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Biggest losers in Nigerian politics [Pulse Picks 2020]

In politics, there are winners and there are losers.

And for a winner-takes-all environment like Nigerian politics, it is a big deal who ends up where.

Here is a list of Nigerian politicians for whom losing was especially hard to swallow in 2020.

1. Adams Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole started 2020 as the very combative national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but is ending the year with no discernible job, and buried away from the public glare.

Adams Oshiomhole (right) bet on the wrong horse with Osagie Ize-Iyamu (left) for the Edo governorship election [Twitter/@PastorIzeIyamu]
Adams Oshiomhole (right) bet on the wrong horse with Osagie Ize-Iyamu (left) for the Edo governorship election [Twitter/@PastorIzeIyamu]

The former Edo governor was doubly-humiliated in a short span of time in the middle of the year, humiliation that many believe has taken the wind out of his political dominance both in his backyard and on the national scene.

Oshiomhole was unceremoniously sacked as APC chairman in June on the strong recommendation of President Muhammadu Buhari who used to be a dependable ally.

His plan to save face with a victory for the party with the Edo governorship election in September also failed as his ally-turned-foe Godwin Obaseki defeated his ally-turned-foe-turned-ally Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Not much has been heard since from the usually chirpy former union leader.

2. Eyitayo Jegede

Eyitayo Jegede lost the 2016 Ondo governorship election to Rotimi Akeredolu, and achieved the unwanted streak of losing twice to the same person only four years apart.

Eyitayo Jegede has found himself in the same place he was four years ago, even if he is yet to concede defeat [Twitter/@TayoJegedeSAN]Eyitayo Jegede has found himself in the same place he was four years ago, even if he is yet to concede defeat [Twitter/@TayoJegedeSAN]

Jegede, as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was the biggest challenger to a governor whose administration had been plagued by accusations of neglect for the welfare of the people.

The former commissioner assured the electorate that he could do better than what the people of Ondo were getting with Akeredolu.

However, he fell short of the mark at the polls in October, a result he has failed to accept and already challenged in court.

3. Agboola Ajayi

Unlike most elections in Nigeria contested by two major candidates and other lesser known candidates, the Ondo governorship election was fiercely-contested by three.

Agboola Ajayi's party-hopping did not save him from defeat [PM News]Agboola Ajayi’s party-hopping did not save him from defeat [PM News]

Eying the governor’s seat while stuck behind Akeredolu as a deputy, Agboola Ajayi dumped the APC for the PDP hoping to win the party’s ticket to beat his current boss.

Weeks after losing the ticket to Jegede, the 52-year-old was on the move again as he defected to the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) to fulfill his ambition with an outsider’s chance and a prayer.

He unsurprisingly lost the election, finishing a distant third behind Akeredolu and Jegede.

4. David Lyon

Unlike most of the other politicians on this list, David Lyon actually won a governorship election, in 2019.

David Lyon's 2019 victory was dramatically overturned in 2020 [Twitter/@APCBayelsa]David Lyon’s 2019 victory was dramatically overturned in 2020 [Twitter/@APCBayelsa]

In fact, as a Bayelsa State governor-elect, Lyon announced to the public that he was awarded Nigeria’s best governor in 2019 despite not yet taking the oath of office.

Hours to his inauguration as governor in February 2020, his victory was dramatically overturned by the Supreme Court.

The apex court ruled that Lyon’s running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, had contested with forged credentials, and tainted the winning ticket.

Victory was handed on a platter to Lyon’s opponent, PDP’s Duoye Diri.

5. Babatunde Gbadamosi

Babatunde Gbadamosi is starting to acquire the tag of perennial loser after his string of bad luck at the polls, a trend that reared its head again in 2020.

Babatunde Gbadamosi's wait for a major elective office continues after another defeat in 2020 Babatunde Gbadamosi’s wait for a major elective office continues after another defeat in 2020

After two failed attempts to become Lagos governor on the platform of the PDP, the real estate developer joined the Action Democratic Party (ADP) to contest in the 2019 governorship election, one he lost woefully despite online support for his candidacy.

Gbadamosi returned to the PDP to consolidate on his newfound popularity and got the perfect opportunity to capitalise on it with a run for the vacant seat to represent the Lagos East Senatorial District.

However, Gbadamosi performed woefully again in the December 2020 bye-election as he was whitewashed by his opponent in an election that witnessed below 9% voter turnout.