Nigeria: Swept Away – Biggest Losers in National Assembly Races

There were many surprises from the 25 February Nigerian National Assembly elections.

Like a cyclone, the Peter Obi wave on 25 February swept across the South-east, part of the South-south and Lagos, and redesigned the political landscape of Nigeria.

Those who dismissed the movement as a “social media” noise were left astonished and embarrassed as numbers emerged from polling units.

The former governor of Anambra State, who ran as the candidate of Labour Party in the presidential election, garnered over six million votes to place third. His party has also taken 40 seats in the National Assembly from the results so far declared.

This feat was achieved by handing defeats to candidates many considered to be “institutions”, and the concepts of structure and strongholds demystified to a certain extent.

As it stands, Labour Party’s six senators and 34 reps are the third largest caucus of lawmakers-elect for the 10th Assembly.

Here are some of the major victims of the electoral upsets.

Bankole Wellington (Banky W)

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Eti Osa Federal Constituency of Lagos State once again lost his bid for a seat in the House of Representatives, this time around to a relatively unknown candidate of the Labour Party, Attah Thaddeus.

The Labour Party candidate polled 24,075 votes against Mr Wellington who polled 18,666 votes.

Many had believed that the election was going to be a rematch of the 2019 election, when Babajide Obanikoro and Mr Wellignton went head to head. However, the little-known Mr Thaddeus sneaked in to take the prize.

Mr Thaddeus’ victory has been generating mixed reactions on social media because Mr Wellington, a popular Afro-beat superstar, is also popular among the young people, the demographic considered as the core of the “Obidients”.

Unfortunately, Mr Wellington became a victim of the “top to bottom” voting style. Interestingly many of his celebrity friends are not taking the outcome of the election very well.

Controversial radio personality, Ifedayo Olarinde, popularly called Daddy Freeze, in a video posted on social media, claimed that Mr Thaddeus did not campaign but had the election rigged in his favour.

Toke Makinwa, another celebrity friend of Mr Wellignton, also took to social media to express support for the PDP candidate, while also taking a dig at Mr Thaddeus, saying: “We don’t know him”.

Uche Ewenife

The senator representing Anambra South also fell to the Obidient wave. However, she was defeated by a familiar opponent, Victor Umeh, the candidate of the Labour Party.

Mr Umeh polled 103,608 votes while Dozie Nwankwo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) emerged as runner-up with 69,702 votes, leaving the incumbent in third position with 49,532 votes.

Ms Ekwenife and Mr Umeh’s rivalry go way back to 2015 when the two first fought for the senatorial seat. Ms Ekwuenife won that first face-off and repeated the feat in 2019.

This time around, the Obidient movement came to Mr Umeh’s rescue. With the margin so wide, Ms Ekwenife quickly accepted defeat and congratulated her opponent.

Stella Oduah/Ebele Obiano

In Anambra North Senatorial District, two “heavyweights”–Stella Oduah of the PDP, who is the incumbent senator and the state’s former First Lady, Ebele Obiano of APGA, were swept apart by Tony Nwoye of the Labour Party.Mr Nwoye, a former governorship candidate in the state, polled 94,779 votes to defeat Ms Oduah who polled 50,146 votes and Mrs Obiano who scored 48,212 votes.

Ms Oduah, a former Minister of Aviation at the centre of a 2013 N225 million car scandal, has been at the Senate since 2015, while Mrs Obiano exited the Government House with her husband last year after a scandalous fist fight with Bianca Ojukwu.

Ndudi Elumelu

The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, who represents Anochia/Oshimili federal constituency of Delta State, was also defeated on Saturday by the candidate of the Labour Party, Ngozie Okolie, who polled 53,879 votes to Mr Elumelu’s 33,456 votes.Mr Elumelu was not the biggest political figure who fell in the state. The vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, could not also deliver the state to his party.

The Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly and son of former Governor Theodore Orji had a nightmarish experience on Saturday as his quest to move to the National Assembly was cut short by Obi Aguocha of the Labour Party.

Mr Aguocha won the Umuahia Federal constituency seat with 48,199 votes to defeat Mr Orji, who scored 35,196 votes.

Ifeanyi Ugwanyi

The Governor of Enugu State will not be going to the National Assembly this year as he was defeated in his senatorial race by Okechukwu Ezea of the Labour Party.

Mr Ezea scored 104,492 votes to emerge as the Senator-elect for Enugu North Senatorial District. Mr Ugwanyi polled 46,948 votes to return second.

The governor, a member of the rebellious G5 governors, is a former member of the House of Representatives. His attempt to retire to the Red Chamber has been truncated by the Obidient wave.

Nkerukah Onyejeocha

The deputy chief whip of the House of Representatives also lost her re-election bid to a Labour Party candidate, Amobi Ogah.

Ms Onyejeocha has been representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency in Abia State since 2007. However, her 8,752 votes were not sufficient against the 11,822 votes scored by Mr Ogah.

Ms Onyejeocha, who decamped to APC in 2018 also became a victim of the Obidient wave in the South-east.

Meanwhile, several other incumbent lawmakers and candidates also fell, not necessarily connected with the Obi Wave. In some instances, local politics cost them their seats

Abiodun Olujimi

The Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial also got swept away on 25 February, although not by the Obidient wave.

The former Senate minority leader, who polled 36,191, was defeated by a former newspaper catoonist, Yemi Adaramodu of the APC, who polled 63,189.

Ms Olujimi was a victim of a division in the PDP in Ekiti State, as the rivalry between her and former Governor Ayodele Fayose has weakened the party in the state.

Last year, the PDP lost the governorship election and got swept away.

Although, a similar thing happened to her in 2019, when she was defeated by Dayo Adeyeye of the APC, however, the court upturned the election and subsequently declared Ms Olujimi as the winner.

Bashiru Ajibola

Mr Ajibola, a former university don, was also defeated in Osun State. In his case, he was a victim of Governor Ademola Adeleke’s wave in the state.

Governor Adeleke, whose election was nullified by the state governorship election petition tribunal, appears to be ready to show his opponents that he is in charge ahead of the determination of his appeal by the Court of Appeal.

PDP won the presidential election and all the National Assembly seats in the state– Mr Ajibola, who is the spokesperson of the Senate, was one of the victims of that takeover.

Mr Bashiru lost to Fadeyi Olubiyi of the PDP.

Mr Ilubiyi polled 134 229 votes to defeat Mr Bashiru, who scored 117, 609 votes.

Okezie Ikpeazu

The governor of Abia State also lost his senatorial bid as he was defeated by former Minority Leader of the Senate, Eyinnanya Abaribe of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

The former minority leader got 49,903 votes, while the governor had 28,422 votes to come third behind Labour Party (LP) candidate, Chinedu Onyeizu, who scored 43,903.

Mr Abaribe left the PDP in 2022 after the “zoning” arrangement of the party schemed him out of the governorship race, and he moved to APGA to seek reelectiin to the Senate.

Ben Ayade

The governor of Cross River lost his bid to the National Assembly as he was defeated by the incumbent senator for Cross River North, Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe of the PDP.Mr Ayade, who was in the Senate between 2011 and 2015, polled 56,595 votes against Mr Jarigbe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 76,145 votes.

Interestingly, Mr Ayade was the only loser among his party’s three senatorial candidates in the state.

The governor left the PDP in 2021 for the ruling party, and Saturday’s election was the first time he contested an election outside the PDP.


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