Ribadu, Agbaje… five politicians who switched political parties but still lost elections

The resignation of Abubakar Atiku, former Vice President of Nigeria, from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday came as little surprise to many Nigerians who were already in tune with his recent body language.

Also, Atiku’s statement that he was taking some time off to ponder on his future, is barely believable given that he has never hidden his ambition to one day be Nigeria’s President.

This is not his first time of dumping a ruling party and joining an opposition party in a bid to actualise his presidential ambition. He is also not the first politician to decamp from a ruling party in pursuit of “greener pastures”.

But how many of them have won the elections for which they dumped their original parties?

ATIKU, 2006 AND 2014

In 2006, just before the expiration of his tenure with President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku, sensing that he did not have Obasanjo’s support to run for the presidency, decamped from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

He contested the 2007 general election but lost to late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

Atiku returned to the PDP in 2009 but could not clinch the party’s presidential ticket for 2011. Therefore, he again announced his defection from the PDP to the then newly formed APC, citing, among other things, the “impunity that had become part of PDP’s DNA”.

“I have decided to cast my lot with the APC, a party of change, committed to the improvement of the lives of our people and to the continued existence and development of Nigeria as one indivisible country,” Atiku stated at the time.

“This is the right decision.  As in 2006, it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and decision.  Let me emphasise that this is not about me.”

Familiar line! Whatever party Atiku joins next, expect him to say it’s about the people!


Jimi Agbaje was a member of the ACN in Lagos State until 2007 when it became obvious that then Governor Bola Tinubu had “anointed” Babatunde Fashola to succeed him.

In protest, Agbaje defected to the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA), perhaps having seen that Musiliu Obanikoro, who was contesting the same election on the platform of the PDP, was too strong a candidate to dislodge.

However, both Agbaje and Obanikoro lost the election to Fashola, who went on to serve two tenures and is now Minister of Works, Power and Housing.

Agbaje tried his luck again in 2015, this time under the PDP, having defeated Obanikoro in the primaries, but again, he lost to Akinwumi Ambode of the APC.


In 2013, Ifeanyi Ubah, an oil magnate-turned-politician who had never hidden his ambition to be Governor of Anambra State, left the PDP, the the ruling party at the centre at the time, to the Labour Party.

Ubah had announced his intention to run for the governorship seat under the PDP, but he lost out the primary to Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Dissatisfied over the “irregularities that characterised the primary election”, Ubah left for the Labour Party.

“I have made consultations before deciding to join Labour Party. After the consultations, I came to the conclusion that the only party that has human beings as their symbols is only LP while others are represented by inanimate objects,” Ubah said while announcing his defection.

But hardly had Ubah lost the election to Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) than he returned to the PDP where he campaigned vigorously for the party in the 2015 general election which, incidentally, the party lost.


Like Atiku, Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), also ditched the APC for the PDP in 2014 to run for the governorship position in Adamawa State.

Ribadu was the presidential candidate of the ACN in 2011 and he was considered one of the candidates to contest for the presidency under the APC in 2015.

However, following the impeachment of Murtala Nyako as Governor by the Adamawa State Assembly, Adamu Muazu, former PDP National Chairman, persuaded Ribadu to join the party and contest for the vacant governorship post.

Ribadu accepted the offer and decamped, but he lost the election to Umar Fintiri who was Nyako’s deputy at the time.

Ribadu would again decamp from the PDP to APC in July 2016.




    It is no secret that Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation and former Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), is a loyalist of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

    But when it became obvious that his loyalty to Jonathan may not count for much in securing the PDP governorship ticket, Chidoka decamped to the lesser known United Peoples Party (UPP) on which he contested and lost the just concluded Anambra governorship election.

    To put the story in better prospective, Chidoka’s younger brother, Ikenna, is currently a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP!

    The act of political jumpology  is not a new phenomena in Nigeria, that is why many Nigerians are convinced that Atiku’s next port of call, whenever he finishes pondering on his future, will be the PDP.

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