Trend: Governors who became ministers since 1999

FIFTY-EIGHT days into office, President Bola Tinubu submitted the names of ministerial nominees to the senate for screening. 

The list, containing 28 names, was submitted as part of the constitutional requirements by the president to forward ministerial nominees to the Senate not later than 60 days after taking the Oath of Office. 

The ICIR reported that while 25 per cent of the names are women, 11 out of 36 states are yet to have a ministerial nominee. 

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However, in what is gradually becoming a trend among previous presidents, Tinubu submitted the names of four past governors who severed two terms each as ministerial nominees. 

These governors are the former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike; the former governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi; the former governor of Kaduna state, Nasri El-Rufai; and the former governor of Jigawa state, Abubakar Badaru.

If these governors successfully pass the Senate’s screening, they would be assigned portfolios by the president as ministers, which, in turn, adds to their status as former governors.

Trends by previous presidents

Between 1999 and 2023, Nigeria has had four democratic presidents who appointed or intends to appoint former governors into their cabinet as ministers.

Governors/deputies who became ministers in Nigeria
Governors/deputies who became ministers in Nigeria

When former president, Muhammadu Buhari, was elected as president in 2015,  he appointed four former state governors as ministers. They are Chris Ngige (former governor of Anambra) as Minister of Labour and employment, Kayode Fayemi (former governor of Ekiti) as Minister of Solid Minerals, Rotimi Amaechi (former governor of Rivers) as Minister of Transportation and Babatunde Fashola (former governor of Lagos) as Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

In 2019, when Buhari was re-elected as president, he reshuffled the ministers to 44 names and  nine past governors and two deputy governors were appointed. 



    1. Rotimi Amaechi (former governor of Rivers State) as Minister of Transportation,
    2. Rauf Aregbesola (former governor of Osun State) as Minister of Interior,
    3. Babatunde Fashola (former governor of Lagos State) as Minister of Works and Housing,
    4. Richard Adeniyi Adebayo (former governor Ekiti State) as Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment,
    5. Ogbonnaya Onu (former governor Ebonyi State) as Minister of Science and Technology,
    6. George Akume (former governor Benue State) as Minister of Special Duties,
    7. Timipre Sylva (former governor Bayelsa State) as Minister of State for Petroleum,
    8. Chris Ngige (former governor Anambra State) as Minister Labour and Employment,
    9.  Godswill Akpabio (former governor Akwa Ibom State) as Minister of Niger Delta.
    10. Abubakar D. Aliyu (deputy governor of Yobe State) was appointed as Minister of State, Works and Housing,
    11. and Paulen Tallen (deputy governor of Plateau State) as Minister of Women Affairs.

    Meanwhile, under former president Goodluck Jonathan, in 2011, Olusola Obada was appointed as minister of state for defence. Before her appointment, she had served as the deputy governor of Osun state.

    Similarly, under the two-term tenure of former president Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007, Bola Ige (former governor of Oyo state) was appointed as minister for power and steel, Cornelius Adebayo (former governor of Kwara state) was appointed as the minister of communications, and Rabiu Kwankwaso (former governor of Kano) was appointed as minister of defence.

    However, the founder of Policy Shapers, Ebenezar Wikina, told The ICIR that the cabinet positions should not be used as an opportunity for political settlement but must be about competence. 

    He said, “It should be a space for seasoned Nigerians who are experts in their respective fields to advise and direct the administration’s goals towards implementation. One of the best cabinets we’ve had as a country is the group of Ministers who worked with President Obasanjo. You can see how all of them have continued to excel internationally for decades after serving as Ministers at AfDB, WTO, World Bank, etc.”

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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