9 Nigerian Governors Who ‘Fought’ Their Deputies


The exhibition of no love lost between Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, continued over the weekend during the state’s 32nd anniversary thanksgiving church service, which was conducted on Sunday at the Festival Hall, Government House.

Both Obaseki and Shaibu have been at odds over the latter’s desire to run for governor of the state in 2024.

In an apparent attempt to avoid any public displays of affection, Obaseki’s security aides reportedly banned Shaibu from approaching the governor during the ceremony. The next day, on Monday, August 28, during the 60th anniversary of the Midwest Referendum commemoration, Shaibu’s media aides were reportedly denied access, despite pleas from the deputy governor, who ultimately stormed out.

All of this indicates that, despite the deputy governor’s attempts to downplay their disagreement, both men are far from sheathing their swords.

In a broader sense, feuds between a governor and his deputy are not uncommon in Nigerian politics. In fact, several nations have experienced their fair share of such fight royales since the return of democracy in 1999.

In this article, we will look at a few of the major battles between state governors and their lieutenants.

Bola Tinubu vs Femi Pedro 

As governor of Lagos State, President Bola Tinubu clashed with his then-deputy, Otunba Olufemi Pedro.

Pedro was reported to have been on Tinubu’s bad side by supporting his Chief of Staff, Tunde Fashola, as his successor.

Because of their hatred, the deputy governor defected to the Labour Party and ran against his boss’s handpicked heir, Fashola.

Pedro received an impeachment notice from the House of Assembly following the election, which he lost. He instantly submitted his resignation letter, but parliamentarians allegedly rejected it, leading to his eventual impeachment.


Rochas Okorocha vs Jude Agbaso & Eze Madumere

Former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha had two deputy governors throughout his two years in office and had disagreements with both of them at various periods.

Jude Agbaso served as Imo State’s deputy governor until March 2013, when he was impeached. Agbaso’s spat with Okorocha allegedly began when he challenged the then-governor for a second term, citing a rumored gentleman’s agreement that stated Okorocha would control Imo State for only four years. He was fired and quickly replaced by Prince Eze Madumere.

If Agbaso’s relationship with Okorocha was perceived as a political necessity, Madumere’s relationship with Okorocha was seen as more friendly. He, too, had a falling out with his principal under identical circumstances.

Madumere was alleged to be opposed to Okorocha’s pick of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor. Madumere, enraged, threw his hat into the ring, forming a section of his supporters in the All Progressives Congress.


Seyi Makinde vs Rauf Olaniyan

The frosty relationship between Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde and his immediate past Deputy Governor, RaufOlaniyan, which was denied by both parties but had been going on for over two years, came to an end last Monday with Olaniyan’s impeachment by the state House of Assembly based on the recommendation of the panel formed to investigate the allegations leveled against him.

With the two political gladiators denying any rift, Olaniyan was to set the stage for his impeachment when he formally announced his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday, June 5, 2022, while addressing journalists at his private office in Ibadan, under which platform he and Makinde were elected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).


Rotimi Akeredolu vs. Agboola Ajayi

Anyone who has followed Akeredolu and Ajayi’s tango is undoubtedly aware of their history and strife. Ajayi was rumored to be interested in Akeredolu’s seat before to the October 10 Ondo gubernatorial election.

Ajayi then defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Because he did this while still a member of Akeredolu’s cabinet, the latter was understandably irritated and has since pursued Ajayi.

During his defection, Ajayi also left his official apartment and took his vehicles with him.


Abdullahi Ganduje vs Hafiz Abubakar

Prof Hafiz Abubakar resigned as the deputy to then-Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje on August 4, 2018, citing ‘irreconcilable disputes’ on issues of governance and government operations.

He went on to say that he had endured “immeasurable and unjustifiable humiliation” for more than two and a half years due to difficulties of governance and the need to keep the administration on course.

Though Ganduje disputed the charges, analysts said Ganduje’s relationship with Abubakar began when Abubakar refused to distance himself from the governor’s predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.


Obong Victor Attah  vs Chris Ekpenyong

Former Akwa Ibom State Governor Obong Victor Attah’s strained relationship with his then-deputy, Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, led to the latter’s impeachment.

Despite efforts by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP to stop the impeachment, the state House of Assembly decided in June 2005 to remove Ekpeyong.


Ayodele Fayose vs Abiodun Aluko 

In 2005, Governor Ayo Fayose was accused of ordering the expulsion of his deputy, Abiodun Aluko.

Aluko was impeached by the state House of Assembly after being found guilty of 16 offenses. The legislators claimed that all of the offenses were grounds for impeachment.


Isa Yuguda vs Garba Gadi

Alhaji Garba Gadi was believed to have crossed a red line with his principal, Isa Yuguda, when the latter refused to defect from the ANPP, which had brought the PDP to power.

Former Ondo State Deputy Governor Alhaji Ali Olanusi upset his principal, Olusegun Mimiko, by defecting to the All Progressives Congress rather than joining him in the Peoples Democratic Party.

He was impeached by the state House of Assembly in 2015, but two years later, a court overturned the impeachment and reinstated Olanusi. But it was too late for him because his contract with Mimiko had already expired.


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