As the clock ticks towards the 2023 elections, some governors who are completing their second terms next year have commenced moves to switch to the federal parliament, a place tagged as retirement home for state chief executives.
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, it has been a common practice among governors to retire to the National Assembly as senators after serving out their second term.
Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State is first among the second term governors to pick expression of interest and nomination forms to contest the Plateau South senatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The senatorial seat is currently occupied by Nora Ladi Daduut, who was elected to the Red Chamber after the death of Ignatius Longjan.
Serving commissioners from Plateau State raised N60million to purchase the forms for Lalong, according to the chairman of the Commissioners Forum of Plateau State, Yakubu Datti .
As Governor Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa State rounds off his second and final term in office come May 29, 2023, his next political move has become the subject of discourse in the state’s political circle.
While the governor had kept the issue close to his chest, some of his loyalists had linked him to a possible race to the Senate.
The Tide source gathered that the governor’s decision to move to the Red Chamber of the National Assembly was taken during a high-level meeting which took place last week Friday shortly before the governor travelled to Saudi Arabia on lesser hajj.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State in early March, declared his interest to contest the Benue North West senatorial seat currently occupied by Senator Emmanuel Orker Jev.
Ortom said he made the move after a series of consultations with his kinsmen, telling them that he had finally been convinced that God had confirmed to him to contest the election.
Few weeks after his declaration, elders from the Masev, Ihyarev and Nongov Development Association (MINDA) in Benue State presented People’s Democratic Party (PDP’s) expression of interest and nomination forms for the Senate race to the governor.
There were reports weeks ago that Umahi had dropped his presidential ambition to contest the Ebonyi South Senatorial seat in the 2023 general elections.
But the governor dismissed claims through the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Uchenna Orji, who described the claims as falsehood peddled by political charlatans in a statement.
Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, who vacated the Delta North senatorial seat after one tenure in 2015 to become governor, is yet to publicly declare his intention to return to the Red Chamber after completing his second term in 2023, but feelers from the state indicate that the governor is planning to switch over to the parliament.
Earlier last month, the Delta governor had said his next political move would soon be made public after consultation with stakeholders.
Reacting to speculations that Okowa had procured the PDP nomination and expression of interest forms for senatorial election, his Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said it was within his boss’s constitutional right to return to the Red Chamber.
The coast became cleared for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to move to the legislature in 2023 as the lawmaker representing his Enugu North senatorial district in the Red Chamber after Chukwuka Utazi, announced that he would not run for the senatorial seat.
Utazi, while addressing the delegates of the PDP from the senatorial district, said he decided not to contest to pave the way for the smooth emergence of Ugwuanyi as Enugu North senator in the 10th National Assembly.
“We will follow our brother and leader. We are going to be behind you, and pray that God would guide you to take this decision,” Utazi assured the governor, amid jubilation.
Governor Darius Ishaku has also commenced scheming to replace the senator representing his Taraba South senatorial district, Emmanuel Bwacha.
The frosty relationship between them forced Bwacha out of the PDP. The lawmaker said he left the party to escape the “apparent persecution” by his governor, whom he accused of being against his political progress.
Gov Aminu Tambuwal is a frontline presidential aspirant of the PDP. However, there are speculations in the state that his plan B is to contest the Sokoto South senatorial election in the event that he loses the party’s presidential primary.
There are insinuations that the governor had asked one of his commissioners, Aminu Bala Bodinga, to buy the PDP form for Sokoto South senatorial zone.
2023: Southern PDP Leaders Consider Fresh Option
Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southern 17 states have begun move to ensure that the presidential ticket is secured by an aspirant from one of the three geo-political zones.
In the alternative, they are also looking at a northerner with strong roots in the South.
The plan, according to sources, is to have a second strategy or an Option B, as it has become obvious that the party leadership will not yield to the demand for the presidential ticket to be specifically zoned to the South.
The Southern leaders are moving to ensure that their delegates vote only for either a particular southern aspirant or to adopt a northern candidate, who is not from the far North.
The strategy of the southern PDP leaders behind this plot is to ensure that the outcome of the PDP primary produces a win-win situation for the South, irrespective of where the candidates come from.
A chieftain, who spoke on phone, said: “We want to ensure that the South converts the disadvantage of the PDP refusing to zone the presidential position to the South in line with the rotation arrangement in the party’s constitution becomes a benefit to us.
“We will work to ensure that the South decides who the presidential candidate is, even if he is not from our zone.
“Southern delegates may come together and choose a northern candidate who has strong roots in the South. He must be somebody who has a close affinity and filial relationship with us. He must be somebody who understands the challenges facing the South and can run a government that is based on equity, justice and inclusiveness, and knows what it is to suffer injustice or the pains of the minority.”
“It is the reason why we will not support aspirants from the far North. We will rather support an aspirant whose zone has not produced any of the two positions in the Presidency. An ideal candidate for the PDP is somebody from either the South or the Northern minority.
“It is the only way we can show that without having a southern candidate; we can have a president who believes he owes the South and that the support of the southern delegates is instrumental to his victory. That means that if the South plays its card very well, it can produce a southern candidate from the North.”
Buhari To Determine Malami,Other Returning Ministers’ Fate – Lai Mohammed
President Muhammadu Buhari will decide the fate of those members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) who made a u-turn on their political ambitions and continue to serve in the current administration.
Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this Wednesday to newsmen after the FEC meeting at the State House, Abuja, said he will need to confirm from the president the status of the returning ministers on whether or not they have been reabsorbed into the cabinet.
He said: “The question about ministers returning or not going, I think you need to give me more time so that I can tell you exactly what the situation is. Right now, I need to cross check. I need to confirm again from Mr President what the situation is. You see the final decision on who is going, who’s coming back, who’s not going lies with Mr. President.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; his Women Affairs counterpart, Dame Pauline Tallen; Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva, had earlier rescinded their decision to contest for elective offices in 2023.
Malami was physically present at Wednesday’s Council meeting, while Tallen and Sylva attended the meeting virtually from their various offices in Abuja.
Ngige is said to be away on official engagement in Durban, South Africa, where he is attending the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) global conference on Child Labour.
2023: Ganduje Refuses To Endorse Amaechi For Presidency
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has refused to endorse the former Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, for the presidency come 2023.
Amaechi visited Kano on Wednesday as part of his consultations ahead of the All Progressives Congress’ presidential primary.
The former minister had resigned from President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to pursue his presidential ambition under the platform of the APC.
At the meeting, with other APC stakeholders present, Ganduje said Kano as a “swing state, will continue to swing.”
He added that Amaechi would know where the state eventually swung to at the right time.
TheTide source gathered that Amaechi, who had told the governor that the people in the APC already knew where Ganduje’s loyalty was, added that he was in Kano to convince him that he was the most qualified among the aspirants.
Our source recalled that when Amaechi visited the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, he was equally not endorsed as the governor told him former Governor Bola Tinubu was their rallying point.
Ganduje is also known to be an ally of Tinubu, who is also aspiring for the Presidency.
Meanwhile, Amaechi said he was more qualified than Tinubu, noting that the former Lagos governor had never been a minister, and even as a lawmaker, Tinubu only served for a few months.
He equally noted that he was more qualified than Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, adding that while Osinbajo was a commissioner in Lagos, he was already a Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly.
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