Governors Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State and his Borno State counterpart, Prof. Babagana Zulum, both of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have been rated as top contenders for the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Sources disclosed to Leadership that Buni and Zulum had been tipped for the office because they enjoy strong support from both the party and the forum.
Also, the APC has produced the highest number of governors in the just-concluded election, which qualifies it to pick the NGF chairman, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with the second majority, will produce the deputy chairman.
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APC had seven governors re-elected in the 2023 governorship election. They are Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Mai Mala Muni (Yobe), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), and Babagana Zulum (Borno).
The ruling party also secured wins for nine new candidates: Uba Sani (Kaduna), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Mohammed Bago (Niger), Umar Namadi (Jigawa), Ahmed Aliyu (Sokoto), Dikko Radda (Katsina), Fr Hycinth Alia (Benue), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi) and Dr. Nasir Idris (Kebbi).
Three PDP Governors – Ahmadu Fintiri (PDP), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) – secured re-election, while seven others are first-term governors: Kefas Agbu (Taraba), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Siminialayi Fubara (Rivers) and Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta).
Abba Kabir of the NNPP unseated the APC in Kano State, while Alex Otti won Abia for Labour Party.
APC has 20 governors to PDP’s 13. APGA, LP, and NNPP have one governor each.
The NGF chairman emerges from among governors of the majority party. First-termers are ineligible to vie for the chairmanship of the Forum.
Former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi is the immediate past Chairman of the forum, but the Sokoto state governor Aminu Tambuwal completed Fayemi’s tenure because his election was an off-season poll, and he completed it before May 29, 2023.
The former chairpersons of the forum include Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar (2015-2019), Chibuike Amaechi (2011-2015), Bukola Saraki (2007-2011), Lucky Igbinedion (2006-2007), Victor Attah (2004-2006) and Abdullahi Adamu (1999-2004).