From 2003 to 2022: List of Strong Nigerian Politicians Who Defeated Incumbent Governors

From 2003 to 2022: List of Strong Nigerian Politicians Who Defeated Incumbent Governors

In Nigerian politics, defeating an incumbent political office holder (president, governor, or senator) is usually difficult.

However, some outstanding politicians have achieved this feat.

Ademola Adeleke/Nasir El-Rufai/Bukola Saraki/Rochas Okorcha/Politicians Who Defeated Incumbent Governors
Ademola Adeleke recently joined the group of strong Nigerian politicians who defeated incumbent governors at the polls. Photo credits: @AAdeleke_01, @bukolasaraki, @elrufai, @realRochas
Source: Twitter

President Muhammadu Buhari did it at the presidential level in 2015 when he defeated ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

At the governorship level, the latest to achieve the feat is Ademola Adeleke, the PDP governorship candidate who defeated Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the recently concluded election in Osun state.

Here is a list of strong politicians who achieved the rare feat of defeating incumbent governors.

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1. Ibrahim Shekarau

In 2003, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau contested in Kano under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and defeated Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who was in power under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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2. Bukola Saraki

Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki in 2003 won the governorship election in Kwara state after defeating Governor Mohammed Lawal who was the incumbent governor under the All Peoples Party (APP) at that time.

3. Ibrahim Idris

Ibrahim Idris of the PDP in 2023 defeated Governor Abubakar Audu of the ANPP in Kogi state.

4. Mohammed Danjuma Goje

Mohammed Danjuma Goje, under the PDP platform, defeated ANPP's Abubakar Hashidu and unseated him Gombe government house in 2003.

5. Olusegun Agagu

Olusegun Kokumo Agagu became governor of Ondo state in 2003 after defeating Adebayo Adefarati. Agagu contested on the platform of the PDP to unseat AD's Adefarati.

6. Olagunsoye Oyinlola

Also in 2003, PDP's Olagunsoye Oyinlola, defeated the incumbent governor and candidate of the AD, Bisi Akande, in Osun state.

7. Ayo Fayose

Ayo Fayose, with 220,906 votes, defeated Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the incumbent Ekiti state governor, Niyi Adebayo, who scored 169,191 votes.

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8. Rasheed Ladoja

Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja of Oyo state ruled in PDP from 2003 to 2006 after defeating the then incumbent governor, Lam Adesina.

9. Gbenga Daniel

In 2003, PDP's Otunba Gbenga Daniel defeated the defunct AD's Segun Osoba, who was then the governor of Ogun state.

10. Abdulaziz Yari

Despite defecting to the PDP from ANPP ahead of the 2011 elections, Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, the then incumbent Zamfara governor, lost the seat to Abdulaziz Yari, who was in the ANPP.

11. Tanko Al Makura

Tanko Al Makura of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) won the Nasarawa governorship election in 2011.

He defeated Aliyu Akwe Doma of the PDP, who was seeking re-election for a second term in office.

12. Nasir El-Rufai

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, who will finish his second term in 2023, unseated Ramalan Yero of the PDP in 2015.

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13. Rochas Okorocha

Ikedi Ohakim ruled for one term in Imo state because he was defeated in 2011 by Rochas Okorocha, who sought the governorship in the APGA party.

14. Yahaya Bello

The youthful Yahaya Bello became the governor of Kogi state as the APC defeated Idris Wada of the PDP. Bello inherited the victory of the late Abubakar Audu in the election.

15. Ahmadu Umar Fintiri

Jibrila Bindow, the APC candidate in the 2019 election and then incumbent governor of Adamawa state was defeated by PDP's Ahmadu Fintiri.

Bindow scored 336,386 votes while Fintiri scored 376,552 votes, leaving a margin of 40,166 between the two candidates.

16. Bala Mohammed

Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir of the PDP was declared the winner of the state’s 2019 gubernatorial election after defeating the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of the APC.

At the end of the keenly contested election, Abubakar, polled a total of 500,625 votes while the PDP candidate, Abdulkadir, polled a total of 515,113 votes.

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Abubakar was elected under the platform of the APC in 2015 and his re-election bid ended in 2019.

17. Ademola Adeleke

Senator Ademola Adeleke of the PDP is the last on this list. He got 403,371 votes in the recently conducted 2022 governorship election in Osun state to defeat the incumbent governor, Gboyega Oyetola who polled 375, 027 votes.


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