By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru & Levinus Nwabughiogu
UNLESS they pick the tickets of other parties and win the 2023 polls, more than 70 per cent of the 469 members of the National Assembly will not return, if the outcome of ongoing primaries of the political parties is anything to go by.
A host of the lawmakers lost out in power game for the control of the states with governors, who recently vowed to determine who emerged as standard bearers at all levels in the country.
With the prevailing trend the 10th National Assembly may be dominated by fresh legislators with the attendant adverse effects on institutional memory which boosts legislation.
Not all lawmakers lost at the primary stage. Some senators, on their own volition, decided not to pick forms to return. Some decided to go for the presidency or governorship.
Lawan, Okorocha, Amosun, Borroffice for presidency
Prior to the adjournment of plenary at the Senate, four senators had written and indicated interest to contest for the position of the president as that connotes that they were not coming back to the Senate to continue with legislative activities.
They are Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North); Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo West); Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central); and Ajayi Robert Borrofice (APC, Ondo North).
In like manner, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central) did not buy nomination forms in order to support her husband, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidential aspiration, just as Senator Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-West). Also, Senator Yakubu Oseni (APC, Kogi Central) was advised not to buy forms by his governor, Yahaya Bello because of his preferred candidate, Engr. Abubakar Ohere.
Senators taken away by appointment
Before now, three senators had resigned from the Senate following their election and appointment into various positions outside the National Assembly. They are Senators Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa West), who became the National Chairman of the ruling APC; Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), who became the Deputy National Chairman of the APC, and Hassan Mohammed (APC, Zamfara Central), who was appointed the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State.
Senators eyeing governorship
Those who did not pick forms to come back but wanted to go to their various Government Houses were Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central); former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu West); Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South); Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South); Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North); former Deputy Minority leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (APC, Taraba South); Senator Hezekiah Dimka (APC, Plateau Central); Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central); Senator Teslim Folarin (APC, Oyo Central); Senator Abubakar Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central); Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East); Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East); Senator Sandy Onor (PDP, Cross River Central); and Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River South).
Game of intrigues, betrayal
The primaries were characterised by high-wire intrigues, manoeuvring, backstabbing and betrayal among others, began to come in as one governor or former governor moved to outplay other contenders for the Senate.
In Ondo State, the three senators will not be returning because Borroffice went for the position of President, Patrick Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central) and Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo South) lost at the primaries.
Also, in Akwa Ibom State, the three serving senators – Akpan, Ekpenyong and Akon Eyakenyi (PDP, Akwa Ibom South) were replaced by the party following the action of Governor Udom Emmanuel who sought and lost presidential ticket of the PDP to Atiku Abubakar on Saturday.
In Cross River State, only Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe (PDP, Cross River North won the ticket of his party to return. Onor won the governorship ticket and Gershom Bassey lost in his bid to be the governor of the state.
In the FCT, a high ranking Senator and the Minority Whip of the Senate, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda, PDP, FCT polled 190 votes out of 191 to win the ticket and return to the Senate, just as Tanko Al-Makura, (APC, Nasarawa West); Danjuma Goje, (APC, Gombe Central); Saidu Alkali, (APC, Gombe North) and Bulus Amos, (APC, Gombe South) were given tickets by their parties.
In Bayelsa State, former governor Henry Seriake, (PDP, Bayelsa West) won the party’s ticket to return to the Senate while Cleopas Zuwoghe, (PDP, Bayelsa Central)lost to the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kombowei Benson.
In Enugu, Chukwuka Utazi, (PDP, Enugu North) who had earlier stepped down for his Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, will not return. Senator Chimaroke Nnamani won a re-election ticket on the platform of the PDP.
While Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) won the ticket of his party, Senator Danjuma La’ah (PDP, Kaduna South) lost, even as Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi South) withdrew saying that the scheduled primaries would be symbolic and patently fraudulent because the delegates list comprised persons handpicked by the state governor to do his bidding.
In Taraba State, Abubakar Yusuf who went for the governorship race was screened out as Senator Emmanuel Bwacha got the APC governorship ticket. Governor Darius Ishaku got the PDP’s ticket for Taraba South where Bwacha comes from and Shuaibu Isa Lau, Taraba North, got the party’s ticket to return to the Senate.
In Rivers State, of the three senators, only Senator Mpigi Barinada, PDP, Rivers South-East got the party’s ticket to return because Sekibo did not buy form for Senate and Senator Betty Apiafi has been replaced with the Deputy Governor of the state.
In Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong who got the party’s ticket will be replacing Senator Ladi Dadu’ut, APC, Plateau South, same way Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s former Chief of Staff, Muhammad Sani Abdullahi got the party’s ticket to replace Uba Sani, Kaduna Central, because Sani has got the party’s governorship ticket.
In Katsina, Mukthar Dandutse defeated Senator Bello Mandiya, APC, Katsina South.
Like what happened in Plateau State, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who defeated Adamu Aliero is coming to the Senate and Husaini Suleiman will be replacing the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, who scored zero in the race for Kebbi State governorship ticket. He was defeated by the President of the National Union of Teachers, NUT, Dr. Nasir Idris, who got the party’s governorship ticket.
In Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom has picked the PDP Senatorial ticket to replace Emmanuel Orker- Jev, PDP, Benue West while Senators Gabriel Suswam, PDP, Benue North-East and Abba Moro, PDP, Benue South, got their tickets to return to the Senate.
In Osun, the Senate Spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, APC, Osun Central was returned unopposed while Senator Francis Fadahunsi, PDP, Osun East got the party’s ticket to return to the Senate, but not the same for Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, APC, Kwara Central who was knocked out by Saliu Mustapha. Oloriegbe replaced the former President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki.
In Jigawa, Senator Danladi Sankara, APC, Jigawa West withdrew from the race
In Abia State, Abaribe did not get the governorship ticket of the PDP. He left the PDP, resigned as Senate Minority Whip, and defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, which gave him Abia South Senate return ticket. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu also won Abia South PDP ticket. In a way, Ikpeazu has prevented Abaribe from succeeding him as governor. Will Abaribe stop Ikpeazu from replacing him in the Senate? Only time will tell.
The Senate Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia North, got his party, APC’s ticket to return. However retiring SenatorTheordore Orji, PDP, Abia Central, is not returning as the immediate Past National Organising Secretary of PDP, Col. Austin Akobundu, retd., got the ticket of the PDP.
In Delta State, while Omo- Agege and Manager are not coming back to the Senate, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, APC, Delta North, got the ticket of his party
Former Senate leader and Chairman, Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, got the APC ticket to return just like former Governor, Kassim Shetima, APC, Borno Central.
In Niger State, the Deputy Senate Whip, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, APC, Niger North, was removed by his Governor, Abubakar Sanni Bello who got the party’s ticket while the Chairman, Senate Services and a frontrunner for the position of APC National Chairman, Senator Sani Musa, APC, Niger East, polled 492 votes to defeat his opponent, Ibrahim Nakowa who scored 02 votes. Musa got the party’s ticket to return to the 10th Senate.
In Anambra State, Uche Ekwunife, PDP, Anambra Central and Senator Stella Oduah, PDP, Anambra North, got the party’s ticket to return, even as Ifeanyi Uba, Young Progressives Party, YPP, Anambra South, is sure of getting the ticket of his party.
In Edo State, before the APC primary election, the former Deputy Whip and present Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Senator Francis Alimikhena, APC, Edo North who cited injustice in the process, did not only withdraw from the primary, but dumped the APC and former Governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole got the ticket of the party, but for Edo South, the present, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, PDP, Edo South lost to his name sake; Matthew Iduoriyekemwen would slug it out with other rivals at the 2023 and Senator Clifford Ordia, PDP Edo Central, got the party’s ticket to return.
In Kogi State, while only Jibrin Isah, APC, Kogi East will be returning, his colleagues, Smart Adeyemi, APC, Kogi West has been replaced with Sunday Karimi while Engr. Abubakar Ohere replaced Oseni.
In Lagos State, the Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni was picked by the APC to replace Tinubu in the Senate for Lagos Central; former Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule was picked for Lagos West to replace Senator Olamilekan Adeola, who has gone to his state, Ogun State, to represent Ogun West Senatorial District and he has got the ticket, just as Senator Tokunboh Abiru scored 344 votes to return to the Senate on the party’s ticket.
Sound bites of continuity, goodbyes in House of Reps
The lower chamber of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives also witnessed the same scenario as the Senate.
There are also those who by virtue of their elevation to the Senate or in pursuit of governorship ambitions in their respective states, will not be going back to the House.
Prominent among the lawmakers who have clinched the ticket of their parties include the following:
Currently, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila calls the shots as the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives. He represents Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State. Gbajabiamila’s legislative pedigrees ring a bell. He debuted in the House in 2003 and since then, it’s been back to back for him. Gbajabiamila has been a minority leader, the majority leader and now the Speaker of the House. To somewhat appreciate him for his legislative interventions, his party, the APC, and constituents returned him unopposed in the primaries to contest for the 2023 general elections for the 7th time.
Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase
Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase currently represents Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State. He’s on his fourth term having been elected into the House in 2007. He scaled through and has clinched the ticket of his party, the APC. Should he win, he will be returning to the House for the fifth time.
Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa
Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa is of the APC. He is probably the oldest lawmaker in the House having been elected first in 1992. He represents Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State.
Rep. Peter Akpatason
Rep. Peter Akpatason is also of the APC. He represents Akoko Edo Federal Constituency of Edo State. He’s the deputy majority leader of the 9th House. He was successful in the primary election and so, will be returning to the House should he win in the general polls.
Rep. Muktar Aliyu Betara
Rep. Muktar Aliyu Betara represents Biu, Bayo, Kusar, Shani Federal Constituency of Borno State. He’s currently the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. An APC member, he has since secured his ticket, ready for a fifth return to the House.
Rep. Benjamin Kalu
Rep. Benjamin Kalu is a young lawmaker who debuted in 2019 to represent Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State. Kalu has, however, distinguished himself as the spokesman of the 9th House. He’s also of the APC and has clinched his ticket for a return.
On the part of the main opposition PDP, the following scaled through:
Rep. Ndudi Elumelu
Rep. Ndudi Elumelu is the Minority Leader of the 9th House, representing Aniocha North/Aniocha South/Oshimili North/Oshimili South Constituency of Delta State.
Rep. Thomas Ereyitomi
Rep. Thomas Ereyitomi won PDP’s ticket to represent Warri Federal Constituency of Delta State. He’s also set to return to the House.
Those who failed to make it
In the list of those who failed to secure their tickets include the Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu who represents Awgu/Aninri/Orji River Federal Constituency of Enugu State. He’s however in court over the discrepancy arising from the emergence of the three-man delegates that participated in the primary election.
Reps. Mark Gbilla, Francis Agbo and Kpam Sokpo
In Benue State, the trio of Rep. Mark Gbillah representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Rep. Francis Agbo representing Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency and Rep. Kpam Sokpo of Buruku Federal Constituency of the state failed to clinch their tickets.
Rep. Obinna Chidoka
Rep. Obinna Chidoka, who represents Idemili Federal Constituency of Anambra State also lost the election and won’t be going back to the House in 2023.
There are also some lawmakers from the Green Chambers who have ported to the Senate. One of them is Rep. Tajudeen Yusuf, who defeated Senator Dino Melaye to clinch the ticket of the PDP for Kogi West.
Similarly in the same trajectory, Hon. Onofiok Luke representing Etinan Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State won’t be coming back. Luke went for the governorship of his state and lost. He won’t be returning to the House in 2023.