2023 Elections: 5 Outgoing Governors Who Lost Senatorial Bid

At least five outgoing governors failed in their bids to join Nigeria’s Senate after serving two terms of eight years each.

The outgoing governors were defeated in their respective senatorial districts in the National Assembly elections on February 25.

Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, the National Assembly, which includes the Senate and House of Representatives, has been regarded as a “retirement home” for former governors who rely on the strength of incumbency to win elections into the red and green legislative chambers.

About 20 former governors were elected into the Ninth National Assembly in 2019. Former governors presently in the National Assembly include Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Orji Kalu (Abia), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), and Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), amongst others.

Notably, all of them are in the race to return to the red chamber.

Already, Governors David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) won Saturday’s parliamentary election. The results of others like Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) are yet to be announced by the electoral body. Ex-governors who won senatorial seats so far include Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom).

Here is a list of outgoing governors who lost their quest to move to the National Assembly after their tenure on May 29, 2023:


Samuel Ortom of Benue State, a vocal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDPG5, )’s lost his election campaign for the Benue North West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.

Titus Zam, his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival in the district.

The APC candidate received 143,151 votes, while the PDP received 106,882 and the Labour Party received 51,950.

Incidentally, Zam was an appointee of Ortom during his previous tenure, from 2015 to 2019, where he worked as the Special Advisor to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs until resigning on loyalty concerns.


Another G5 member, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, lost his ambition to represent the Enugu North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.


At the election held on Saturday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ugwuanyi was defeated by Okechukwu Ezea of the Labour Party.
While Ezea won with 104,948 votes, Ugwuanyi finished in second with 46,948 votes.

Ugwuanyi has been governor of the South-East state since 2015, and his eight-year term will expire in May. Before being elected governor in 2015, he served in the House of Representatives.


Darius Ishaku of Taraba State is another departing two-term PDP governor who lost his Senate bid. He was defeated in his campaign to represent Taraba South Senatorial District in the upcoming 10th National Assembly.

The governor was defeated by his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart in the district, David Jimkuta, who received 85,415 votes to Ishaku’s 45,708 votes.


The result cuts across party lines, since two APC governors were also defeated in their Senate bids. Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, who is also the Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, is one of them (PCC).

The political heavyweight and former Northern Governors’ Forum chairman failed to secure the Plateau South Senatorial District seat.

He was defeated by Bali Ninkap Napoleon of the PDP, who received 148,844 votes to the governor’s 91,674.


Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River also lost his bid to return to the Senate after serving an eight-year term as governor.

Ayade, who served in the Senate from 2011 to 2015, wanted to reclaim his seat as Senator for Cross River North, but he was beaten by incumbent Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe.

Agom-Jarigbe of the PDP received 76,145 votes, while Ayade received 56,595.

Despite results for the presidential and National Assembly elections are still being tallied, newcomers are poised to topple some NASS landlords who have served in the red and green chambers for the previous 24 years.


Written by PH

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