NG Election

APC governorship candidates, their chances and their challenges

by James Kwen, Abuja

November 2, 2018 | 3:03 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation
President Buhari on a mission to have a second go at being president leads the pack

Ahead of the March 2 governorship election in 29 out of the 36 states the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has nominated the following candidates for the guber poll. These include all the first term governors elected on APC platform except Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State. BusinessDay briefly profiles the aspirants.

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje – Kano State

APC governorship candidates, their chances and their challenges

Ganduje was born on December 25, 1949, a former Lecturer at the Bayero University Kano. He is the current Governor of Kano State since 2015. He previously served as deputy governor twice between 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015 to Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. Ganduje was returned unopposed as the governorship candidate of APC. As a serving governor Ganduje is politically on ground  and is reported to have executed reasonable projects which can earn him second term but his political battle with his former boss, Kwankwaso and the recent dollar scandal surrounding could pose serious threat to his reelection bid.

Mohammed Abubakar – Bauchi State

Mohammed Abubakar who was born on 11 December 1956 is the present governor of Bauchi state. He began his career in the Civil Service where he rose through the ranks to become the Bauchi State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. He ran for public office as Governor of Bauchi State in 2015 under the platform of the then newly formed APC and won the election. The Governor won his party’s ticket for a second term in a keenly contested primaries. Abubakar as a serving governor have both party structures and state machinery to secure a second term but his political battle with the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara may make his reelection herculean task.

Simon Lalong – Plateau State

Simon Lalong was born 5 May 1963 in Shendam Local government area of Plateau State. A lawyer and politician, Lalong is the present governor of Plateau State who was elected in 2015 on the platform of APC and had served for seven years as Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly. He was unopposed in the APC governorship primary election and now flies the party’s ticket for the March 2, 2019 governorship election in Plateau State. The re-election of Lalong would have been an easy ride with the over 70 years old Jeremiah Useni, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as his main rival, however, the incessant herdsmen attacks on farmers in Plateau and the perceived lukewarm response of the APC led Federal Government to the pogrom  has dwindled APC’s popularity in the state could be a serious challenge to him.


Nasir El-rufai– Kaduna State

Nasir Ahmad El-rufai was born February 16, 1960 and is the incumbent Governor of Kaduna State who is also the former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the head privatisation agency in Nigeria. He was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from 16 July 2003 to 29 May 2007 and was elected governor of Kaduna State in 2015. El-rufai who is seeking second term of office was chosen as  a consensus candidate during the recently held APC governorship primary election. He would have easily gotten the second term if performance was the only yardstick but the ethno – religious crisis, herders/farmers crisis during his administration and the political face off which chased the likes of Senator Shehu Sani out of APC could count against him.


Mohammed Badaru Abubakar – Jigawa State

Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, born 29 September 1962 was elected governor of Jigawa State in April 2015 on the platform of APC. Badaru is a renowned accountant and accomplished industrialist with very high penchant for prudence, a tendency which earned him the name, ‘ Calculator’. He was secured the second term ticket of APC after defeating other contestants and is set for the re-election battle. Badaru’s re-election could have been a work over as he is reported to be popular among the people with his economic policies and is not owing salaries but the constraint is how to wage the political war ahead with PDP which is commanded by the immediate past Governor Sule Lamido who also attracts large political followeship.


Abubakar Atiku Bagudu – Kebbi State

Atiku Bagudu was  born on the 26th of  December 1961, is the first term Governor of Kebbi State who was also elected Senator for the Kebbi Central District in a by-election in 2009 and was reelected in the April 2011 national elections with the PDP’s platform. He became APC gubernatorial candidate in 2015 general elections and was returned elected. Bagudu  was adopted as a consensus candidate in the last APC governorship primary election and unlike others of his colleagues, he enjoyed the support of his members in the National Assembly. Re-election for Bagudu would not have been a challenge as he enjoyed goodwill across the state but the recent call for power shift from Gwandu Emirate which governed the state since 1999 and the emergence of Senator Isah Galauda as PDP governorship candidate from Argungu Emirate pose some challenge.


Aminu Bello Masari – Katsina State


Aminu  Masari, born 29 May 1950 is the current Governor of Katsina State who was elected in 2015. He was the speaker of the Federal House of Representatives between 2003 and 2007. Masari clinged his second term ticket after defeating Abubakar Funtua and Garba Dankane during the APC governorship primary election. His second term bid would have been settled even before election as he is still climbing on the back of President Muhammadu Buhari as in 2015 but the rising acceptability of PDP in Katsina due to the political sagacity of former Governor Shehu Shema calls for concern as far the governorship election is concerned.

Abubakar Sani Bello – Niger State

Abubakar Bello, who was born on 17 December 1967 is an Economist and private sector worker. He is the current Governor of Niger State who was elected in 2015 on the platform of  the APC and is seeking a second term  on the ticket of the same party which won in a  tight contest. Second term for Bello shouldn’t have been a hard thing considering his family background as the son of the popular former Military Governor of Kano State, Sani Bello, the pedigree which gave him his  first term in office,but the crisis that precipitated APC primaries in Niger, the rivalry from former Governor Babangida Aliyu and the PDP as well as the misgivings of owners of Niger state such as former Military President Ibrahim Babangida over APC government could be hurdles.


Bindow Umar Jubrilla- Adamawa State

Bindow Umar Jubrill, born 16 June, 1963 is renowned businessman who was elected Governor of Adamawa State in 2015 and was earlier Adamawa North Senator. He won the hotly contested APC governorship ticket after defeating  the  former Chairman of the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu and President Buhari’s in law, Mahmoud Halilu. As a sitting Governor with the control of state apparatus, Bindow re-election wouldn’t have been a headache but the emergence of his erstwhile political leader, Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the main opposition PDP and Atiku been an indigene of Adamawa makes his second term bid an uphill task.


Ahmed Aliyu – Sokoto State

Ahmed Aliyu who was born January 1, 1970 is the present Deputy Governor of Sokoto State under Governor Aminu Tambuwal and was Commissioner of Health to the immediate past Governor,  Senator Aliyu Wammako. Aliyu was elected APC governorship standard bearer  in the recently conducted primaries. His chances are based on the perceived popularity of APC and Buhari in the North Western state and the backing of Wamako who commands a  large political followership. However, defeating his boss, Tambuwal, who is seeking reelection on the platform of PDP is not an easy task.


Babagana Umara-zulum – Borno State

Born in August 1969, Babagana Umara-zulum is a Professor of Engineering and has lectured at the foremost University of Maiduguri. He was appointed Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement. Umara-zulum was elected APC governorship candidate for Borno State out of the 30 aspirants that vied for the same ticket. As the anointed candidate of the outgoing Governor Kashim Shettima and the fact that Borno is an APC dominated state Umara-zulum would have easily take charge as the next Borno state but if his 29 co-contestants join forces with any opposition party, particularly the PDP it will not be a work over for him.

Mai Mala Buni – Yobe State

Mai Mala Buni, a seasoned administrator is the National Secretary of the ruling APC and was elected the governorship candidate of the party in the recently held primaries. Buni as a national party official and grass root politician believed to be anointed by the incumbent Governor Ibrahim Gaidam stands the chance of becoming the next Governor of Yobe State more so that APC dominates the state but the anger by some of the aspirants for the ticket is a cause for concern.


Abubakar Abdullhai Sule – Nasarawa State

Abubakar Sule was born on December 26, 1959. He is an engineer who had worked with international firms and was until his nomination as the APC Governorship Candidate for Nasarawa State the Managing Director of Dangote Sugar. Though a relatively new entrant into politics, Sule would have been sure of occupying the Nasarawa State Government House as he is the favoured candidate of the outgoing Governor, Tanko Almakura but the opposition led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former Governor of the State, against his nomination  if spilled into the general elections would limit his chances. Also  that he is contending with  the PDP and strong candidates of other parties like former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku.


Emmanuel Jimme – Benue State

Emmanuel Jimme was born on June 20, 1962 and is a lawyer by profession. Jimme was Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and was elected two times as Member of the Federal House of Representatives. He first contested for APC Governorship ticket in 2014 but was not successful following the adoption of Samuel Ortom as the consensus candidate. President Buhari appointed him the Managing Director of Nigerian Export Processing Zones, the position he held until he was selected as  APC consensus governorship candidate for Benue State. Jimme’s chances hinges on the inability of the Governor Ortom to pay salaries and Benue been a predominantly civil service state and any governor that defaults  on salaries becomes an  enemy of the state. Be that as it may, Jimme’s association with Buhari whose kinsmen, the  Fulani have unleashed terror on Benue farmers, has the onerous task of convincing the people that he is not Buhari and a Fulani tool to reverse the anti open grazing law as alleged.


Babajide Sanwo–Olu – Lagos State

Babajide Sanwo–Olu was born June 25, 1965 and is Surveyor and Human resource expert. Sanwo-Olu is the managing director/CEO of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC). He defeated the current Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode to cling the APC governorship ticket. Sanwo-Olu stands the chances of winning the March 2 governorship election in Lagos with the backing of Bola Tinubu, “the Jagaban”, but the recent dwindling of acceptability of Tinubu and the rising profile of PDP in Lagos could work against him.


Tonye Cole – Rivers State

Tonye Cole, born January 15, 1967 is an architect who has worked with international and local firms. He is a political associate of the former Governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. He emerged the governorship candidate of APC in the controversial primaries that also produced Senator Magnus Abe as the parallel candidate. Cole depends on Amaechi for his guber ambition but with Governor Nyesom Wike strongly in the contest and his rejection by some APC stakeholders makes his ambition unrealistic.


Uche Ogah – Abia State

Uche Ogah was   born 22 December 1969 and is a Nigerian oil magnate, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Ogah is the President of Master Energy Group, a conglomerate with over 15 subsidiaries and interests across a variety of industries. He was elected as the APC Governorship Candidate for Abia State in a keenly contested primary election. Ogah chances are dependent on the support base of former Governor Uzo Kalu who is the leader of APC in Abia but with the PDP on ground and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in the race his chances are slim.


Nsima Ekere – Akwa-Ibom State

Nsima Ekere was born May 29, 1965 and is the current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission. He was elected the All Progressives Congress Governorship Candidate for Akwa Ibom State for the 2019 election. Ekere ambition is brighter with the support of former Governor Godswill Akpabio who still has strongholds in Akwa Ibom but defeating incumbent Governor Emmanuel Udom is like crossing the Rubicon.

Adebayo Adelabu-Oyo State


Adebayo Adelabu who was born September 28, 1970) is the past Deputy Governor, Operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria and was elected the governorship candidate of APC for Oyo State ahead of the 2019 general elections. Adelabu victory at the general elections is almost assured considering his wide acceptability by party stakeholders and the people as well as the fact that APC is rooted in Oyo and South West generally but the anger by other aspirants for the ticket particularly, Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shitu who was disqualified may constitute hurdles.


Dapo Abiodun – Ogun State

Dapo Abiodum was the Chairman of Corporate Affairs Commission, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Heyden Oil & Gas Limited and a founding member of All Progressives Congress in Ogun State won the state APC Governorship ticket. Abiodum road to the Ogun State Government House seem to be smooth with the support of critical stakeholders and popularity of APC in the state but his emerged over Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s preferred candidate Adekunle Akinlade could make the way rough as the Governor is not ready to work with/for him.


Great Ogboru – Delta State

Great Ogboru was born on the 10th day of April, 1958. Ogboru is a businessman and politician who had contested three times for the Governor of Delta but did not win. Again, he participated in the parallel governorship primary election of the APC in Delta State and was returned elected. Ordinarily, Great Ogboru is a popular politician who would have easily cling the governorship seat after three failed attempts but with internal crisis in his party where he is sharing the ticket with Pat Utomi and that Delta is a PDP controlled state and with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa running for a second term, his ambition is almost dead on arrival.

Owan Enoh – Cross-river

John Owan Enoh, born June 6, 1966 is the Senator representing Cross River Central Senatorial District. He had been a member of Cross State House of Assembly and a University Lecturer. He was declared the winner of Cross River State APC Governorship Primaries in a keenly contested contest race with Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, Former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke, John Odey among others. Enoh chances of winning at the general elections would have been brighter based on his pedigree as a vibrant lawmaker and grassroot politician but defeating incumbent Governor Ben Ayade whose performance is quite appreciable and the rejection of his nomination by his co- aspirants will constitute stumbling blocks for him.

Inuwa Yahaya – Gombe State

Inuwa Yahaya,  56 years old was the governorship candidate of APC in 2015 who lost to the incumbent, Hasaan Dankwambo. He again won the APC governorship ticket for the 2019 general elections after a keen contest. Chances are that with the renewed efforts of APC to capture at least all States in the North and with the backing of former Governor Danjuma Goje, Yahaya will win this time but the resolve of Dankwambo to deliver Gombe to PDP could make it difficult for Yahaya to win even this time.

Sunny Ogboji – Ebonyi State

Sonni Ogbuoji is a 64-year old politician who was elected Senator for Ebonyi South, in Ebonyi State, Nigeria in the 9 April 2011 general election. He is the winner of APC Governorship ticket for Ebonyi. As a someone who represented the state in the Senate, Ogbuoji would have large support base to win at the general elections but defeating Governor David Umahi who is also seeking second tenure and that PDP is abundantly on ground in the state is a big obstacle for him to govern state in 2019.

Abubakar Danladi – Taraba State.

Abubakar Danladi born 50 years ago was Acting Governor of Taraba State and elected as the Senator for Taraba North. He won the APC governorship ticket for Taraba State. As a onetime Acting Governor and a Senator, Danladi has what all it takes to become the Governor of Taraba but with defeating the PDP Governor Dairus Ishaku is almost impossible considering his popularity and PDP in the face dwindling popularity of APC following the defection of former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan.


Abdulrahaman Abdurasaq – Kwara

Abdulrasaq is a seasoned politician and businessman who contested for governor of Kwara in 2011 and Senate in 2015 but could not win. As someone familiar with the political terrain one expects him to get it right this time but it appears it is going to be a repeat of history as he Senate President, BukolaSaraki who had always ensured his defeat is still on the other side of the divide.


(Zamfara, Enugu, Imo still not certain)

Tags: ,

by James Kwen, Abuja

November 2, 2018 | 3:03 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

Big Read |  


Blockchain technology is disrupting payment processes in the agricultural sector

Blockchain technology is a decentralized digital ledger that keeps immutable records of transactions. It maintains a network of computers working...


Banking App