It is not the best of times for five aggrieved governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) known as the G5 as three of the ‘Integrity Group’ failed in their quests to cross over to the Senate after their two-term tenure of eight years each.
The G5 is made up of five PDP governors — Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers).
The five governors formed an alliance after the party’s presidential primary in May 2022, to demand that the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu step down for a southern replacement as a precondition to support the presidential ambition of the party’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar in the February 25 poll. Both Atiku and Ayu called the governors’ bluff and did not succumb to their demands in the just-concluded elections.
For the presidential election, Atiku lost in all the G5 states while Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi won Enugu and Abia, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) raked in Oyo, Benue and Rivers.
Of the G5, Ortom, Ikpeazu, Ugwuanyi and Wike are two-term governors while Makinde is a single-term governor who is contesting the March 11, 2023 governorship poll and hopes to return to office for another four years.
Interestingly, Ortom, Ikpeazu, and Ugwuanyi attempted to cross over to the Senate which has been described as a ‘retirement home’ for former governors but the trio lost their senatorial bid in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
With the defeat of three of his comrades, all eyes are now on Makinde come March 11. Would he pull through and break the chain of defeat suffered in the G5? Only time will tell.
But for now, this is how Ortom, Ugwuanyi and Ikpeazu lost their senatorial bid:
Ortom lost his election bid for Benue North West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
He to his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart in the district, Titus Zam.
The APC candidate polled 143,151 while the PDP scored 106,882 and the Labour Party 51,950.
Interestingly, Zam was an appointee of Ortom in his first tenure from 2015 to 2019, where he served as the Special Adviser to the governor on local government and chieftaincy affairs before he resigned from the Ortom administration on loyalty grounds.
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Ugwuanyi lost his bid to represent Enugu North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
Ugwuanyi was defeated by Okechukwu Ezea of the Labour Party in the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday.
While Ezea scored 104,948 votes to emerge the winner, Ugwuanyi came second with 46,948 votes.
Ugwuanyi has been governor of the South-East state since 2015 and his eight-year constitutional limit will end in May. He was a member of the House of Representatives before being elected governor in 2015.
Similarly, Ikpeazu lost his bid to represent Abia South Senatorial District in the forthcoming 10th National Assembly. The outgoing governor polled 28,422 and lost to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who 49,693.
Similarly, four other outgoing governors failed in their attempts to cross over to Nigeria’s Senate after their two-term tenure of eight years each. They are Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Ben Ayade (Cross River), and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
Already, Governors David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) won Saturday’s parliamentary election. Ex-governors who won senatorial seats so far include Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom).
Though results are still trickling in for the presidential and National Assembly, surprises abound as newcomers are poised to unseat some ‘NASS landlords’ who have been in the red and green chambers consistently for the past 24 years.