2023: Governors Move Against Senators

February 7, 2022
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Barely one year to the 2023 general elections, some senators elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP) are reported to be at loggerheads with their state governors over their re-election ambitions.

According to a report by Daily Sun, the root of the battle is the plot by some of the governors serving out their second term to scheme out the lawmakers (seeking a return to the 10th senate) and take their tickets in the parties’ primaries ahead of the 2023 poll.

“Some of the senators, who are ranking members of the upper chamber, currently represent senatorial districts of their governors. Many governors, who are serving out their second terms in office, want to replace the embattled lawmakers in the Senate,” a source told Daily Sun.

“Among the six geopolitical zones, South East appears to be the region that may lose about 80 per cent of its current senators in 2023. While some of the outgoing senators are nursing other political ambitions, others will be replaced by their governors.”

One of the embattled senators told Daily Sun that plans by their governors to replace them had informed their decision to yank off indirect primaries from the existing Electoral Act.

He said with direct primaries, lawmakers believed they had a fighting chance and could easily win their parties’ primaries, but with indirect primaries, governors would determine the delegates to vote during the exercises, and this puts the lawmakers in a disadvantaged position.

Ranking lawmakers from Kogi, Niger, Taraba, Enugu, Ekiti, Kano, Imo and Edo, could also face re-election setbacks.

In Abia for instance, senators Enyinnaya Abaribe and Theodore Orji, are not returning to the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly. While Abaribe plans to succeed the current governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Orji is retiring from active politics. Current Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, may be the only serving senator from Abia to return in 2023.

In Anambra, the three senators, Ifeanyi Ubah, Stella Oduah and Lilian Ekwunife, may lose their re-election bids. Ubah hails from Anambra South, where the incoming governor of the State, Charles Soludo, hails from. There are fears that All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), may win the district in 2023. Ubah is a member of YPP.

Oduah is serving out her second term in office. Last year, ahead of the governorship election in the state, dumped PDP and defected to APC. Her new party lost the election. There are strong indications that this maybe her last outing as a senator.

Ekwunife, who represents Anambra Central, may also face stiff opposition from her party, the PDP and her biggest nightmare, Victor Umeh of APGA in 2023. She may also lose her re-election bid.

Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, Chukwuka Utazi and Chimaroke Nnamani, all from Enugu State, may not return to the senate.

While Ekweremadu has said he won’t view for another term, haven spent about 20 years in the Senate, Utazi on the other hand, would be replaced by his governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Nnamani’s current cold war with the governor over succession may also cost him his re-election to the senate in 2023.

In Ebonyi, the three senators are loggerheads with the governor, David Umahi. Though a member of the ruling APC, Umahi is expected to give the three senators who are PDP members a tough battle.

In Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who may believe has lost out in the control of the state structure of APC may not be re-elected for another term in the senate.

In Akwa Ibom, two out of the three senators may not return. While Senator Bassey Akpan will be affected over his plan to succeed the current governor; Christopher Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor, would be affected by age and zoning arrangements and is believed not to be returning. Only Senator Akon Eyakenyi may return in 2023.

In Cross River, the three senators may not return. They’re currently battling to succeed the Governor Ben Ayade. If they continue in their bid, fresh lawmakers may replace them in 2023.

In Delta State, the three senators may not return. Peter Nwaoboshi maybe replaced by his governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. James Manager who has spent almost 20 years in the Senate, will likely be replaced by a former governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan.

Current Deputy President of the Senate, Oviedo Omo-Agege, won’t return if he decides to pursue his governorship bid on the platform of APC.

The three senators from Edo may also not return going by the existing political arrangement in the State. Since 1999, senators from Edo have only served for two terms. If that arrangement is sustained in 2023, Clifford Ordia, Francis Alimikhena and Matthew Urhoghide would not re-elected.

The fate of senators from Bayelsa and Rivers State are still hanging in the balance.

The power-play and political situation in South West is still too unstable for political pundits to predict how the outcome will play out in 2023. Besides Ekiti and Oyo states, where some of the senators may not return, the fate of others are unclear.

In the North Central, Philip Aduda who represents the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is expected to face stiff opposition from his party, the PDP and the opposition APC. He’s seeking for another term in 2023.

In Niger, the current Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Sabi Abdullahi, may not be re-elected. In 2019, he narrowly escaped rejection by his constituents. The fate of the other two senators are unknown.

In Kogi, Smart Adeyemi who is serving out his third term maybe booted out in 2023. There are claims that the governor, Yahaya Bello, is planning to replace him. The fate of the other two senators are unclear.

Plateau State may have a new crop of senators, drawn from the APC and the PDP in 2023. Governor Simon Lalong is expected to run for the Senate. The other two slots maybe challenged by fresh candidates.

In Nasarawa, a former governor, Adamu Abdullahi, is not seeking for another term as a result of old age. If Tanko Almakura is elected national chairman of APC, his seat will be vacant too.

In Kwara, the three senatorial seats held by APC members, will be fiercely challenged by Bukola Saraki-led PDP. It is too early to predict how events will turn out.

In the North West, the major political upsets are expected in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina. Danjuma Laah, who represents Kaduna South and serving out his second term, will be challenged and maybe replaced by a new member.

The three senators from Kano State, may not return. Kabiru Gaya and Jibrin Barau, are contending to succeed the current governor, Abdullahi Ganduje. They may not return to the Senate. Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s ongoing battle with Ganduje, mat cost him his re-election bid.

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