intervention in making the famous College of Education, Akwanga upgraded to the standard of a University and in many other areas might prove positive for him on March 2.

The duo will face a former Managing Director of Dangote Sugar, Abdullahi Sule, who is the APC candidate and enjoys the support of outgoing Governor Tanko Almakura. While Sule counts on the support of Al-Makura, Ombugadu hopes to capitalise on the unresolved feud between Almakura and a former governor, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

Rasak Atunwa

Representing Asa/Ilorin West federal constituency of Kwara State, Hon. Razak Atunwa is the PDP governorship candidate in the state. He is the chairman, House Committee on Justice. He headed the House Committee investigating corruption in the award of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245.

At 36, he was appointed the commissioner for Land and Housing in Kwara State in August 2005, Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs (2006 – 2007), Commissioner for Works and Transport (2007 – 2009) and Commissioner for Finance (2009 – 2010).

In 2011, he was elected into the Kwara State House of Assembly to represent Owode/Onire constituency on the PDP platform. He was later elected Speaker of the Assembly at the inauguration of the seventh legislature.

Atunwa was elected a member of the House in 2015. An avid reader, he is a licensed pilot certified in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Above all, he enjoys the support of the incumbent Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Adekunle Akinlade

Widely touted as the anointed choice of the outgoing Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade represents Egbado South and Ipokia federal constituency of Ogun State. He is Deputy Chairman, House committee on Climate Change and member of finance, Insurance, public procurement, Army, Steel and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Committees.

Though his candidacy has pitted Governor Amosun against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who preferred Dapo Abiodun and supported him to win the ruling party’s ticket, the lawmaker is not relenting on his ambition.

Convinced that he is capable of winning the election, Akinlade opted for the Allied People’s Movement (APM) where he won the governorship ticket to contest in the March 2 race.

The young and savvy politician is obviously equipped with requisite experience needed to lead the South-west state if voted. He holds a degree in Political Science from Lagos State University.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School (LBS) and John Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA. He attended the 2013 Entrepreneurship short study course at the University of Wisconsin, USA.

He cut his political teeth in Ogun State and wormed his way to Governor Amosun’s heart, when he was appointed Senior Special Adviser (SSA) on Taxation and Revenue in July 2011. Aside the support he enjoys from Governor Amosun and other notable political figures in his state, Akinlade’s ambition is further boosted by the fact that the Yewa part of the state, where he comes from has never produced a governor of the state.

Tony Nwulu

Hon. Tony Nwulu was elected member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP. He recently dumped the PDP for Unity Progressive Party (UPP) on which platform he is pursuing his governorship ambition in Imo State. The young lawmaker represents Oshodi Isolo, Lagos federal constituency.

The Imo State-born lawmaker in an official letter presented to the House, stated that he officially resigned his PDP membership on Tuesday, July 24, 2019, adding that his choice to defect to UPP was a right step in the right direction, having studied and considered the party’s credibility as a sure bet to actualise his gubernatorial ambition in Imo State come 2019 election.

He also disclosed that it was in line with the overwhelming yearning of the Imo State youth who had lost interest in PDP and the ruling APC. The youthful lawmaker sponsored the celebrated “Not Too Young To Run” bill that has enjoyed massive endorsement, both home and abroad.

Putting the act to test, Nwulu who said he was sure of victory stated that his victory has been ordained by God to lead Imo state out of the hands of corrupt leaders.

Linus Okorie

The governorship candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in Imo State is another House member, who wants to be governor. He is the member representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo federal constituency of Imo State. He said his basic objective was to change how things were being done in Imo State, where he is pursuing his ambition.

“I have been trying to change what is wrong with our state,” he said, lamenting a situation, where the political class impoverishes and takes advantage of the people in the state to win elections, saying such practice is “dead on his arrival.”

His position is that the people of the state should shun any zoning arrangement, because it has not produced any positive result in the history of Nigeria and Imo State in particular.

Sunday Marshal

In Kaduna State, House of Representatives member, Hon. Sunday Marshal, was picked as a running mate to the governorship candidate of the PDP, Isa Ashiru.

TABLE
The Lawmakers at a Glance

SENATE

Usman Nafada (Gombe State)

John Enoh (Cross River State)

Sunny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi State)

Abdulaziz Nyako (Adamawa State)

Buruji Kashamu (Ogun State)

Hope Uzindinma (Imo State)

Jeremiah Useni (Plateau State)

Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara State)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

David Ombugadu (Nasarawa State)

Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo (Nasarawa State)

Rasak Atunwa (Kwara State)

Adekunle Akinlade (Ogun State)

Tony Nwulu (Imo State)

Linus Okorie (Imo State)

Sunday Marshal (Kaduna State)