Sequel to last week’s compilation of second-generation families who were successful at the National Assembly polls, Ivory Ukonu, ex-rays a few members of high society who were either seeking re-election into the National Assembly or tried to make their debut, as well the circumstances that led to their defeat.
Nnenna Elendu Ukeje
Contrary to expectation, Nnenna Ukeje will not be returning as a member of the 10th National Assembly in the House of Representatives. A former member of the lower chamber, Ukeje was seeking reelection for a fourth term after she was defeated in the 2019 general election, to represent the people of Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party. Nnenna is the daughter of late Captain Sunday Elendu-Ukeje, a decorated pilot with the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Airways. Her mother, Roseline Ukeje, a retired Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and the first female judge of the High Court of Nigeria is known for the role she played in giving former Abia State governor, Theodore Orji access to immunity against being probed for committing monumental fraud as the chief of staff to a former governor of the state, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu. Ukeje’s loss at the polls may not be unconnected to her lackadaisical attitude towards members of her constituency for the three terms she was in the house.
Months before the election, she was accused of not delivering the dividends of democracy to her constituency all through the 12 years she was a lawmaker. To further drive home their point, some disgruntled indigenes decided to take their grievances with her to a sickening level by setting her country home on fire. A huge setback, this unsettled her greatly and while many condemned the despicable act, their sympathy failed to speak for her at the polls as she scored a paltry 3,930 votes as against her Labour Party opponent who scored over 6,000 votes and her All Progressives Congress opponent who scored over 10,000 votes.
It doesn’t look like scoring a political success is on the horizon for Kogi State born politician, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan. First, she tried to run for senate to represent the people of Kogi Central Senatorial District on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 2019 but that didn’t happen. Then she set her eyes on occupying Kogi government house. That ambition didn’t sail either. And then in 2023, she tried again to run for senate on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Unfortunately, she lost to her closest rival, Abubakar Ohere of the All Progressives Congress, APC who secured 52,132 votes against Natasha’s 51,763 votes. She rejected the result and wrote to the electoral umpire alleging that the results were manipulated in favour of Ohere.
A close look at Natasha’s situation shows the influence of the state governor, Yahaya Bello, with whom she has been on a war path for a while, as being responsible for her strings of defeat. The most recent being the excavation of roads linking to her senatorial zone, a few days to the elections, in a bid to forestall transportation of electoral materials to her district. Bello however denied that was the reason for the road excavation, insisting that the excavations were done to prevent access by hoodlums who have made the route a thoroughfare for themselves.
A greenhorn on the political terrain, Kolapo Kola-Daisi, the son of Ibadan industrialist. Bashorun Kola Daisi and a son-in-law to the late Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi was embarrassingly defeated at the polls, his lofty plans and pedigree, notwithstanding. The former banker who left the banking halls for the murky waters of politics had hoped to actualise his political dream to represent the people of Oyo South senatorial district at the National Assembly. But that currently seems to be out of the equation. Although he was declared winner of the senatorial primary on the platform of All Progressives Congress, the primary was later cancelled on discovering that there was over voting by delegates. A re-run was scheduled and Sharafadeen Alli, a former secretary to the state government and chief of staff in the administration of former governor Rashidi Ladoja emerged winner.
Grieved by what he considered injustice against him, as the review of the result of the election was not done through the appropriate electoral appeal process in line with the constitution of APC and also in accordance with relevant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kolapo rejected the results and sought the intervention of the party leadership. When that wasn’t coming forth, he moved to Accord Party hoping he could get the much-needed sympathy he wanted. But the electorates were not swayed. His situation was further compounded ahead of the polls, by whisperings from some quarters about his time as the head of the treasury department in Heritage Bank.
Currently the minority leader representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, the younger brother of Tony Elumelu, the chairman of UBA Group, HEIRS Holdings, Transcorp, Tony Elumelu Foundation, HEIRS Oil and Gas, HEIRS Insurance etc, suffered a massive defeat at the polls. The three-term house member was trounced by Ngozi Okolie of the Labour Party who secured 53,879 votes against his 33,456 votes. His defeat could largely be attributed to the unhappiness of members of his constituency who accused him of refusing to deliver the dividends of democracy for 12 years. Although he rejected the election results, particularly those from Aniocha South and Oshimili South councils, alleging they were marred by irregularities, process manipulations, massive over-voting, voter intimidation, as well as other infractions, obviously nothing can be done to reverse the case as Okoli has already been given his certificate of return.
Just like Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party in Lagos State is riding on the popularity of Peter Obi and the ‘Obidient’ movement with hopes of occupying the seat of power in Alausa, Ike Iyiegbu aka Ike Cubana, the older brother to businessman and nightlife entrepreneur, Obinna Iyiegbu aka Obi Cubana, had hoped to ride on the waves of his brother’s popularity and acceptance to win a seat to represent Idemili North/South federal constituency on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. Unfortunately, his desire did not manifest at the polls.
A green horn, he must have thought that the massive love Nigerians have for his brother would automatically be transferred to him on election day by default, unknown to him that politics in Nigeria is far beyond popularity and one’s ability to unravel its intricacies is dependent on how deep one is willing to sink to actualise one’s ambition. Perhaps he should take a refresher course from Ndudi Elumelu, a former three term member who was trounced at the polls without any recourse to his background, influence or how long he has been in the lower chamber.
To say that Shina Peller was astounded he got trounced at the polls would be just putting it mildly. The king of nightlife and proprietor of Quilox Club is still reeling from the shock and realisation that he may no longer be a permanent fixture in the Federal Capital Territory. His woes began when he allegedly, subtly spoke against Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidential ambition. He had stated in an interview that the next president of Nigeria should not be chosen based on personality cult or subjective feelings but rather, on strong institutions rather than individuals. He said that the criteria should be set, leaving whoever meets the criteria to occupy the office. He further added that relying on personalities to save Nigeria was a mistake, as the country had made such a mistake at least twice. Well, not a few people were unimpressed about his views. Shina who is currently a lawmaker representing lseyin/ltesiwaju/ Kajola/lwajowa federal constituency of Oyo State decided not to run for a second term in other to keep to his promise of giving room to people of Kajola and Iwajowa Local Government Areas to produce a federal representative in the constituency. Instead, he decided to run for a seat in the senate to represent Oyo North Senatorial District on his party’s platform, All Progressives Congress, APC.
Unfortunately, the incumbent, Fatai Buhari trounced him in the primary. He garnered only five votes as against Buhari’s 570 votes. Shina accused the party of rigging the elections against him and even alleged an assassination attempt on his life. He would later resign from APC to berth at Accord Party and at the polls, he got trounced again. Livid, he slammed the electoral body for not conducting a credible election. But by the fourth day after his defeat, he caved in and congratulated Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was declared president-elect by the INEC and whom he earlier criticized.