How Governor Obaseki and Five other Governors Denied Second Term By Their Parties.Adunni Adetola
It has been a norm for incumbent occupant of executive offices, including offices of President of Nigeria, Governor of State and Chairman of local government areas, to seek second term in office under the platform of the party they won election or preferred party of their choice since Nigeria switched to presidential system of government in 1979. Even when these occupants of executive offices fall out with their erstwhile allies that were instrumental to their first electoral victory, they still get the nod of their party for second term.
When democracy was returned in 1999, it was expected that the elected chief across the country would keep to the tradition by seeking reelection under the platforms of their respective parties at the expiration of their terms.
But despite this unwritten tradition, a total of six first term governors have been denied tickets by their respective political parties to run for second term in office between 1999 and 2020. The six governors are;
1. Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Anambra state (PDP, 2003)
On 29th of May1999, Governor Mbadinuju fortunate to be among the thirty six governors that were inaugurated at the return of democracy after a long stretched military rule in the country.
Mbadinuju, a member of Peoples Democratic Party and protégé of Chief Emeka Offor, a wealthy businessman, was already oiling his political structure ahead of the 2003 general election where he intend to run for second term as candidate of the party, when he became a victim of intraparty power play between his camp and the loyalists of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mbadinuju, who had become estranged with Chief Emeka Offor, lost the battle to control the state party structure to the three Uba brothers, namely; Dr Chris Uba, Dr Andy Uba and Chief Ugochukwu Uba.
The Uba brothers vowed not to allow Governor Mbadinuju to run for second term as PDP candidate, and got him disqualified from participating in the 2003 Anambra State gubernatorial primary of PDP. They drafted in Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige, who was initially running for Anambra central senatorial race, to become the new preferred candidate PDP for the Anambra state governorship election.
During the PDP governorship primary, the Uba brothers excluded Governor Mbadinuju from participating in the exercise and installed Dr Chris Ngige instead.
2. Alhaji Mala Kachalla, Borno State (ANPP, 2003)
Alhaji Mala Kachalla was also among the inaugural governors of Nigeria at the return of the fourth republic on 29th May, 1999 following his victory as candidate of All Peoples Party, APP (later renamed All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP) in the 1998 gubernatorial election in Borno state. In fact, Governor Kachalla was among the few governors that was elected under the APP.
In 2002, Governor Kachalla was engaged in power tussle with a governorship aspirant and senator for Borno central, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, for the control of the soul of the Borno state chapter of ANPP. Unfortunately, Governor Kachalla was defeated by Senator Sheriff in the power tussle.
When it became clear to that the party was bent on giving Senator Sheriff its ticket for the 2003 governorship race, Governor Kachalla angrily left the party for an less fancied Alliance for Democracy; where he eventually ran for the governorship election and performed terribly.
3. Rasheed Ladoja, Oyo state (PDP, 2007)
During the 2003 election, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, the candidate of PDP, enjoyed the support of Chief Lamidi Adedibu, the strongman of Ibadan and godfather of PDP in Oyo state, to topple Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, the Governor of the state and candidate of Alliance for Democracy.
Following his success at the 2003 governorship election, Senator Ladoja was sworn in as governor of the state on 29th May 2003. But in 2006, three years into his tenure, Senator Ladoja became estranged with Chief Adedibu, his benefactor over “sharing formula”. As a result of their fallout, Chief Adedibu decreed that PDP will not grant Senator Ladoja second term ticket to run for 2007 election. He also ordered for Ladoja to be impeached from office and not be allowed to complete his first term. True to his words, Senator Ladoja was impeached as governor in 2006 and also prevented from participating in the PDP 2007 governorship primary election in Oyo state. His Deputy, Chief Christopher Alao Akala, who succeeded him as governor after he was impeached, became the new candidate of the party for the 2007 governorship election.
Although Ladoja’s impeachment was reversed by the Court of Appeal in 2007, he was still not allowed to get the PDP nomination.
4. Timipre Sylva, Bayelsa state (PDP, 2012)
After Goodluck Jonathan, the then Governor of Bayelsa state and candidate of PDP for 2007 governorship election, was elevated to become the running mate to the presidential candidate of PDP for 2007 presidential election, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Chief Timipre Sylva, who came second at the 2007 governorship primary election, was elevated to become the new governorship candidate of the party in Bayelsa state election 2007.
Sylva won the election and was subsequently sworn in to succeed Jonathan on 29th of May, 2007 as new governor of the state. Although the Appeal court nullified his victory and ordered for rerun in April 2008, Sylva still ran as candidate of the PDP and won the rerun election that was held on 24th May 2008.
In January 2012, the Supreme Court nullified the continuous stay of Governor Sylva in office on the ground that his four year tenure elapsed on May 29, 2011 instead of the assumed May 29, 2012, and ordered for a new governorship election in the state.
While preparing for a new election that will see him govern for another term, Sylva fell out with President Goodluck Jonathan. As a result of the fallout, President Jonathan was determined not to see Sylva return to office and caused the national leadership of PDP to disqualify Sylva from participating in the governorship election. The former also brought in a member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Seriake Dickson, to run as candidate of PDP. Dickson eventually won the election and succeeded Sylva as Governor of the state on 14th February 2012.
5. Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos (APC 2019)
In 2015, Akinwunmi Ambode, a former civil servant and charismatic personality, enjoyed the favor of a former governor and strongman of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to run for the governorship election in the state on the platform of All Progressive Congress.
After his victory at the election, he was inaugurated on 29th May 2015 to takeover the affairs of the state from outgoing Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
In 2018, Governor Ambode lost favor before the sight of Asiwaju Tinubu, members of his political family, and members of APC in Lagos state. In September 2018, the party concluded not to field him for the second time, and advised to bury his ambition to seek second term on the party’s platform at the 2019 general election. The party threw their support behind another protégé of Asiwaju Tinubu, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu instead.
Ambode ignored the advise and insisted on running, but was eventually rejected by the members of the party, including his deputy, at the APC primary election of Lagos state. Mr Sanwoolu, the favored candidate won the contest and went on to win the main election.
6. Governor Godwin Obaseki, Edo state (APC, 2020)
On Friday, 12th of June 2020, Governor Obaseki was disqualified by a Committee to screen governorship aspirants that are seeking the ticket of APC to participate at the Edo state governorship primary election of the party that is scheduled for 22nd June, 2020. His disqualification and rejection by the party is believed to be as a result of his political warfare with his predecessor and benefactor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, who is also the national chairman of APC, and it sealed his fate to contest at the September 19 Edo state governorship election under the APC platform.
Obaseki who became governor in 2016 through the magnanimity of Comrade Oshiomole, has been engrossed in battle of supremacy with his former principal over the control of the soul of the state chapter of the party. He was already preparing to participate and win the APC primary election in order stand as the party’s candidate for the Edo state 2020 governorship election, but the disqualification by the APC Screening Committee has put an end to the project.