Is Nigeria’s Senate President Seat Cursed?

October 4, 2022

It’s official that Nigeria’s current senate president, Ahmad Lawan, won’t be on the ballot for re-election to the Senate in 2023. Lawan has been a member of the National Assembly since 1999 living the Nigerian dream: getting credit alerts from the Nigerian treasury.

Unfortunately, for him, his early retirement isn’t by choice. In June 2022, Lawan contested for his political party’s ticket for the Nigerian presidency but lost. To console himself, he went back to pick the ticket for his Senate seat but someone else already won it and refused to let it go. The long and short of Lawan’s sad tale is he tried to have his cake and eat it but it was poisoned.

Lawan’s absence from the next roster of the National Assembly is notable because he’s the second successive senate president who’s failed to win re-election. This made us curious enough to check on how senate presidents have performed since 1999, and we found a very interesting trend of village people at work.

Let’s run down the list.

Evan Enwerem, 1999 — 1999

Evan Enwerem served as Nigeria’s first senate president in the Fourth Republic but he didn’t even finish the interior decoration of his office when a committee started investigating him for corruption.

Lawmakers accused him of falsifying his age and academic qualifications and there was a dispute over if his name was “Evans” or “Evan”. They said:

Five months into his reign as senate president, 90 lawmakers voted to impeach Enwerem. Even though he kept his seat as a senator for the remainder of his four-year term, he didn’t return for another one.

Chuba Okadigbo, 1999 — 2000

Okadigbo lost the first senate presidency election to Enwerem but won on his second attempt after Enwerem got booted out of the position.

But like his predecessor, Okadigbo also lasted only a short time in the position. 81 senators voted to impeach him nine months into his tenure, over allegations of gross abuse of public office. They accused him of personal enrichment including having 32 official vehicles and spending more than $120,000 over the budget authorised for furnishing his official residence.

He contested the 2003 presidential election as a running mate to Muhammadu Buhari and lost. He never returned to the Senate. 

Anyim Pius Anyim, 2000 — 2003

Anyim Pius Anyim took over as senate president after Okadigbo’s exit. He led an unsuccessful attempt to impeach President Olusegun Obasanjo and survived an attempt by other lawmakers to impeach him too. He didn’t contest for re-election to the Senate in 2003 because his clash with Obasanjo dampened his chances of victory.

Adolphus Wabara, 2003 — 2005

Adolphus Wabara became Nigeria’s senate president at the start of his second term as a senator in 2003. But he resigned from the office two years later, after the Obasanjo administration publicly indicted him over a ₦55 million bribery scandal. 

He battled the allegations in court for years and never returned to the Senate when his second term ended in 2007.

Ken Nnamani, 2005 — 2007

Ken Nnamani became the senate president as a first-term senator after Wabara’s resignation in 2005. He remained senate president till 2007 but never returned for another term.

David Mark, 2007 — 2015

David Mark was the first senator in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic to break the senate president’s jinx. After serving two terms in the Senate, he became its president in his third term in 2007 and won re-election in 2011. He couldn’t retain his senate president seat in 2015 because his party lost the majority in the Senate, but he remained a senator till 2019.

Bukola Saraki, 2015 — 2019

After one term as a senator, Bukola Saraki schemed his way to becoming the senate president in 2015. He escaped impeachment moves against him to retain the seat until 2019, but he lost his re-election bid.

Ahmad Lawan, 2019 — 2023

Like most of the other senate presidents on this list, Lawan is facing an unplanned retirement from the Senate just after assuming the top seat. After 24 years in the National Assembly, he’s finally bowing out, reluctantly.

If there’s anything this trend shows, it’s that once you’re a Nigerian senate president, your days in the national assembly are numbered. That’s something for the next senate president to chew on.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

CNN Lekki
November 18, 2020

Some Nigerians were still rolling in their bed this morning, trying to pick up pieces of their lives after the Lekki Massacre, when CNN Africa sent shockwaves through Nigeria’s part of the Internet.  In a brilliant collation of all the videos that have trended over the #LekkiMassacre, mixed with excellent investigative reportage that made use […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

November 11, 2019

Today, we are going to be using your taste in music to determine how good you actually are in bed. All you need to do is create the ultimate Nigerian hit — from the lead artist to the producer — and we’ll tell you if all your partners leave satisfied, or if you are just […]

More from Citizen

November 29, 2022

The Nigerian Voter is a series that seeks to understand the motivations that drive the voting decisions of Nigerians — why they vote, how they choose their candidates, why some have never voted, and their wildest stories around elections. This week’s subject of The Nigerian Voter is Kachi*, a businessman in his late 30s who […]

November 28, 2022

If you’re a Nigerian student feeling discouraged from pursuing a tertiary education because you can’t afford tuition fees, we have good news for you! You’ll soon be able to get a student loan from the government with zero interest! How’s this possible? The Student Loan Bill provides public university students with financial assistance through the […]

November 28, 2022

Just hours to the planned November 26, 2022 resumption of operations on the Abuja-Kaduna railway corridor, the Federal Government announced a postponement. It’s not the first time the government has postponed a planned resumption since terrorists attacked the railway corridor in March. But more than the government’s erratic announcements and postponements, Nigerians remain worried about […]

November 27, 2022

It seems like Nigerians aren’t the only ones concerned about the 2023 elections, even our colonisers have taken some interest as well. Considering that our immigration rate to the United Kingdom has increased to 64% in one year, it’s not exactly surprising. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has warned all political parties […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X