TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE writes on the mixed fortunes of deputy governors who contested in the 2019 elections. While some will either be returning to office or moving to National Assembly having won senatorial election, others are likely to experience precipitous loss in stature after attainment of great heights given their loss in the poll.
On May 29, when the new dispensation would be ushered in, some incumbent deputy governors will be rejoicing and looking forward to a brighter future, while some would be counting their losses following poor performance in the last general elections, especially in the March 9 governorship poll.
There were lots of surprises during the gubernatorial elections in many states as some deputy governors retained their seats, while the hopes of some were dashed. Out of the 29 states where governorship elections took place on March 9, only 16 deputy governors scaled through and got re-elected, while two were stopped by the opposition party as a result of the failure of their principals to be re-elected.
Jigawa State deputy governor, Ibrahim Hassan won a senatorial poll to emerge as Senator-elect, while the remaining 10 deputy governors are expected to leave with their governors on May 29 as a result of the completion of their terms. It is of note that none of the outgoing governors is handing over to their deputies next month.
The ambition of some of the deputy governors who contested for governorship with or without the support of their governors did not see the light of day as they failed to clinch their party’s tickets during the primary elections. Political ambitions also forced some governors and their deputies, who started very well to end their respective administrations as a divided house.
Zamfara deputy governor fails
The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Ibrahim Wakala, aspired to step into the shoes of Governor Abdulaziz Yari, but his ambition did not see the light of the day as the governor endorsed the state Commissioner for Finance, Muktar Idris, as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The governorship seat was zoned to Zamfara Central, where the deputy governor and Idris hail from, but Idris was endorsed against all odds by Governor Yari and all APC stakeholders. Wakala tried to fight back, but couldn’t muster enough strength to upturn the party’s decision as Idris despite all the controversies that surrounded his candidature took part in the March 9 governorship election and won the contest.
Adebule loses out
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, was inaugurated on May 29, 2015, alongside her principal, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and both of them without any iota of doubt enjoyed cordial relationship in office as there was no record of disagreement during their tenure.
As a first term deputy governor, Adebule was entitled to another term, but the power tussle in Lagos APC stalled it as she and Ambode were denied return ticket by the party led by the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
As a result of internal wrangling in the APC, Ambode lost the party’s governorship ticket to a former Managing Director/CEO of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC), Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was the favourite of the party’s leaders. While Ambode decided to fight back by contesting against APC’s leaders’ decision, Adebule towed the line of the party by voting for Sanwo-Olu during the governorship primary, saying that her decision was based on party’s supremacy.
With the emergence of Sanwo-Olu as governor-elect and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as incoming deputy governor, Adebule is expected to leave the seat of power with Governor Ambode on May 29.
Two female deputy governors win
At the moment, there are four female deputy governors in Nigeria, but only two scaled through during the last governorship elections. They are Dr. Ipalibo Banigo of Rivers State and her Enugu State counterpart, Cecilia Ezeilo. The other two others, Adebule (Lagos) and Yetunde Onanuga (Ogun) will leave office on May 29.
Banigo, who is the first female deputy governor in the state, has reaffirmed her loyalty to Governor Nyesom Wike on many occasions. The medical doctor turned politician is part and parcel of the giant stride of the Wike-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in the state and she was re-elected with Governor Wike in the last gubernatorial poll.
Like her Rivers State counterpart, Ezeilo, who is the first female deputy governor of Enugu State since its creation in 1991, was re-elected in the March 9 governorship election as running mate to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. A lawyer turned politician, Ezeilo is the first female to represent Ezeagu Constituency in the Enugu State House of Assembly. She served as Deputy Chief Whip and House Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Ethics and Privilege in Enugu State House of Assembly before Ugwuanyi picked her as running mate in the 2015 gubernatorial election on the platform of the PDP.
Bauchi, Adamawa deputy governors sink with principals
Audu Sule and Martins Babale, the deputy governors of Bauchi and Adamawa states are the only two incumbents that sank with their principals during the March 9 governorship elections.
Following the loss of Governors Muhammed Abubakar and Bindow Jibrilla, who ran on the platform of APC, Sule and Babale are going to be replaced on May 29 by Senator Baba Tela and Barr. Afrimu Jingi, who were the running mates to Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), respectively in the last governorship elections.
Governor Abubakar’s ambition of remaining in the Bauchi State government house beyond May 29 was truncated by Mohammed, a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), who won the election on PDP’s platform. Mohammed scored 515,113 votes to defeat the incumbent, who polled 500,625 votes.
Babale also lost the opportunity of joining the deputy governors, who served for two consecutive terms. He and his boss, Bindow lost the Adamawa State governorship poll to the PDP due to the influence of the former Vice President and PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who hails from the state.
It was reported that prior to the election, there was report of cold war between Governor Bindow and Babale to the point that the governor allegedly barred his deputy from attending the APC’s statewide campaign due to what was ascribed Babale’s alleged waning popularity.
Fintiri, a former acting governor of Adamawa State won the gubernatorial poll by 376,552 votes against Bindow’s 336,386 votes. With their defeat, Sule and Babale will leave Adamawa government house next month for the arrival of the new deputy governors.
Jigawa deputy governor wins senatorial seat
While many of his colleagues were re-elected or expected to leave with their principals on May 29, the deputy governor of Jigawa State, Ibrahim Hassan, come June will be joining the league of ex-deputy governors in the Senate, when the 9th National Assembly would be inaugurated.
Hassan was declared the winner of Jigawa North-East Senatorial District during the February 23 National Assembly poll. The deputy governor, who contested on the platform of the APC, scored 184,185 votes to defeat a PDP serving senator, Ubale Shittu, who polled 103,039 votes.
With his emergence as Senator-elect, Hassan will be replaced on May 29 by a former Commissioner for Finance in the state, Umaru Namadi, who was running mate to Governor Abubakar Badaru in the last governorship election.
el-Rufai’s deputy loses senatorial bid
Kaduna State deputy governor, Barnabas Bala Bantex, contested the APC senatorial primaries and won the party’s ticket for Kaduna South Senatorial District. But despite the APC being the ruling party in the state and federal levels, he lost the contest to the incumbent, Senator Danjuma La’ah.
APC won virtually all the federal and state elected positions in Kaduna State, but Bantex was unlucky in his quest to join the league of former deputy governors in Senate. The deputy governor scored 133,287 votes against La’ah of PDP, who polled 268,923 votes.
Bantex, an architect by profession, is an experienced politician, who had served in all the three tiers of government. He once successfully ran for Chairman of Kaura Local Government Area, where he was credited with the implementation of numerous developmental projects.
He also served in the House of Representatives on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) representing Kaura Federal Constituency as the only ACN legislator in the entire North-West geo-political zone. After the birth of APC, he served as the party’s state chairman in Kaduna and was later picked as running mate to former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasri el-Rufai in the 2015 elections.
Abia, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River deputy governors, others re-elected
While some deputy governors failed to be re-elected alongside their bosses or fell out with their principals, the deputy governors of Kano, Abia, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers, among others scaled through during the March 9 governorship polls.
Kano State deputy governor, Nasiru Gawuna, was lucky to scale through the hurdles during the March 9 governorship and supplementary elections in the state, which was won by APC that presented Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as its candidate.
Gawuna played crucial role in the governorship election as he fought hard to ensure that his party overcome former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso’s political force and onslaught against Governor Ganduje. Gawuna would be sworn-in on May 29 with his boss for another four years at the helms of affairs in Kano State.
Ude Oko Chukwu, was re-elected alongside his boss, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia State during the last governorship poll, while Mr. Moses Ekpo is expected to be sworn-in with Governor Udom Emmanuel in Akwa Ibom State on May 29.
Cross River State deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Ejemot Esu, also scaled through the forces of the opposition in the state to be re-elected alongside Governor Benedict Ayade for the next four years.
Kingsley Otuaro (Delta), Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi), Benson Abounu (Benue), Mannir Yakubu (Kastina), Sonni Tyoden (Plateau), Samail Yombe Dabai (Kebbi), Haruna Manu (Taraba), Ahmed Ketso (Niger) and Manir Dan’iya (Sokoto), were also re-elected on March 9 as deputies to Governors Ifeanyi Okowa, David Umahi, Samuel Ortom, Aminu Masari, Simon Lalong, Atiku Bagudu, Darius Ishaku, Abubakar Bello and Aminu Tambuwal, respectively.
Kisira, Onanuga, Adeyemo, others to leave with governors
Having served and enjoyed cordial relationship with their governors while in office, 12 deputy governors are expected to leave office with their principals on May 29, when they are expected to hand over the baton to a new government.
Ogun State deputy governor, Chief Yetunde Onanuga, is expected leave office on May 29 with his boss, Governor Ibikunle Amosun. Oyo State Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, is also expected to vacate office on May 29 after eight years of uninterrupted two-terms with Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Peter Kisira (Kwara), Usman Durkwa (Borno), Charles Iliya (Gombe) and Silas Ali Agara (Nasarawa) are also expected to bow out of office next month after the completion of the second term of Governors Abdulfatai Ahmed, Kashim Shettima, Ibrahim Dankwambo and Tanko Al-Makura.
Yobe deputy not endorsed by principal
Yobe State deputy governor, Engr Abubakar D. Ali, was among those people who were tipped for governorship in the state due to his relationship with Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, but the governor backed the former APC National Secretary, Mai-Mala Buni, for the governorship contest and he won the election.
With the outcome of the governorship election in Yobe State, Ali, who is a younger brother of late Governor Mamman Bello Ali, Gaidam’s predecessor, will bow out of office as number two citizen of Yobe State on May 29.
Madumere dumped Governor Okorocha for Uzodinma
Imo State deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere, is one of the deputy governors, who declared their intention to succeed their principals, but despite his closeness to Governor Rochas Okorocha, the governor did not give his deputy any special consideration to replace him. Rather he endorsed his Chief of Staff and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu.
Okorocha, having worked for many years with his deputy didn’t want Madumere to be left out of the politics after May 29, therefore he offered him the senatorial ticket of Imo East Senatorial District, but the offer was turned down, as Madumere who is from Owerri zone which has not produced a governor since the return to democracy in 1999, insisted that he has made up his mind to contest for the office of the governor.
Madumere in his quest to actualise his governorship ambition teamed up with other APC chieftains in Imo State to stop Governor Okorocha from producing Nwosu as APC’s governorship flag bearer in the state. The gang-up against Okorocha’s candidate materialised as Senator Hope Uzodimma emerged as APC’s governorship candidate for Imo State.
Okorocha rejected the choice of Uzodimma and backed Nwosu to pick ticket of Action Alliance (AA), while the governor remained in APC to contest for the senatorial poll. Madumere teamed up with Uzodimma in the governorship election, but both Uzodimma and Nwosu lost the governorship poll to the candidate of the PDP, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, a former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives.
Come May 29, the incumbent governors are going to experience different things as development at federal and state levels will determine their political future. While some who are in the ruling party may benefit political largesse at state or federal levels, those who lost their seats to the opposition party may face a bleak future unless they are accommodated at the federal level by the ruling APC.
It is also of note that some of the deputy governors who are serving their second term may start lobbying towards succeeding their principals in 2023 and the ambition may either strengthen or break the cordial relationship between governors and their deputies.
Apart from the 29 deputy governors whose fate after May 29 were decided by the outcome of the March 9 governorship elections, the remaining seven deputy governors future will also be determining by forthcoming governorship elections in their respective states, especially those who are in their second term.
The states where governorship elections would be held before 2023 are Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states. While Governors Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) are in their second terms, Governors Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) are in their first terms and whatever decision they take will affect the political future of their deputies.