Before the 2015 general elections, some governors, especially those who completed their first four-year term in office, did not only scheme to get a second term but made serious projections on what becomes of them after their eight-year mandate, and the ultimate destination seems to be the Senate.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, the probable destination of many governors is the Senate soon after they finished their second term.
Former governors now at the Senate include Bukola Saraki, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Aliyu Wamakko, Godswill Akpabio, Danjuma Goje, Abdullahi Adamu, Adamu Aliero, Joshua Dariye, Jonah Jang, Sam Egwu, Theodore Orji, George Akume, Ahmad Sank Yarima and Bukar Abba Ibrahim.
It was former governor Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State who said he had no business going to the Senate.
“How on earth would I go and represent one senatorial district after governing three for eight years?” he asked. He attempted gunning for the presidency.
The story is different with some of his colleagues, including some of those mentioned above, who cunningly went to the Senate by sending their “stooges” well ahead of time and succeeded in switching roles.
Some forcefully snatched the saddle from alleged foes and went to the Senate while some failed woefully in putting a successor and at the same time failed to secure a Senate ticket.
A recent example of a governor who succeeded in going to the Senate but failed to put a successor on his seat is Jonah Jang of Plateau State in 2015.
He failed to make a governor out of late Gyang Nyam Shom Pwajok, whom he sent to the Senate in 2012, after the death of Senator Gyang Danton.
Pwajok, who served as Chief of Staff to Jang, was defeated by the incumbent governor, Simon Lalong of the APC.
Another example was in 2011, when a former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, planted his erstwhile commissioner for education, Kaka Malam Yale, at the Senate.
But when the election came, Yale, who did not want trouble, did not even contest for a second term, and Sheriff, who had completed his tenure as governor, attempted to go to the Senate but was roundly defeated by late Ahmed Zannah of the PDP.
In 2007, a former governor of Bauchi State, Ahmed Muazu, who had planted another person but could not succeed in going to the Senate, the same with another former governor, Isa Yuguda, who was defeated by Senator Ali Wakili of the APC.
But other governors such as Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara and many others have succeeded in transiting to the Senate from the comfort of government houses.
It would therefore not be a rosy exercise in 2019 when some governors would undoubtedly test their political sagacity in upstaging some senators.
Like his political god father, the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, the eyes of the Kwara state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, are in the Senate.
The senatorial ambition of the second term governor is a common knowledge in the political circle of Kwara State. Ahmed, a banker turned politician, is said to be eyeing the seat of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim of the Kwara South Senatorial District.
If he succeeds, and the two present senators, Saraki and Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara North Senatorial district return to the Upper Chamber in 2019, it would mean that all the three senators of Kwara State would be former governors.
Another second time governor who is scheming to cross over to the Senate is Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State.
Almakura, who first won election to the Nasarawa State government house on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2011, is completing his second term in 2019.
At the moment, the seat of the Nasarawa South Senatorial District where Almakura hails from is being occupied by Senator Suleiman Adokwe of the PDP.
If Almakura joins the race to the Senate and Adokwe wants to return to the Red Chamber, the battle would be between APC and PDP and only time would tell if the incumbency factor would help the outgoing governor.
Political pundits in Zamfara State are expressing doubts if Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar can upstage his political god father, Senator Ahmad Sani Yarima.
Both Yari and Yarima are from the same senatorial district. Governor Yari would be rounding off his second term as executive governor of the state in 2019 while Senator Yarima, who is in the Senate for the third time, might undoubtedly seek to go for the fourth time. Some analysts opined that there could be a mutual deal between the two politicians. For instance, Yarima could abandon his senatorial ambition for Yari if he would be allowed to field a gubernatorial candidate of his choice come 2019.
However, some keen observers of political developments in the state say there is nothing Yari can do to remove Yarima as senator, owing to the fact that all party structures from the state to ward level belong to Yarima’s political camp.
“Despite spending about six years as governor, Yari is yet to build his own political structure and this is a setback for him politically. Instead of him to build his own political camp, he got himself deeply engrossed in national politics, especially with his emergence as NGF chairman,” one of the observers said.
In Gombe State, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, whose second tenure will end in 2019, is said to be aiming for the presidency.
In 2015, Dankwambo and Governor Dickson Darius Ishaku of Taraba State were the only governors that got elected under the PDP out of the 19 northern states.
After the defeat of the party at the national level in the 2015 polls, the party zoned the presidential ticket to the North and this is what he is banking on.
In an effort to spread his tentacles, Dankwambo in August, sponsored the entire members of the state executive council and some members of the state House of Assembly to Ekiti State, where he was conferred with the traditional title of Akimuagun of Ado-Ekiti. However, some political pundits are of the view that Dankwambo decided to take a shot at the presidency to avoid the embarrassment of losing the Gombe North Senatorial District senate seat, where it is believed he will face stiff opposition.
They argue that even though the incumbent Senator Usman Bayero Nafada of the APC may not contest for the Senate in 2019, as he is believe to be eyeing the governorship seat, Dankwambo opted for the presidency, going by the 2015 election result where most of his votes that came from the zone were said to be protest votes from supporters of Senator Bayero who was defeated at the APC primaries.
So many tales are told about what second-tenure-serving Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State becomes or doesn’t become in 2019.
‘Crystal ball gazers’ who see him roaming in the vicinity of the Borno Central senatorial seat say he would ‘demand’ it from the serving Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai, his ‘intimate friend’, to whom he gave it in 2015 to keep it ‘in trust’ for him till 2019. It is argued that he does not expect any opposition from Senator Garbai with regard to their ‘gentlemanly upholding’ this arrangement, just in case there ever was any such arrangement.
That, it is argued, was why he ensured the election of Garbai in the by-election to fill the position rendered vacant by the death of Senator Ahmed Zanna Khalifa.
Some of them also see Kashim sniffing around the Borno North senatorial seat, which he will ‘demand’ from the incumbent Senator Abubakar Kyari, a former commissioner and Chief of Staff. They recall him ‘claiming’ his father hailed from Gajiram in Guzamal LGA of northern Borno, when he went there to inspect community reconstruction projects for the return of IDPs and they, perhaps in a desperate search for what to lean on, now found that ‘claim’ sufficiently durable to lean on to substantiate their forecast.
That, they argue further, is made more plausible and possible by what they describe as the emerging bid to present Baba Kaka Garbai or Abu Kyari as the next gubernatorial candidate which means they would merely swap positions.
Source: Daily Trust