Two former governors from Zamfara and Yobe states, Ahmed Sani Yarima and Bukar Abba Ibrahim, will be among the big losers when Nigeria ushers in the 9th Senate in June next year, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.
Both Yarima and Bukar Abba had served as governors of their states from 1999 to 2007, and retired to the Senate ever since, just like other former governors that had served out their tenures.
They are among over a dozen of notable senators that would not return to the Senate after losing out even before or during the primaries of their various political parties.
In what appeared to be like a political retirement, the duo of Yarima and Bukar Abba were edged out by their state governors, Abdulaziz Yari and Ibrahim Geidam, respectively.
The two former governors are not alone as a few other notable senators also lost out in their bid to return to the Senate. Other big senators that will not appear in the 9th Senate include Ben Murray Bruce, Abu Ibrahim, Rafiu Ibrahim, Abdullahi Sabi, David Umaru, Mustapha Sani, Umaru Kurfi, Joshua Lidani, Baba Kaka Garbai, among others.
Ahmed Sani Yarima
Yarima, 58, who hitherto called the political shots in Zamfara State, is now going to be watching the activities of the Senate from outside, perhaps on TV screens, after spending 12 years as a legislator.
Our correspondent gathered that Yarima had reached an understanding with Yari, his erstwhile political godson, to vacate the Senate seat for Zamfara West for the governor come 2019, while in turn the governor will give him the free hand to select the next governor of the state.
As it turned out, while Yarima relaxed to respect the agreement, Yari had since reneged on that political arrangement and anointed one of his commissioners, Muktar Shehu Idris, to succeed him. Yarima on the other hand is backing Yari’s deputy, Ibrahim Wakkala, to clinch the ticket.
But analysts said Yari’s plan ab initio was to retire Yarima politically as he has since picked the Senate ticket to replace the former governor in the Senate.
Bukar Abba Ibrahim
For Bukar Abba, it was a game well planned by his state governor, Geidam to make him lose relevance. The current governor has since picked the ticket to replace the former governor.
Since the inception of the current 8th Assembly, there has been a silent war between the one-time political warehouse of Yobe State and the current governor, who is also reported to have acquired a lot of political sagacity and clout in the state over the past 10 years.
When the silent war began to become public knowledge, the former governor was said to have boasted that he could return to the Senate as long as he wanted.
However, he was also reported to have asked the sitting governor if he was interested in the Senate seat after his second term, since they are both from Yobe East.
As the primaries to select candidates for various positions in the 2019 general elections drew nearer, stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Yobe State endorsed Geidam to replace Bukar Abba in the Senate, and so the former governor had no option but to budge.
Ben Murray Bruce
Murray Bruce, owner of the Silverbird Television, is one big senator that will not be seen in the 9th Assembly. Soon after the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly on June 9, 2015, Murray Bruce carved a niche for himself as one of the few senators that could be described as those who know their onions.
The champion of the ‘common sense,’ Murray Bruce had indicated his interest to recontest for the Senate seat for Bayelsa East Senatorial District. But the lawmaker himself knew from day one that his was a concluded matter – that he cannot return to the Senate – due to the zoning arrangement in his area.
Though he purchased the nomination and expression of interest forms for the contest, the senator was forced to dump his ambition few days to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for the position as the handwriting was too clear on the wall for him that he could go nowhere.
The face of Senator Abu Ibrahim, one of the elders of the 8th Senate and a fourth termer in the Red Chamber, would not be seen on the floor of the Senate after June 9, 2019.
Representing Katsina South, Abu Ibrahim, now 72, could be described as someone that has seen it all, legislatively speaking.
At some point, the senator made up his mind not to return to the Senate, but some people from his senatorial district had wanted him to return. But in the end, he made up his mind not to seek reelection.
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi
Sabi, a veterinary doctor and first termer in the Senate, became known nationwide having been appointed as the image-maker of the 8th Senate. Because of the nature of his assignment, Sabi was seen as one of the few senators close to Saraki.
As a senator, he had faced a lot of challenges back in his senatorial district as he was reportedly attacked on a number of occasions by his constituents.
His bid to clinch the APC ticket for Niger North met a brick wall as he lost at the primary to a fresh entrant into the race.
Sen Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim represents Kwara South. A former member of the House of Representatives and a second term senator, Rafiu is one of the closest persons to Senate President Bukola Saraki.
As a matter of fact, he is often described as a ‘Saraki boy’ because he owes his political ascendancy to the Saraki dynasty.
After spending months campaigning to return to the Senate in 2019, Rafiu Ibrahim was left in pains as he was asked not to re-contest. He was so unfortunate to have the current state governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed, who also wants to come to the Senate, from his senatorial district.
It was gathered that Ibrahim had campaigned vigorously and mobilized delegates and other supporters to back him during the primary, only for him to be asked to shelve his ambition for Governor Ahmed.
Umaru who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and represents Niger East, happens to be one of the respected senators of the 8th Assembly.
However, back in his constituency, he also lost his return bid to the Senate, and like others, he has since alleged a foul-play in the conduct of the primary that saw him losing.
Lidani, a former deputy governor of Gombe State, represents Gombe South Senatorial District.
A PDP lawmaker, Lidani has joined the league of those whose faces will not appear on the floor of the 9th Senate as he lost his seat to a female member of the House of Reps, Binta Bello.
Kurfi hails from President Muhammadu Buhari’s state of Katsina. Though a first termer, he is accorded a lot of respect by his colleagues due to his maturity.
However, he too lost his bid to return to the Senate on the platform of the APC.
Baba Kaka Garbai
Garbai, representing Borno Central, came to the Senate after the demise of Zannah Bukar, who had won the election for the senatorial seat during the 2015 elections but did not live to witness the inauguration day.
A lawyer and a prince in the Borno Emirate, Kaka was saddled with the responsibility of chairing the Senate Committee on Rules and Business even as a first termer.
Though he had set out to go for governorship of the state, just like his fellow senator from the state, Abubakar Kyari, he was later asked to step down for the anointed candidate of Governor Kashim Shettima and a former commissioner, Prof Umara Zulum.
Were Kaka not to be from the same senatorial district as Shettima, he would have been given his return ticket after stepping down for Zulum. However, Shettima has picked the ticket to replace Kaka in the Senate. Kyari, who also stepped down, has since got his return ticket.
There are other senators that may not be returning to the Senate some of whom include Foster Ogola from Bayelsa, Gilber Nnaji (Enugu), Mustapha Sani (Niger) and a host of others as they lost their return bid.
However, there are other senators who will not be in the 9th Assembly not because they lost their return ticket or were forced out tactically but because they went to contest for governorship seats in their respective states.
Such senators include Kabiru Garba Marafa (APC, Zamfara, pending), whose primary has been postponed several times due to different reasons; Jerry Husseini (PDP, Plateau, won); Sunny Ogbouji (APC, Ebonyi, won) and Magnus Abe (APC, Rivers, lost).
Others are John Owan-Enoh (APC, C/River, won); Usman Bayero Nafada (PDP, Gombe, won); Suleiman Hunkuyi (PDP, Kaduna, lost); Hope Uzodinma (APC, Imo, pending); Abdulaziz Murtala Nyako (ADC, Adamawa, won), Philip Aruwa Gyunka (PDP, Nasarawa, lost); Shaba Lafiagi (PDP, Kwara, lost), among others.
Saraki, Kwankwaso, Mark may get return ticket
Meanwhile, our correspondent reports that Saraki, Senators Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former Kano State governor and former Senate President David Mark, all of whom are participating in the battle for PDP presidential ticket, may get their return tickets to the Senate if they lose out.
But it is not clear if a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, who is also a PDP presidential aspirant, would get a return ticket.
The trio of Saraki, Kwankwaso and Mark reportedly obtained the PDP nomination and expression of interest forms for the Senate by proxy should they fail in the PDP presidential primary.