PUNCH writes about the children and family members of several prominent and influential Nigerians, who will be members of the 10th National Assembly due for inauguration in June, 2023
On February 25, 2023, Nigerians cast their ballots in the first batch of the 2023 general elections. Winners have since emerged from the presidential, senatorial and House of Representatives elections. Meanwhile, many children and spouses of the elite, especially politicians, were elected and will be members of the incoming 10th National Assembly. This is independent of those who are contesting House of Assembly seats in their respective states.
Sadiq (Ango Abdullahi)
The Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof Ango Abdullahi, is no doubt an influential Nigerian. A former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he was a commissioner for economic planning in the North-Central State between 1973 and 1975; he once served as the member representing Zaria North-West Constituency in Kaduna State; and he was a Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Food and Security from 1999 to 2003. However, his son, Sadiq, has been elected into the House of Representatives to represent Sabon Gari federal constituency in Kaduna State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He defeated Garba Datti Muhammad of the All Progressives Congress who was seeking a fourth term. Meanwhile, Sadiq Abdullahi was one of the passengers abducted during the attack by terrorists on the Abuja-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022, and he spent 69 days in captivity.
Joshua (Jerry Gana)
Joshua is the son of Prof Jerry Gana, Nigeria’s former Minister of Information and founding National Secretary of the PDP. The younger Gana has won an election to represent Lavun/Mokwa/Edati federal constituency in Niger State at the House of Representatives. The senior Gana has held various political offices for over three decades. He was elected a senator in 1983 but the coup that brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power would not allow him, like other elected lawmakers, to serve. He was the Chairman of Mass Mobilisation for Social and Economic Recovery under the General Ibrahim Babangida-led regime. Under the military regime and democratic administration led by President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gana was at various times Information and Culture, Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Minister of Cooperation and Integration in Africa, and Minister of Information and National Orientation. He was a presidential aspirant under the Social Democratic Party but the party’s ticket went to the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, election, the late MKO Abiola. Again, he sought to be president under the PDP in 2007. Gana would later quit the PDP to run for president on the platform of the SDP in 2019. He rejoined the PDP in April, 2021.
Ayodeji (Adebayo Alao-Akala)
Olamiju Alao-Akala, son of a former governor of Oyo State, the late Adebayo Alao-Akala, has won the Ogbomoso-North/Ogbomoso-South/Orire federal constituency seat at the House of Representatives. A member of the APC, the younger Alao-Akala was the chairman of Ogbomoso-North Local Government Area. Meanwhile, his father was a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police before becoming a deputy governor between 2003 and 2006. He first served as a governor when his principal, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, was impeached as the governor, but later won an election as the governor of the state between 2007 and 2011. He later died on January 12, 2022.
Beni (Solomon Lar)
Beni, a lawyer, is the eldest daughter of a former Governor of Plateau State and one of the founding fathers of the PDP, the late Solomon Lar. She has now been re-elected to represent Langtang North/South federal constituency in Plateau State for a fifth term. In the last election, she defeated a former Minister of Sports and candidate of the SDP, Solomon Dalung. The junior Lar was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and became the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs. She was re-elected in 2011 and became the chairman, Committee on Human Rights. In 2015 during her third term in the House, she was Chairman, Committee on Science and Technology, a position she has maintained in the current ninth House.
Olumide (Olusegun Osoba)
A son of former Governor Olusegun Osoba of Ogun State, Olumide, has been re-elected as the member to represent Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode federal constituency of Ogun State in the 10th Assembly. He is currently the chairman of the House Committee on Sports Development. In 2019, Olumide, a member of the APC, a party in which his father is influential in the state, defeated one of the daughters of the late MKO Abiola, Rinsola, who was the candidate of Action Democratic Party. Olumide had represented the constituency in the House between 2011 and 2015 on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (now APC).
Akeem (Alaafin Adeyemi)
One of the sons of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Akeem, has been re-elected for a third term at the House of Representatives. He has been representing Afijio/Atiba/Oyo-East/Oyo-West federal constituency in Oyo State since 2015. Incidentally, Akeem of the APC in 2019 contested against another son of the Alaafin, Bayo, who was a candidate of the PDP.
Moshood (Oba Akiolu of Lagos)
Moshood, a son of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, has been re-elected to represent Lagos Island federal constituency II at the House of Representatives. The 10th Assembly will be his second term at the Green Chamber. The Lagos prince, a member of the APC, is currently the Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on North East Development Commission.
Blessing (David Mark)
Blessing Onuh is representing Otukpo/Ohimini federal constituency of Benue State at the House of Representatives. She is the daughter of a former President of the Senate, David Mark. Interestingly, Onuh contested against Mark’s cousin, Umahi Ahubi (the then Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly), for the PDP ticket in 2019 and lost. She got the ticket of the All Progressive Grand Alliance and defeated her uncle in the election. Having lost the ticket of APGA and defected to the APC, she has now been re-elected. Her father represented Benue South Senatorial District from 1999 to 2019, during which he was Senate President for eight years (2007 to 2015) – the longest by any senator till date. A retired Brigadier General and PDP stalwart, Mark was military Governor of Niger State (1984 to 1986) and later Minister of Communications under the military regime.
Erhriatake (James Ibori)
Erhriatake Ibori-Suenu won the Ethiope federal constituency election in Delta State on the platform of the PDP. She defeated the incumbent, Ben Igbakpa, of the New Nigerian Peoples Party. Igbakpa was a member of the PDP until he lost re-election ticket in the party’s primary. Despite that Ibori-Suenu is the daughter of a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, the godfather of the PDP in the state, she secured the same number of votes with Igbakpa in the primary. The tie led to a runoff where she eventually won. Igbakpa later defected to the NNPP which offered him the ticket to contest against Ibori-Suenu. He, however, lost at the poll.
Bello (Nasir El-Rufai)
Bello, one of the sons of the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, will in the 10th Assembly represent Kaduna North federal constituency. He contested the election on the platform of the APC and defeated the incumbent Suleiman Abdu of the PDP by 51,052 votes to 34,808. The governor has been in the public space for a while. Under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, and among different appointments, he was the Director of the Bureau of Public Procurement. He was also the Secretary of the National Council on Privatisation, under the leadership of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, which spearheaded the sale and commercialisation of public assets. He was also the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory between 2003 and 2007. He has been the governor of Kaduna State since 2015 on the platform of the APC. His two-term, eight-year tenure ends on May 29, 2023.
Khadijah Abba-Ibrahim represented Damatura/Gujba/Gulani/Tarmuwa in Yobe State at the House for two terms (2007 to 2015) before becoming the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2019. She returned to the House for a third term and is now the chairman, House Committee on North East Development Commission. She has been re-elected for another term on the platform of the APC. Khadijah is married to Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, who was the governor of Yobe State in the defunct Third Republic on the platform of SDP. He became governor again between 1999 to 2007. Abba Ibrahim then joined the Senate in 2007, where he was till 2019. In October 2017, he had said in the Senate, “We are very grateful to God and to all Nigerians. Let me categorically say, Mr Senate President, that I will stay in the Senate until death do us part. Everybody tells me that I’m a senator for life. I’m going to be in the Senate for life…”
Regina (George Akume)
Regina, wife of a former Governor of Benue State and incumbent Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, has been elected to represent Tarka/Gboko federal constituency at the House of Representatives. She won the election on the platform of the APC after defeating the incumbent, John Dyegh, of the PDP, who has been in the House since 2011. Her husband is an ex-member of the Senate. He was the governor of the North-Central State between 1999 and 2007. He was said to be the first person to have completed two terms in office as governor of the state. Akume moved to the Senate in 2007 to represent Benue North-West Senatorial District, and he was there till 2019 during which he was Minority Leader (2011 to 2015). He sought another term in 2019 but lost to a member of the House, Senator Orker Jev of the PDP.
Babajimi (T.O.S Benson)
Representing Ikorodu federal constituency of Lagos State in the House of Representatives, Babajimi Benson is also from a famous political family. The boardroom guru and legal practitioner is related to the late Theophilus Owolabi Shobowale Benson, popularly called TOS Benson. He has now been re-elected for another term on the platform of the APC. TOS Benson was a chieftain of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, an opposition party in the Western Region in the defunct First Republic. The senior Benson, said to be Babajimi’s granduncle, was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and prominent Yoruba chief, especially being the Baba Oba of Lagos. He was also Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Culture during the era.
Abdulaziz (Umaru Yar’Adua)
A younger brother to a former President of Nigeria, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, will be representing Katsina Central Senatorial District in the 10th Assembly. His name is Abdulaziz Yar’Adua, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Nigerian Army. His brother was the governor of Katsina State between 1999 and 2007 before he became the president on the platform of the PDP. He was said to be the first governor to declare his assets publicly. According to Wikipedia, during the transition programme of the military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida, to the defunct Third Republic, Yar’Adua was one of the foundation members of the Peoples Front of Nigeria with other members such as Atiku Abubakar, Babagana Kingibe, Bola Tinubu, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Wada Abubakar, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Abubakar Koko and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a political association under the leadership of his elder brother, the late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. That association later metamorphosed into a political party known as the Social Democratic Party, which eventually won the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which had the late MKO Abiola as its candidate.