Ministers Who Want To Become Governors in 2019

As the 2019 general elections approach, politicians have started declaring interest in various positions. The recent declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari to go for a second term has emboldened some of his ministers who want to become governors in their states to make open declarations.
By Hamza Idris, Lami Sadiq, Doyin Adebusuyi, Jeremiah Oke and Shehu
Kayode Fayemi
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is one of the serving ministers eyeing the governorship seat in Ekiti State. He is the first minister to openly declare, probably because the Ekiti election would hold on July 14, this year.
Fayemi, a former governor of the state, between October 16, 2010 and October 15, 2014, lost his re-election bid to Ayodele Fayose, the then candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He is from Isan Ekiti, in Ekiti North senatorial district of the state. His billboards are erected at strategic places, especially Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
At the declaration, which attracted a large crowd of party supporters and admirers, Fayemi vowed that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would do everything legally possible to wrest power from the PDP in Ekiti.
The former governor is the 37th aspirant to collect nomination form; hence he will face other contenders during the party’s primary election on May 5 to determine its flag-bearer.
So far, he has toured all the 16 council areas in the state. If crowd is the determinant of popularity of an aspirant for an election, one could confidently say that the former governor is still relevant in the state.
However, the Ekiti State Government is insisting that Fayemi has been banned from seeking any elective post in the state or anywhere in the country by a judicial panel of inquiry that probed financial dealings while he was in office. But the former governor said no panel could bar him from seeking public office in the country.
Adebayo Shittu
Although the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, has not officially declared his intention to run for the apex office in Oyo State, he had, in different fora, signified interest to contest in 2019.
In recent times, it’s said that the legal icon has been holding secret meetings with the leadership of the APC and some traditional leaders in the state.
Recently, he commissioned a campaign office for his governorship ambition and the second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari, even before the president declared interest.
Shittu has also been moving from one radio station to another, displaying his credentials.
The former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly in the Second Republic contested for governorship on the platform of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2011. He lost the primary election to the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi in 2015.
However, the minister’s recent controversial outburst against traditional rulers, the governor and other notable politicians in the state, coupled with his inability to manage his aides, may work against his ambition to succeed Governor Ajimobi.
While some stakeholders in the state said his ambition would not see the light of the day because he lacked credibility and clout, others said he was the face of President Buhari in Oyo State.
Solomon Dalung
Supporters of the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung are making efforts to convince him to join the race to the Government House in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
Although the minister has not openly declared interest to run, probably because of his frosty relationship with Governor Simon Bako Lalong, his actions speak volume. He has been donating essential materials to the electorate and securing jobs for many people. He, however, says such gestures were not political.
Dalung had a fierce battle with Lalong for the APC ticket ahead of the 2015 elections.
But it is said that the minister does not trust the Lateb Dabang-led APC in Plateau. He accused Dabang of denying him the party’s ticket in 2014 in favour of the incumbent governor.
During President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state last month, Dalung shocked his supporters when he said in a radio programme that he may no longer be interested in the Government House.
“If anyone is thinking that Solomon Dalung is helping people because he wants to contest election, I am not interested. I am interested in serving my people,” he had said.
It is believed that if the minister contests against the governor in the primary election, he may not win, but he would definitely add colour to the exercise.
Muhammad Dan-Ali
The Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali (retired) is yet to openly declare for the race to Zamfara Government House, but sources said he was interested in the exalted seat.
He is from Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of the state. Dan-Ali joined active politics in 2013, shortly after his retirement from the military, pitching his tent with the ruling APC.
He declared intention to represent his zone, Zamfara North in the Senate, but he was made to step down for the current Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura.
He was also a member of the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015 and chairman of the Security Committee of Governor Abdulaziz Yari Campaign Organisation, also in 2015.
After the 2015 general elections, President Buhari appointed him as Nigeria’s Defence minister. His appointment surprised many in the state, considering the fact that his foray into politics was not all that long even though he is a grassroots mobiliser.
Within three years as minister of defence, Dan-Ali influenced the establishment of command science secondary schools in each of the three senatorial zones of his state. Apart from that, he was instrumental to the establishment of different military formations to curb banditry in Zamfara.
Observers believe that such gestures may be connected to his ambition to rule the state. However, many people in the state are not counting him among possible successors of Governor Abdulaziz Yari.
Mama Taraba
Sources close to the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba, said she had not given up her ambition to rule Taraba State.
In 2015, she was probably the most popular gubernatorial candidate, being a female contender. As the candidate of the then strongest opposition party, the APC, she gave Darius Ishaku, the then PDP candidate a tough time.
Although Ishaku was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mama Taraba was later declared the authentic governor by an election petition tribunal in Abuja. However, the judgement was upturned by the Court of Appeal, also in Abuja.
As a dogged fighter, Mama Taraba moved to the Supreme Court, all in an effort to reclaim what she called her mandate, but she was not lucky.
Her outing in the contest was, however, seen as commendable in a difficult political terrain dominated by men.
As far as the race to Taraba Government House is concerned, analysts believe she has a moral dilemma to contend with. In 2017, she had vowed that she would withdraw her support for President Buhari once he declared for a second term. She reiterated her loyalty to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who has already defected to the PDP.
Buhari has declared his ambition, even as Mama Taraba is still a minister and has not renounced her membership of the APC.
It is very unlikely for her to defect to the PDP and challenge Ishaku, who is expected to seek re-election.
The Taraba APC is equally divided over the minister’s ambition, with one faction still relating with her while the other is already working to field another candidate for the governorship race.
In the event that she opts for another party, she would have to count on her personal popularity to make any impact, especially considering the fact that for now, it is the PDP and APC that have presence in Taraba.

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