The Rivers State political environment gets charged as the rivalry between former Governor of the state, Nyesom Wike and his estranged godson, Siminalayi Fubara intensifies.
On Friday, Wike, during an interview, opened up on the fight between him and his godson, stating that “let me tell you, I don’t like ingrates; I don’t like it.”
The former governor, who talked tough, signalled that the battle was yet to begin.
Both of them are not the first to engage in such a war of supremacy between a godfather and his political son.
However, DAILY POST reports that over the years, such fights between incumbent governors and godfathers always favoured the former.
Peter Obi vs Willie Obiano
Peter Obi and his successor, WIllie Obiano had a classic case of godfather/godson situation immediately after the election.
Obiano, who retired from Fidelity Bank, a bank that Obi has considerable interest in, had emerged as the candidate of APGA during the primary election in 2013. The party had earlier disqualified Oseloka Obaze.
Obi and Obiano were also schoolmates at the famous Christ the King College, CKC, Onitsha. Hence, it did not surprise many when Obi campaigned vigorously across the state for Obiano to succeed him.
However, the honeymoon period did not last for too long, as Obi left APGA and joined the PDP.
During the 2017 election, Obi had vowed to defeat his once godson.
“I will fight in this election aggressively. I will fight with the last drop of my blood. I will fight to win this election the way the PDP has not won any election before,” he said then.
However, Obi was defeated alongside the PDP candidate, Oseloka Obaze.
Akpabio vs Udom
In the buildup to the 2015 election, Godswill Akpabio, the then-governor of Akwa-Ibom State, single-handedly picked Emmanuel Udom as his successor in the state.
Like most political relationships, it did not last long, even though the two had stated that they would avoid banana peel which could cause a fight.
“What happens in Abuja that makes people to fight people in their states will not happen between Udom and I,” Akpabio said in 2017 during an event in Uyo.
One year later, the relationship between the two had deteriorated to the point that Akpabio had to leave the party and join the APC.
“I was shocked that Emmanuel whom I brought from Lagos and installed as a Governor even though he was not a member of the party on whose platform he stood for election and become Governor, could call a world press conference to insult me,” he said.
Udom won his re-election in 2019 and successfully transferred power to his preferred successor in 2023.
While Akpabio continued to enjoy national positions, as Minister and Senate President, however, he has not been able to regain control of the state.
Orji Uzor Kalu vs Theodore Orji
In 2007, Theodore Orji won his election as Governor of Abia State while he was in prison.
At the time of electioneering campaign, Orji was at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons in Lagos awaiting trial for multiple count charges of alleged money laundering, fraud and conspiracy.
Orji won the election on the platform of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), the party his then godfather, Orji Uzor Kalu was the presidential candidate.
Theodore Orji served as Chief of Staff to Kalu, and later succeeded him. However, like most political relationships, it did not last long before the two got into a bitter rivalry.
For 16 years, Theodore Orji’s political family held on until it was recently swept away by the Obidient tsunami.
Kalu on the other side has been trying to make a comeback in the state, however, he has been restrained to Abia North.
Chimaroke Nnamani vs Sullivan Chime
Prior to the 2007 general election, Barr Sullivan Chime, who was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Enugu State, was not considered by political observers as among the possible successors to the leader of the Ebeano political dynasty, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani.
However, Nnamani shocked all the political actors as he settled for Chime who he considered to be very quiet. However, as soon as Chime emerged governor after the election, his first decision was to ban the Ebeano group.
A battle between political father and son ensued, such that it was difficult for Nnamani to access the state even as a serving Senator. His bid to return to the senate in 2011 was also scuttled by Chime who threw up Senator Gilbert Nnaji.
The no love lost situation continued until Chime left office in 2015. Chime succeeded in installing Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi as his successor in 2015.
Kwankwaso vs Ganduje
Between 1999 to 2015, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Umar Ganduje were almost inseparable. In 2003, Ganduje was deputy to Kwankwaso, and when they lost the election, Kwankwaso was appointed the Minister of Defence by Olusegun Obasanjo, his deputy followed him to Abuja.
When Kwankwaso made a comeback in 2011, Ganduje was again the deputy.
Therefore, it came as no surprise in 2015 when Ganduje got the ticket of the APC. However, the fight between the two started immediately after the election.
According to Ganduje, his predecessor did not even attend his swearing-in ceremony. For years, the two have been engaging in a free-for-all fracas over the control of the political structure of the state.
In the course of the struggle, the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, who is believed to be loyal to Kwankwaso, lost his throne. And Kwankwaso was forced to leave the APC for his former ally.
Kwankwaso and his followers have regained control of the political structure in the state after winning the 2023 election. However, there is uncertainty over the NNPP due to the ongoing court case.
It would be recalled that the Election Petition Tribunal and the Appeal Court sacked Yusuf Abba of the NNPP and declared Nasir Gawuna of the APC as the winner of the governorship election.
Adams Oshiomhole vs Godwin Obaseki
Adams Oshiomhole championed a tough political fight to pave the way for Godwin Obaseki to succeed him as the governor of Edo State.
Obaseki had served under Oshiomhole as the Chairman of the Edo State Economic Team.
Despite the relationship, the battle between the two was fierce. Oshiomhole, who was the National Chairman of the APC had used his influence over the party to disqualify Obaseki during the APC primaries. However, Obaseki moved to the PDP and won re-election.
Oshiomhole also lost his national chairmanship during the struggle as his ward suspended him.
While Oshiomhole remains relevant in Edo North, Obaseki controls the political structure of the state.
During the APC tsunami of 2015, then-Governor Aliyu Wamakko backed Aminu Tambuwal as the Governor of Sokoto State.
Wamakko, who had earlier fought against Attahiru Bafarawa for the political structure of the state, had already set his sights on becoming the de facto godfather of the state.
However, Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, had other things in mind. After a bit of battle, the former Speaker moved back to the PDP.
During the 2019 election, Tambuwal won the election by a slim margin to serve a second term. However, his party, the PDP lost the governorship election in 2023, allowing Wamakko to retain control of the state.
Tinubu vs Ambode
In 2014, Akinwunmi Ambode got the nod of the godfather of Lagos politics, Bola Tinubu to contest the 2015 governorship election.
As of 2015, Mr Tinubu had expanded his political tentacle to the whole of South-west and national politics.
For about three years, everything seemed perfect between Tinubu and his godson. However, weeks before the primary election, the story changed for Ambode. His feeble attempt to fight back was overwhelmed by the superstructure in Lagos.
Ambode quietly exited the political stage after losing the primaries to Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The case of Lagos State presented a rare instance of when a godfather defeated an incumbent governor.
Imoke vs Ayade
Former Governor Liyel Imoke backed Ben Ayade during the primary election of 2014 against other governorship aspirants in the PDP.
Ayade, with the support of Imoke, became the governor of Cross Rivers State. However, in a similar twist, Ayade made efforts to expand his influence within the party and both fell out.
After years of tussle, Ayade left the PDP and joined the APC.
Akume vs Suswan
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume is believed to have played a major role in the election of everyone that has ever emerged as governor of Benue State since 2007.
Akume backed Gabriel Suswan to succeed him in 2007; however, the two had a fallout, forcing Akume out of the PDP to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
The SGF got his pound of flesh in 2015 when he supported Samuel Ortom.
It would be recalled that Ortom later defected from the APC but could not perfect his succession plan as Hyacinth Alia became governor in 2023.
James Ibori, an ex-convict, held control of the political structure of the state since 1999.
His grip on the state was stopped by a godson, Ifeanyi Okowa, after a long battle.
At the primary election in May 2022, Ibori backed David Edevbie while Okowa supported Sheriff Oborevwori, the then speaker of the Delta House of Assembly.
In the end, Okowa prevailed despite suffering an embarrassing defeat during the presidential election. The former Delta State governor was the running mate to Atiku Abubakar.