The build-up to the 2023 elections has been a marathon for many Nigerians. On February 25, 2023, the national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) were held, and we finally know who our next president is. 

However, it’s important to note that we aren’t at the finish line yet. On March 11, 2023, state elections (Governorship and State House of Assembly) will be held nationwide. 

Gubernatorial elections will be held in 28 states, and 11 incumbent governors will be seeking a second term in office to continue their good work or reign of mediocrity. 

Who are these governors?

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state

Sanwo-Olu, unlike his predecessor Akinwunmi Ambode, won the party ticket to contest for a second term. But, he has probably not had peace of mind since his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), lost Lagos state at the presidential polls.

Since then, he has taken out time to hawk the gospel of his achievements on social media. He mentioned the expansion of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, the construction of hospitals around Lagos, and the development of the education sector with infrastructure, free education and affordable tuition rates for tertiary schools. 

It’s also important to mention that he seriously warned containers to stop falling off bridges and advised people to roll up their windows to avoid getting robbed on the Eko bridge. He also banned motorcycles and ride-hailing companies like Gokada, leaving thousands with no source of income. 

Bala Muhammed, Bauchi state

This PDP governor and former FCT Minister is expected to win his re-election bid with little to no hiccups.

On December 9, 2022, his campaign got a boost when the former governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar SAN, publicly endorsed him during a state dinner.

Mai Mala Buni, Yobe state

Mala Buni, a former Chairman of a political party in 2006, the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) and a two-time National Secretary of the APC. In his first six months as governor, he constructed a Damaturu-Ultra Modern Market worth ₦2.8 billion and a 200-bed capacity hostel at the Dr Shehu Sule College of Nursing and Midwifery at the cost of ₦215.9 billion. He also invested heavily in the area of security and agriculture. 

In December 2022, a 16-year-old boy was arrested for allegedly insulting him on social media, which is, unfortunately, becoming the norm for Nigerian politicians.

Seyi Makinde, Oyo state

Seyi Makinde is unfortunately recently remembered by many as being part of the Aso-ebi boys, the G-5 governors. 

If he wins the forthcoming elections, he will be the second governor in Oyo state’s history, after Ajimobi Abiola, to get a second term in office. However, his chances are slim, given that his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is facing infightings. 

On March 6, 2023, the Labour Party (LP) adopted him as their governor, abandoning their governorship candidate, Tawfiq Akinwale. Given the recent upset the LP has caused in the political scene, it would be interesting to see how this plays out in Seyi Makinde’s favour. 

Bello Malawalle, Zamfara state

You might remember Bello Malawalle as the governor who signed the death penalty bill into Law for bandits, cultists and kidnappers to end insecurity in the state.

Incumbent governors 2023 gubernatorial elections

He recently faced the threat of disqualification from the governorship elections for allegedly falsifying his age and academic qualifications. The case was taken to a federal high court in Abuja, where the presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, dismissed it by saying it had no merit.

Dapo Abiodun, Ogun state

The governor of the gateway state believes one term (good or bad) deserves another. Many traditional leaders like the Orimolusi of Ijebu-Igbo, and Oba Lawrence Adebajo, have supported him. 

They’ve also thanked him for fixing some of their roads which makes you wonder who started this trend of thanking politicians for doing their jobs in the first place.

Ahmadu Finitri, Adamawa state

Former State House of Assembly speaker served as Adamawa’s acting governor (July – October 2014) following the impeachment of then-Governor Murtala Nyako. 

Incumbent governors 2023 gubernatorial elections

He became the state governor again in 2019 under the PDP and is expected to emerge victorious in the gubernatorial elections.

Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa state

Abdullahi Sule is a businessman and engineer who co-founded Sadiq Petroleum Nigeria Limited in Lagos. He later became the CEO of African Petroleum (AP) in 2001. The state monarchs and civil servants have rallied behind him for his re-election bid to ensure his victory. 

AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Kwara state

AbdulRahman first contested for the Kwara state governorship seat in 2003 but was defeated by the state’s golden boy, Bukola Saraki. The same thing repeated itself in 2007. The story, however, finally changed in 2019 when AbdulRahman contested under the All Progressives Congress. 

The current Senate president, Dr Ahmed Lawan, recently lauded AbdulRahman’s administration, saying he surpassed the achievements of his predecessors in two years. We’ll see soon if Kwara state indigenes agree with this statement.

Inuwa Yahaya, Gombe state

This state governor is one of the very rare politicians believed to have fulfilled his campaign promises. For instance, as promised, the state government increased the education budget allocation by over 60% and revamped over 150 schools. 

Many people believe Inuwa Yahaya is a governor most deserving of a second term in office. 

Babagana Zulum, Borno state

This professor and former Ramat polytechnic Rector became Borno state governor in 2019 under the APC. His administration has tried to battle and solve the insurgency problem facing the state for years. He has also been the target of many assassination attempts by Boko Haram.

Incumbent governors 2023 gubernatorial elections

Babagana is one of the governors who have the backing of his people. In August 2022, he was awarded the Best Governor of the Year in the Leadership Excellence Awards.

Unfortunately, Nigeria witnessed the worst voter turnout in its history at 27.1 per cent in the recently concluded national elections. Hopefully, this changes on March 11, 2023, for the gubernatorial elections because the last thing we want to do is give certain people a free pass to steal our mandate. 



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