In Nigeria currently, the business of politics appears to be one of the most attractive ‘professions’ in the land. This explains why you hear some politicians say they’re into politics full time, that they do not have any other business outside of politics. But there have been some families who have been into politics long before it became this attractive. For these families, it appears politics is in their DNA. Many have remained in the front burner of Nigeria’s political firmament even after the departure of their patriarchs. Their sons and daughters have taken after them from where they left off. And quite frankly, many of them have not done badly. City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) takes a look at some of these families whose political clout continues to rise by the day.
ALHAJI OLUSOLA SARAKI
He is the strong man of Kwara politics. He was Senator of the Federal Republic under the platform of the NPN. His children, Bukola and Gbemisola Saraki also took after him. While Bukola was governor of Kwara State for eight years before going on to become leaders of the Senate, just like his father, Gbemi too was appointed to the senate.
CHIEF RICHARD AKINJIDE
This legal luminary who was at a time Minister for Education and then later Minister for Justice also joined the National Party of Nigeria in 1978 and became the legal adviser for the party and he was later appointed the Minister for Justice. His daughter, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide had taken the footsteps of her father when she became the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the days of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Adegoke Adelabu was a prominent personality in the politics of Ibadan city and subsequently that of the Western Region Nigeria right before the country’s independence in 1960. He was Nigeria’s Minister of Natural Resources and Social Services from January 1955 to January 1956 and was later the opposition leader in the Western Regional Assembly until his death in 1958. One of his grandsons and former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Adebayo Adelabu secured the governorship ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State during the last governorship elections.
ASIWAJU BOLA TINUBU
Fondly called the Lion of Bourdillion, the national leader of the ruling party needs no introduction. He was a former two-term governor of Lagos state and one who is credited for the remarkable progress Lagos State has made today, especially with the quality of his anointed successors. While no known child of his has officially contested for any political position, many believe that the appointment of his daughter, Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, as the Iyalode General of Lagos State, is also strategic in galvanizing the support of thousands of market men and women in the state. It is a massive position to hold in Lagos. And right now, it’s being rumoured that his son, Seyi Tinubu is also being prepared for a significant role in politics.
FORMER PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo remains, perhaps, the most controversial but relevant political leader in Nigeria. Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, apart from serving two-terms as president, he had played prominent roles in making and unmaking Presidents. His daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, toed her father’s footsteps and emerged a Senator of the federal republic many years ago. She has since bowed out of politics.
ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED
He was former National Publicity Secretary of the APC before his appointment as Minister of Information and Culture. Alhaji Lai Mohammed is also regarded as one of the current political bigwigs from Kwara State who has the ears of both the President and that of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. His son, Folajimi is also a Lawmaker at the Lagos House of Assembly representing Ikeja Constituency 1.
He remains one of the political powerhouses of Oyo State at present. Alao Akala was former Governor of Oyo State and an accomplished Police Officer as well. His son, Olamiju Akala was also an aspirant at the last governorship elections. He joined the All Progressives Congress with his father at the time.
The Biafran warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu remains one of Igbos most respected personalities. He was the one person whose voice only the Igbos listened to while he was alive. He was an APGA leader till he died in 2011. His beautiful wife, diplomat, lawyer and businesswoman, Bianca tried to step into the shoes he left behind but she couldn’t even clinch APGAs ticket. Also, Emeka Ojukwu, one of the sons of the warlord, has since joined politics.
During Nigeria’s Third Republic, Shinkafi was one of the promoters of the Nigerian National Congress (NNC), a political association formed in 1989 after the disbanding of political groups by the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida-led military junta. The NNC later joined the defunct National Republic Convention (NRC). Today, Late Umarus Daughters, Hajiya Fatima Umaru Aliyu Shinkafi was appointed as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry by Governor Yari in 2015. She was later appointed Executive Secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund by President Muhammadu Buhari. His other daughter is Dr Zainab Atiku Bagudu, the first lady of Kebbi State, and also Hadiza Abdulaziz Yari, the wife of Zamfara governor, Abdulaziz Yari.
ALHAJI WAZIRI IBRAHIM
He was a wealthy businessman from Damaturu in Yobe State but ‘reigned’ in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. He was one of the founders and financiers of the defunct Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) and a presidential candidate of the Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP), a party that he formed and won approximately 10% of votes in the 1979 presidential election. Waziri left behind two wives and 15 children, and two followed his footsteps closely, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim, and her sister Aisha Waziri Ibrahim.
Khadija joined politics after she got married to Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a three-term governor of Yobe State, and now a serving Senator.
He is massively popular within Lagos political circles and beyond. He was a former senator of the federal republic, a former Minister of State for Defence and was also appointed as the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana. His son, Babajide Obanikoro is currently a member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Eti-Osa constituency.
CHIEF REM FANI-KAYODE
He was a great man. Chief Fani-Kayode was a lawyer and a leading politician. In July 1958, he successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence in the Federal House of Assembly in Lagos. In 1963, he was elected Deputy Premier of the old Western Region of Nigeria.under Chief Samuel Akintola on the platform of the Nigerian National Democratic Party. His son, an accomplished lawyer too was a former Minister of Aviation and was also appointed Minister of Culture and Tourism. He is also a PSD stalwart.
Chief MKO Abiola was at a time the richest black man in Africa. He was the acclaimed winner of the June 12 presidential election, an election that has remained the freest and fairest elections held in this part of the world. He contested on the platform of the SDP and won by a landslide. He was denied his mandate by the then military President, General Muhammadu Babangida. He died in detention on July 7, 1998. Interestingly, Chief Abiola had many wives and children, but only one of his children, Lola Abiola Edewor followed in her father’s footsteps, she was a former member of House of Representatives.
CHIEF JONATHAN ODEBIYI
Jonathan Odebiyi, was the minority leader in the second Republic Senate on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria. His son, Tolu Odebiyi previously served as permanent secretary in the office of Chief of Staff, Ogun State Governor’s office in 2006 before being appointed chief of staff by the Governor Ibikunle Amosun administration. His desire to run for senate in 2015 was suppressed by his political party. He initially decided to run for Governor of the state in the 2019 elections but stepped down.
ALHAJI RAFIU ISHOLA SOLOMON
He was a man that was regarded as powerful and influential with the political terrain. He was the Secretary of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo-led Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN. His son, Ganiyu Solomon is a top-notch politician hugely popular in Lagos state. He was a senator of the Federal; Republic, he represented Lagos West Senatorial District.
He was a top chieftain of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria and was former governor of Oyo State. His son Dapo Lam Adesina too joined the league of kids who are taking after their fathers as successful politicians. He officially became a politician several years ago and is a former Federal Lawmaker from Ibadan North East and South East Constituency.
CHIEF HENRY AJOMALE
He is a top chieftain of the APC. He was once a Diplomat posted to Nigeria’s permanent Mission to The UN, Geneva, Switzerland before he later came back home to join Politics. He and Asiwaju Tinubu started politics together. He rose to become the Chairman of the Lagos chapter of the APC. His son, Ladi Ajomale, is also a politician. He lost his Lagos House of Assembly bid in 2015 to Jude Emeka Idimogwu.
PRINCE JIMOH KAREEM- LAKA ORELOPE
He died at the age of 101 in December 2014. He was a politician of high repute and was regarded as the gentleman of politics in Lagos State. He was a progressive to the core. His daughter, Adejoke Orelope was former deputy governor of Lagos State and currently the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals.
CHIEF JAMES BOLA IGE
He was a brilliant lawyer who served as Federal Minister of Justice for Nigeria. He was one of Oyo State’s brightest minds and was a staunch top member of the Unity Party of Nigeria. His son, Muyiwa Ige also ventured into politics, he was the Commissioner for Lands, Urban Planning and Development in Osun State.
Baba Adefarati was one of Ondo State’s biggest politicians. He was former Governor of Ondo State from 1999 – 2003. His son, Gboyega, was Commissioner for Ministry of Agriculture in Ondo State.
ROBERT ADEYINKA ADEBAYO
This great Ondo State politician was a Nigerian Army Major General who served as governor of the now defunct Western State of Nigeria, 1966–1971. He was also Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Army and was Commandant of the Nigerian Defense Academy. His son, Chief Niyi Adebayo was the first Executive Governor of Ekiti State.
He was a Nigerian politician, who was the first minister of defence after independence. The son of a district head from Adamawa’s Balala district, he was educated early on at a Koranic School before proceeding to the middle school at Yola. In 1952, he was made Minister for Natural Resources as part of an indigenous Council of Ministers. In 1954, he was elected the second Vice-President of NPC and became literally, the third Northern Nigerian leader behind Ahmadu Bello, NPC’s president and Tafawa Balewa, NPC’s First Vice President. He was a federal Minister of Land, Mines and Power in 1954, and in 1959, he was Federal Minister of Land and Lagos Affairs. In 1960, he was appointed the Nigerian Minister of Defense. His son, Nuhu is the first chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and has been actively involved in politics since he left office.
CHIEF OLUSEGUN OSOBA
Chief Olusegun Osoba, a prominent and celebrated journalist, was elected on two occasions as Governor of Ogun State. First from January 1992 until November 1993 with the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was removed from office by Sani Abacha’s administration on 17 November 1993. In 1999, he was elected again as governor with the Alliance for Democracy Party (AD), holding office between May 1999 and May 2003. Osoba’s son, Olumide Osoba, won the House of Representatives seat for Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency in the state.
Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande is a former journalist who became governor of Lagos State in Nigeria from 1979 to 1983, and later was Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime. He has since retired from active service but has remained one of the icons of politics in Nigeria. His son, Deji Jakande cut his political teeth first, as personal assistant to the former Lagos State Governor and national leader of ACN, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. In the last elections, he contested for Somolu Federal Constituency on the platform of ACN and won.
ALHAJI SHEU SHAGARI
Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR was a Nigerian statesman who was the first democratically elected President of Nigeria, after the transfer of power by military head of state General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1979 giving rise to the Second Nigerian Republic. Barrister Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, his son, was appointed Nigerian Minister of Water Resources in a June 2001 reshuffle of the cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was later appointed President of the African Ministerial Council On Water (AMCOW). Shagari held office until January 2007 when he left to compete for Deputy Governor of Sokoto State. He was elected Deputy Governor of Sokoto State in April 2007, and after a legal challenge was reelected in May 2008.
ALHAJI ABDULGANIYU FOLORUNSHO ABDULRAZAQ
He was believed to be the first Lawyer from northern Nigeria. He first served as Nigeria’s ambassador Ivory Coast before he was appointed a Minister of State for Transport from 1964 to 1966 and became the Kwara State Commissioner of Finance, Health and Social Welfare from 1967 to 1972. The current governor of Kwara state, Goverrnor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is his son.
Yar’Adua was first a teacher and then became Lagos minister when Lagos Island and the capital territory was designated as the city of Lagos in 1963. He is the father of Umaru Musa Yar’adua, a former President of Nigeria who died while in office. His deputy at the time, Goodluck Jonathan, took over from him.
CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO
Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR, was a Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement, the First and Second Republics and the Civil War. The son of a Yoruba Farmer, he was one of the truly self-made men among his contemporaries in Nigeria. He founded the Action Group and later became Premier of the Western Region. One of his children, Wole Awolowo took after him in politics, although briefly. He won his first elective office in 1975 as a councilor representing Apapa in the then Lagos City Council. In 1979, he was elected UPN candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly to represent Apapa Constituency. He spent one term.
MUBASHIRU AKANBI OLATUNJI ABIRU
This family is fast becoming the biggest political dynasty in Lagos today. In the Second Republic under Lateef Jakande’s governorship, aristocratic Mubasiru Akanbi Olatunji Abiru from Ikorodu, led the way to emerge a Senator of the Federal Republic from Lagos East, after Adeyiga Ajayi from Agbowa on Epe Division. He moved on to become a high court judge during which period he headed an armed robbery and firearms tribunal before he passed on to immortality. His sons, Rotimi and Tokunboh, have taken off from where he left off. Rotimi Abdullateef, the fifth in the family, who is currently in his 4th term as ranking member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, picked up the political gauntlet from where his father left, with Abeeb Adewale pursuing law like his father until he was called to the Bench years back from where he was promoted to a judge of the Court of Appeal. The eldest of the Abirus, Akeem Gbolahan and the next in line, Kazeem Kayode also distinguished themselves in taxation and banking before retirement, trailed by the third in line, Mukail Adetokunbo Omoniyi who rose to the top in banking as the managing director of Polaris Bank from where he has just stepped down to pursue politics on a full-time basis. Sharing the same initials of M.A.O as their father, Tokunbo, having emerged the candidate of the APC to contest the senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, looks good to succeed late Senator Bayo ‘Pepper’ Osinowo and assume the Red Chamber seat vacated by his late father in 1983.