Whither their Excellencies? Fidelis Mac-Leva, Isiaka Wakili, Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad (Abuja), Andrew Agbese (Kaduna), Hope Abah Babangida Aliyu: Researching and re-strategising Muazu Babangida Aliyu governed Niger State from…
Babangida Aliyu: Researching and re-strategising
Muazu Babangida Aliyu governed Niger State from 2007 to 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was chairman of the Northern Governors Forum. His dream to retire into the National Assembly in 2015 was, however, aborted as he was overwhelmingly defeated by David Umaru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who currently represents the Niger-East Senatorial District.
Is the controversial former ‘chief servant’ on a political vacation? He is currently attending short courses and conducting research works within and outside Nigeria, according to his media adviser, Israel Ebije.
The ex-governor’s aide did not name the institutions where his principal is attending courses, but added that Aliyu’s present academic endeavour has not taken him completely off politics. According to him, politics and human resource management top his boss’ areas of specialisation.
The former governor is also said to be “strategising” and studying “the misadventure” of his political platform, the PDP.
“Dr. Aliyu is an academic who is keenly interested in exploring newer frontiers in every facet of challenge. He is using this political period to reboot his hibernated academic interests and understudy the political terrain first from academic perspective, preparatory to strategic application if the need arises.
“The former governor of Niger State is also analysing all the turns and twists that led to the political downfall of his political party, the PDP. You may recall that impunity, self-based interests and abysmal political miscalculations pulled down the party from its height of political fortune.
“You may also recall that the high octane-loaded intra-party impunity forced Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu to form what looked very much like an ‘activist’ arm of the PDP, popularly known as the nPDP. The sole aim of the G-5, later G-7 governors, led by Aliyu, were to force the party to soft-pedal on its raging impunity against some of its members.
“It is, therefore, easy to understand why the former governor has decided to add the last eight years to his academic studies. He understands the importance of having a viable political marshal plan, taking cognizance of past mistakes to craft future strides for the good of all Nigerians,” the ex-governor’s aide stated.
Gabriel Suswam: Faces travails but politically active
After holding sway at the Government House, Makurdi, life has not been the same for the immediate past governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, no thanks to his travails on many fronts.
Shortly after relinquishing office in May 2015, he was said to have relocated with his family to London, and at some point, to the United States. Suswam was, however, compelled to return to his Abuja home months thereafter to respond to allegations of fraud when the new APC administration in the state established a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe his eight year-tenure, between 2007 and 2015.
The former governor, who earlier lost his bid to secure a seat in the Senate to Engr. Barnabas Gemade, fought back relentlessly to save his name, but before long, the commission, headed by Justice Elizabeth Kpojime, made recommendations that indicted him, among 52 individuals and 10 corporate bodies.
While the probe lasted at the state level, Suswam was also made to face the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on various charges, which are still pending cases bothering on his tenure as the governor of the acclaimed food basket state.
The incessant blames heaped on his administration at every slight opportunity by the officials of the Ortom government for bequeathing a myriad of socio-economic woes, and their inability to pay salaries of workers, often propelled Suswam out of his shell to clear the air on issues.
Despite all these battles, Suswam is still believed to be living luxuriously and spending heavily to keep his caucus intact, while his known business outfit in Makurdi, the Benue Metropolitan Hotel, is presumed to be doing well against all odds.
An aide of the former governor disclosed that he is currently attending to health concerns abroad, but would soon begin to re-strategise ahead of his party’s (PDP) national convention, expected to hold soon.
Considered by many as a big political player in the affairs of the PDP in the Food Basket state, Suswam also appears to be dictating the pace for the party’s coming congresses at two senatorial districts of Benue North-East and North-West even though elders in those areas are said to be kicking against his sole move.
Ordinarily, political opponents had expected him to live a solitary life, but he seems to be in the limelight whenever he shows up during major socio-cultural activities in the state, such as the funeral ceremonies of the late Tor Tiv, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula, that of his grandmother, Mama Caroline Nguyemen Tyo Tor Najime and his assassinated political godfather, Chief Atoza Ihinda.
An aide of the governor also said that as a family man, Suswan stays around his family, even as he engages in farming rice and growing food crops in his farms in Makurdi and Anyiin.
“Having been in politics for 16 unbroken years, Suswam is taking his time to re-launch his next political move. As a leader of his party, this will be made known at the appropriate time,” said the aide, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Idris Wada: Living a normal, quiet life
After handing over power to his successor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on January 27, 2016 following the expiration of his four- year tenure, former Kogi State governor, Idris Wada, is said to have since returned to a normal and quiet life.
Shortly after handing over power, the pilot-turned-politician, reportedly travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser hajj, where he spent about three weeks in pursuit of “truth and spiritual edification.” Wada has since returned to the country and is said to be living his normal life with his family members in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The special adviser on media to the former governor, Mr. Jacob Edi said: “The former governor is in Abuja. He lives a normal life of a committed family man. He relaxes with his friends, well-wishers and party faithful who daily throng his residence.
“He plays golf. That has been his game before coming to office, and he never fails to observe his prayers religiously like he did even when he had busy schedules of piloting the affairs of Kogi.”
Wada has not been too visible since he left office. The last time the former Kogi governor was sighted at a public event in the state was during the burial of the late minister of state for labour and employment, James Ocholi, in his Abocho country home on March 18, 2016.
The former governor is also said to be preoccupied in pursuing the case he instituted at the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja. He filed a petition at the tribunal, challenging the declaration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello of the APC as the winner of the November 21, and December 5, state governorship elections.
Ramalan Yero: Maintaining low profile
The former governor of Kaduna State has taken advantage of his taciturn nature to live a quiet life within the state capital without being noticed. But even while residing in Kaduna, his presence is hardly noticed as he is said to prefer working with few associates and family members in the day, while he retires to his known residence off Sultan Road in Kaduna in the evening to receive guests.
A source close to the former governor said whenever he retired to his residence he would deliberately keep his doors open to grant access to political associates, friends and distant relatives who may be around to see him.
On such occasions, he is said to always caution on raising political issues. He prefers to talk only on life outside the Government House, his experience outside office, and business ideas.
The former deputy governor, who is his close associate, told our correspondent that though he is still an active member of the PDP in the state, he feels the time is not yet ripe for politicking, and he is discreet about such engagements.
Our correspondent learnt that he is in Port-Harcourt for a political meeting. He is keen on seeing the party relive its old days as the ruling party, at least in Kaduna State, but he strongly believes in the principle that it is God that gives and takes power.
He is said to have interest in a construction firm which is handling a major project in the North-Central part of the country.
In response to a text message on what he has been doing since leaving office, the former governor, who holds the traditional title of ‘Dallatu of Zazzau repled: “Farming.
Sule Lamido: Living rural life
Meanwhile, former Governor Sule Lamido, who used to campaign for the PDP in his native Fulani language, has retired to his rural domain in Bamaina. He is said to now be easily accessible to his kith and kin who come to greet him in exchange for some gifts.
He is said to always sit on a carpet in his garden to entertain people. Lamido is also said to have gone back to farming.
Martin Elechi: Returns to farming
The second civilian governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi, who assumed office in 2007, has retired from active politics after he successfully handed over the mantle of leadership of the state to Engr. David Umahi on May 29, 2015.
Chief Elechi, who before now was seen as the political oracle of the state, a bridge builder and one who galvanised the development of the state, is enjoying his retirement at his country home, Ndufu-Alike in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday on the activities of the immediate past governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Ike, who worked as commissioner for information under Elechi, said the 75-year-old statesman had also chosen to play an advisory role rather than that of active politics.
This advisory role, Dr. Ike explained, would be for interested political actors, their party affiliations notwithstanding. He further pointed out that Elechi, who survived his last political challenges, including impeachment threats, linked the genesis of his political crisis to his early criticism against former President Goodluck Jonathan when he proposed a national conference. He had described the confab as a huge joke.
“He has retired to farming where he was before his election as governor in 2007. He was an active rice farmer,” Ike explained.
Dr. Ike, who was among the ardent supporters of Elechi, classifying him as a statesman and patriot of the state, added that the former governor is being faced with over 54 petitions suspected to have been initiated by the present governor, who he did not endorse to succeed him.
“We will remain his ardent supporters because we know what he did for the state. I want to bet you that no one will reach the height he achieved for the state,” he said.
Murtala Nyako: Spends time reading and writing
According to a close associate of former Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, he currently lives a private life in Abuja.
The associate, who once served under the former governor, said Nyako, who is known as an avid reader, spends most of his time reading and writing while he pursues his appeal case at the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Nyako in a case he filed before it, challenging his impeachment by the Adamawa House of Assembly in 2015. The court declared the impeachment illegal but did not return him to office to complete his tenure. He filed an appeal at the Supreme Court to ensure his return.
According to the politician, Nyako still believes that some military strongmen in the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan aided the spread of Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.
He further noted that the further governor lives a peaceful life and has never been financially broke since he left office. He added that he enjoys his benefits as a retired general and former chief of naval staff.
“He is a retired general and a former governor. You should also know that he had 50,000 mango trees, dairy cows and other businesses long before he was elected governor,” he noted.
Liyel Imoke: Shuttles between Calabar and USA for private business
Senator Liyel Imoke, the immediate past governor of Cross River State, frequently shuttles between Calabar, Lagos and Maryland in the USA.
He is closely attached to his immediate family: his wife and business partner, Barrister Obioma, two little girls, and a maid. Sometimes he spends weekends at his hometown, Itigidi in Abi Local Government Area of the state.
Known for his calm disposition, Imoke is now more into private business and prefers to be quiet over contemporary issues. He told journalists at the twilight of his government that once his tenure was over, he would not be visible in political issues in the country anymore.
Imoke is also into private business. One of his prominent firms is called Sermatech Construction Ltd, which has been accused of either abandoning major road construction works or performing shoddy jobs in the state. This is said to have made people of the state to be angry with him.
Imoke’s wife, Obioma, has been his strong business backbone even when both were starting out in Lagos and Maryland, United States of America.
Usman Dakingari: Whereabouts remains uncertain
Since the former governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Usman Nasamu Dakingari, left office last year, there have been speculations over his whereabouts. Dakingari, who had the privilege of serving as governor of the state for two consecutive terms, left the state a day before the inauguration of the present administration of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and has not entered Kebbi State for almost a year now.
Some of his close associates believe he is presently based in Abuja, but others tell who cares to listen that the former governor is cooling off in Dubai with his second wife, Zainab. His whereabouts has remained a sort of debate among Kebbi people.
One of his associates, who spoke to our correspondent under the condition of anonymity said: “People are likely to be speculative about his whereabouts because of the way he left the state. You know he didn’t wait a day in Kebbi to say farewell to many of his associates. Not even those of us who were thought to be close to him knew when he left the state.
“A day before he was expected to hand over to the new governor, he left Kebbi and has not returned to the state till now. The day he was going, he asked me and other associates to meet him by 10am, but we were shocked to discover that he left around 6am, before our arrival at the Government House,” the associate said.
People believe he is in Dubai, but a friend to his brother, Alhaji Lawali, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the former governor is in Abuja.
“I spoke with his brother few weeks ago and he told me that the former governor was in Abuja. I know that his first wife, Hajiya Zubeda, is in Maitama and he is also staying with his second wife, Zainab, somewhere in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Although I gathered immediately he left power that he went to Dubai to stay for almost six months, I can tell you that he is in Abuja now. Few weeks ago, he was in Turkey to attend the graduation ceremony of one of his children from one of the universities there.
“The former governor, we gathered, is into cattle rearing business. He was introduced to the business long before he left office, by one of his kinsmen and associates, a business mogul, Alhaji Abubakar Garima. The cattle business is said to be doing well in Sudan. The governor is also said to have ventured into oil business, which his wife, Zainab was doing during their days in the Government House. He is running the business now with his wife,” he said.
Ibrahim Shema: Relocates to Kaduna
The former governor of Katsina State, Barrister Ibrahim Shehu Shema, was bred in Kaduna. He had a law firm before he became commissioner and attorney-general.
Shema married the daughter of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua as second wife. He is believed to be the owner of a house off Rabah Road, opposite the Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC) and another on Dawaki, formerly Isa Kaita Road, which also serves as office for his chamber.
It is believed that he sneaks to Kaduna from Katsina during weekends to check the financial records of his Shema Chambers, on Muhammadu Buhari Way.
Garba Umar into car business
The former acting governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar, relocated to Gombe town, the headquarters of the state with his family members shortly after he was removed from office in 2015.
A political associate of Garba Umar, Alhaji Idi Jalingo, said he relocated there because that was his place of abode before his appointment as deputy governor and later, acting governor.
Garba Umar popularly known as Garba UTC, has also returned to his business of car selling which he was into before venturing into politics.