How Deputy Governors Have Been Sacked in 25 Years

Last Monday’s impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu has further demonstrated how intolerant state governors have become in the management of the affairs of their states in a democracy, Chuks Okocha writes

Nigeria’s democracy was again put to test last Monday with the impeachment of the former deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu. 

Shaibu, who had since fallen out with Governor Godwin Obaseki irreconcilably over his ambition to contest for the governorship seat, was accused of misconduct, perjury, leaking of government secrets and anti-party activities.

While the former deputy governor had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja with a suit to prevent the impeachment plot against him, the state lawmakers had insisted that the court had no powers to stop it or interfere in the performance of its constitutional duties. The result of this was his eventual removal from office.

As soon as the Shaibu was impeached, a 38-year-old Omobayo Marvellous Godwins was sworn in as a replacement.

The 1999 Constitution creates the office of deputy governor. Specifically, Section 186 states: “There shall be for each state of the federation a deputy governor.”

Section 187(1) stipulates that no one can be a valid governorship candidate without a running mate. If both succeed at the election, they are deemed to be elected together.

Ironically, as important as the position of the deputy governor is before the elections, the moment they come to power, the occupant of the office not only becomes irrelevant, and is regarded as a spare tyre. The Supreme Court had ruled that a governor or a president cannot remove his deputy since both were elected on a joint ticket. 

But his stay in office has remained at the mercy of the governor with absolute loyalty required from him while his steps and body language are closely monitored.

This is because with the state lawmakers in the governors’ pockets, they can easily use them to do the dirty job and impeach their deputies. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, many deputy governors have been impeached.

Where a deputy governor does not want to be humiliated with impeachment, he quickly resigns.

However, some governors who are determined to humiliate their deputies ensure that their registration letters are rejected so that they face impeachment. In some cases, a governor could simply strip his deputy of all responsibilities, rendering him redundant. 

The constitution did not help the deputy governors. For instance, Section 176 of the Constitution says a state governor “shall be the chief executive of that state”, and Section 193 says the governor “may, in his discretion”, assign responsibilities to his deputy. Conversely, a governor “may, in his discretion”, refuse to do so and render his deputy idle, as some have done.

But Shaibu is not alone on the list of deputy governors that have faced the axe since Nigeria’s return to a democratic government in 1999. No fewer than 16 others, cutting across the six geopolitical zones, have also been forced out of office by their governors.


In 2022, the Oyo State House of Assembly sacked Rauf Olaniyan as the deputy governor of the state.

The relationship between Olaniyan and Governor Seyi Makinde who were both elected into office in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had deteriorated over time. Their differences virtually became irreconcilable in 2022 when the deputy governor dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Allegations of gross misconduct were levelled against him and he was removed from office.


The former Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, was sacked from office simply because he chose to have an independent political opinion from that of the governor. Governor Bello Matawalle who came into office by happenstance of the crisis in the Zamfara State chapter of the APC became the first PDP candidate to be elected governor in that state. However, for whatever reasons, Matawalle chose to go to the APC and coerced almost the entire PDP structure to go along with him. Gusau, his deputy, however, chose to remain in the PDP. For his decision the House of Assembly brought him to trial and within a week, he was removed from office.


In 2018, the then Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, resigned from office following allegation that he was loyal to Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, who was at loggerheads with the then Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

Abubakar, in his resignation letter dated August 5, 2018, said the decision was taken due to ‘irreconcilable differences’ on matters relating to governance and government operations.


Alhaji Garba Gadi had occupied the position of Deputy Governor of Bauchi State till August 2009 when the relationship between him and then Governor Isa Yuguda broke down completely. Gadi’s offence was that he refused to toe the line of his boss who had defected to the PDP from the ANPP that brought them to power. The state House of Assembly quickly constituted a panel on the orders of the governor to start impeachment proceedings. He was subsequently impeached. But a High Court in Bauchi reinstated him a year later (June 2010) and ordered that his entitlements be paid.


After 30 months of estranged relationship with former Governor Saminu Turaki, the then Jigawa State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Kwatalo, in 2001 resigned from office. Kwatalo, at a news conference in Dutse, said he no longer had the moral rights to continue in office.


Enyinnaya Abaribe was the deputy to former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu in Abia State. He soon fell out with his boss. Despite having resigned from office seven days earlier, Kalu still got a vote of 18 out of 24 members of the state House of Assembly to impeach him over allegations of gross misconduct.

After he left office, two other deputy governors were removed from office still under Kalu. 


Chief Iyiola Omisore, the former deputy governor of Osun State under Governor Bisi Akande became the first deputy governor to be impeached after the end of military rule in 1999. The state House of Assembly found him guilty of breach of oath of office and conflict of interest. The lawmakers claimed it was wrong of him to sue the government over a contract of $1.5million. They also accused him of divulging official secrets.


 The not-so-cordial relationship between the then Governor Victor Attah and his deputy, Chris Ekpenyong worsened and this led to his impeachment by the state House of Assembly on June 23, 2005 on the grounds of sundry allegations. But in less than seven days, he was allowed to resign from office instead.

Ekpenyong’s alleged offence was that he voted for the incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo at the PDP presidential primary in January 2003. Akwa Ibom delegates allegedly had Attah’s instructions to support Obasanjo’s challenger, the late former Vice President Alex Ekwueme. Attah also allegedly wanted his deputy removed from office to pave the way for his son-in-law, Udoma Ekarika, to succeed him as governor in 2007.

Another deputy governor in Akwa Ibom, Nsima Ekere, was almost impeached during the Godswill Akpabio’s administration. He had to hurriedly resign from office before the House of Assembly began the impeachment proceedings.


Abiodun Aluko was Ekiti State deputy governor until September 2005. Governor Ayo Fayose was alleged to have instigated the removal of his deputy in his first stint as governor of the state. The state House of Assembly impeached Aluko after finding him guilty of 16 offences. The lawmakers claimed all the offences were grounds for impeachment.

In October 2006, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi who succeeded Aluko as deputy governor was a victim of the war between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Fayose.

 Governor Fayose had got on the wrong side of President Obasanjo and the Ekiti State House of Assembly came under pressure to impeach the governor and his deputy. Twenty-four out of the 26 members of the state House of Assembly found both of them guilty of several crimes.


In March 2006, Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, who had been locked in a running battle with Governor Attahiru Bafarawa resigned moments before the state House of Assembly could commence impeachment proceedings against him.

Also in November 2018, following the defection of Governor Aminu Tambuwal from APC to PDP, the state Deputy Governor, Ahmad Aliyu, resigned from his position. His resignation letter to the state House of Assembly cited alleged threats of impeachment for his refusal to follow Tambuwal to the PDP.


President Bola Tinubu as governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007, was one of the earliest governors who removed their deputies. He allegedly forced out two during his eight years in power.

Though she still claims she was never impeached and that she resigned, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2003, Senator Koforowola Bucknor-Akerele was believed to have left office at the sight of an impeachment notice. She said her disagreement with the then Governor Tinubu started when he informed her that they should take over their party, Alliance for Democracy (AD), from the elders, who were the founders of the party and she refused. 

Bucknor-Akerele’s successor, Femi Pedro, was also impeached because he allegedly refused to accept Tinubu’s decision on the choice of next governor of the state. Pedro had defected to the Labour Party (LP) to contest the governorship election against Tinubu’s anointed successor, Babatunde Fashola. However, in December 2015, the Lagos State House of Assembly at plenary, invalidated Pedro’s impeachment, following the adoption of the recommendation of the eight- member Ad Hoc Committee constituted on July 2, 2015 to review the circumstances that led to impeachment of Pedro. The House, which passed a vote of confidence on Pedro, and also pardoned him, said that the allegations of his impeachment were not connected to criminal charges.


Until his relationship with Governor Timipre Sylva went awry, the impeached Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Peremobowei Ebebi, had been seen as a power broker in the oil-rich state.  As the Speaker of the state’s legislature, he had provided the platform for the impeachment of the then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. As compensation, he was made deputy to Alamieyeseigha’s successor, Governor Goodluck Jonathan. Ebebi completed the term with Jonathan and was inherited by Governor Timipre Sylva who could not tolerate his growing influence and popularity in the state. Sylva got the required two-thirds of members of the House of Assembly to impeach Ebebi as deputy governor. However, about eight months later, an Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt nullified the impeachment and ordered his reinstatement.


Sani Abubakar was deputy governor of Taraba State until October 2012 when he was impeached by the House of Assembly. After his impeachment, Alhaji Garba Umar took over as the deputy governor of the state.

However, following the involvement of Governor Danbaba Suntai in an air accident that left him incapacitated, Umar took over as the Acting Governor of the state, a position he occupied until November 2014, when the Supreme Court sacked him from office and ordered the reinstatement of Abubakar.


Jude Agbaso was deputy governor of Imo State till March 2013.  He dared to challenge Governor Rochas Okorocha’s right to seek a second tenure, citing an agreement that stipulated that Okorocha would rule Imo State for only four years.  All but one of the 26 lawmakers in the state House of Assembly voted to impeach him. The court had since declared his sack from office illegal, null and void.

Eze Madumere who became Okorocha’s choice after Agbaso’s exit also fell out with him. THISDAY gathered that until they fell out, the expectation of Imo people was that Okorocha would naturally anoint his deputy as his successor, given the political history of the state. Madumere is from Owerri zone that had only produced governors for Imo State for less than two years compared to Okigwe and Orlu zones that had produced governors for eight and 16 years, respectively. But Okorocha disappointed the Owerri zone and chose to support his Chief of Staff and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor.

With the support of his people, Madumere threw his hat to the ring, jettisoning the proposal by his boss to contest the Owerri senatorial seat instead. To Okorocha, the ‘betrayal’ by Madumere was not what he could bear and so it was not unexpected when he ensured that Madumere was promptly impeached. However, the state High Court has since nullified the impeachment.


Alhaji Ali Olanusi was until April 2015 the Ondo State deputy governor.  A few days before the presidential election in 2015, Olanusi defected to the APC. This enraged his boss, Olusegun Mimiko, who had defected to the PDP from the LP and expected his deputy to follow his path. So, the House of Assembly impeached Olanusi despite a subsisting court ruling halting proceedings. Two years later in March 2017, a court declared the impeachment illegal and restored Olanusi to his office. But it was too late for him as his tenure with Mimiko had already elapsed.

In 2020, an attempt by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and state House of Assembly to get rid of the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, failed because nine of the 26-member of the state House of Assembly dissociated themselves from the planned impeachment. He was however not on the joint ticket for Akeredolu’s re-election.


Former Enugu State Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi was impeached in August 2014 by then Governor Sullivan Chime-controlled House of Assembly. His offence was that after his office was made redundant, he decided to rear chicken within his Government House residence.

Onyebuchi’s impeachment was particularly ironic. About a year earlier, when Governor Chime was away from the country on health grounds, there were alleged moves by the political class in Enugu to use the doctrine of necessity to remove Chime and make Onyebuchi governor. However, the deputy governor was said to have allegedly rebuffed the overtures. But on recovering and returning to power, Chime humiliated his deputy out of office.


Another classic example of a deputy governor being booted out was the case of the erstwhile deputy governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba who was sacked after he fell out with the then governor Yahaya Bello. Despite the fact there was no reasonable grounds for removing Achuba from office, the state House of Assembly on October 18, 2019, still went ahead to remove him from office, a decision the state High Court sitting in Lokoja on February 27, 2020 declared as illegal, null, void and of no effect.

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