Ahead of the 2011 polls, there is no gainsaying that some state governors are not sitting pretty. They are uncomfortable not because they desire so but some factors and politicians would not allow them rest. But that is expected considering that the game of politics is not a tea party especially in this clime.
As intrigues ahead of the next general election gather momentum, some governors who enjoy the confidence of majority of the voters in their states do not have any reason to lose sleep but it is not so with others who are obviously swimming in murky waters. But who are the governors with troubled empires?
Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State
He is one governor no one would envy. He is fighting in so many fronts. At home, he is embroiled in a firefight with his former deputy, Peremowei Ebebi. The embattled former deputy has already been literally sent to political Golgotha via an impeachment process by the State House of Assembly.
Sylva was fingered as the architect of Ebebi's plight and eventual downfall. Analysts believe that he may turn out a torn in the flesh of Sylva ahead of the race for a second term in office. Sylva is also said not to be enjoying the best of relationship with President Jonathan. Not a few believe that he was hesitant to support the former Bayelsa governor during the crisis of succession that trailed late President Umaru Yar'Adua's administration. The calculation is that this may be a payback time for Sylva.
Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of Lagos
There is no doubt that he is another embattled governor. He came into office riding on the crest of the popularity of the immediate past governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu. It did not take time before he fell out with the AC chieftain. Many believe that the attempts to investigate some financial dealings of Fashola's administration are some of the political strategies of his predecessor to frustrate his second term ambition. Some people argue that the investigation would be a precursor to his impeachment.
There are still fears that the powers that be in the AC might also deny him a second term ticket as he is seen in some party caucus as too stingy.
Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State
It is not contestable that Muazu is also not sitting pretty in Minna. He is facing a testy time from some party chieftains in the state. His predecessor, Abdulkadri Kure is said not to be happy with the manner he attempted to rubbish his administration. Babangida Aliyu raised a panel, which later indicted some people close to Kure and even handed the former governor himself a ban from holding public office. As the run-in to 2011 election approaches, Babangida Aliyu is not finding it rosy, as he still has to face the legal challenges mounted by Alhaji Bala Gunna, who happens to be a close aide of Kure.
Gunna is determined to reenact River States' Rotimi Amaechi scenario in Niger by asking the courts to declare that he, and not Babangida Aliyu, is the rightful person to be the state governor.
Ikedi Ohakim of Imo
He came to office on the platform of the Progressives People Alliance (PPA) but later decamped to the PDP. His alleged non-performance and the brash manner he steps on toes have made him a governor that is highly embattled. In the PDP circle, he is still seen as a stranger who came to reap where he did not sow while the PPA is also unhappy with him for dumping the platform after getting the governorship.
Many argue that operating in a shaky political foundation, he is likely to swim against the tide in the next governorship election in the state.
Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State
It is stating the obvious that another governor who is not enjoying himself in office is Alao-Akala. He is battling on two fronts. He has to contend with internal insurrection from members of his party who are desirous of collecting the machinery from him. The governor is equally not sitting pretty as the opposition is continually breathing down his neck for the 2011 ticket.
It is on record that in the history of the state, no governor has enjoyed the opportunity of a second term in office.
Jonah Jang of Plateau State
He has not known peace since he became governor of Plateau. He keeps rolling from crisis to crisis. The latest was the ethnic crisis that claimed the lives of over 500 people. Many people believe that the incessant pogroms in the state are the direct reaction of the people to Jang's failure to implement reports on past violent crisis in the state.
Jang, a retired Air Force officer, is also not in the good books of the PDP national hierarchy and the Presidency.
Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto
Many insist that he is a governor whose legs are truly shaky. Some political analysts say he is still in office by the grace of the Supreme Court who stopped the Court of Appeal from delivering a judgment on his eligibility to occupy the office. Wamakko is still haunted by that fact that his opponents are determined to oust him and they are waiting for him in 2011
Ibrahim Shema of Katsina
He is also an embattled governor. The handsome governor, who presides over affairs at the home state of former President Umaru Yar'Adua, is not sitting pretty. Shema is believed to have been foisted on the state PDP by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was to face the sticks but for the demise of Yar'Adua. Nevertheless, loyalists of the late Yar'Adua led by the former First Lady, Hajia Turai, are still baying for blood and see 2011 as the ideal time for their revenge.
He is a child of circumstance as he became the governor of Kaduna following the nomination of Namadi Sambo as the Vice President to Goodluck Jonathan. However, Yakowa, a Christian, is not having it rosy as some elements are not comfortable that a Christian is holding sway in the state. They are the ones making it difficult for him to appoint his cabinet and move forward all in an attempt to ensure that he did not position himself for 2011.
Martin Elechi of Ebonyi
The governor's patriarchal and serene outlook actually bellies the fire he is carrying in his bosom. The septuagenarian is facing harsh criticism from some people in his state especially from the camp of his predecessor and immediate past Minister of education, Dr Sam Egwu over alleged non-performance. This set of people believes that Elechi has not justified the mandate handed him in 2007 and should not be allowed to renew his stay in office come 2011; they believe he is too old to carry the state to the next level.
Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom
He is another incumbent governor whose tail is in the fire. Akpabio who got to power in 2007 on the behest of the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo started well and was cruising on at a speed never known in the development history of the state until the powers that be in Akwa Ibom decided to cut him to size. Although how he ran into troubled water still remains a mystery, it was learnt that his troubles stemmed from the discontent arising from the camp of his predecessor, Obong Victor Attah. According to information, Attah is said to be uncomfortable with the manner Akpabio is pressing on as if he did nothing while in office for eight years.
Attah was said to be unhappy that aides of Akpabio often derides his administration with many of them saying that he (Attah) did very little to assist the state in terms of development. Akpabio who is angling for a second bite at the governorship cherry is however having it very rough as certain entrenched forces in the state are bent on scuttling such plans.
Unconfirmed reports have it that the game plan of the anti-Akpabio group is to frustrate the governor out of the ruling PDP.
Theodore Ahamfule Orji of Abia is another governor to make the ignoble list of embattled incumbents. T.A Orji goes down in history as the only governor that is without a political platform as he is presently shopping for a party to operate in 2011 after he fell out with patrons of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA).
Orji, who won his election from the prisons in 2007, is perhaps the first sitting governor whose party will publicly denounce for non-performance. While others jealously protect their governors, the leadership of the PPA called a press conference to tell the governor that he should pay the backlog of workers' salary in his state; rehabilitate bad roads in his state as well as make up with some influential members of his party.
Dazed, the governor announced his exit from the party with a promise to unveil the name of his new party soon. Those knowledgeable with the provisions of the Electoral law and the 1999 constitution say T.A Orji momentarily ran foul of the laws of the land as no political office holder is allowed to be without a political party.