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The Most Influential Political Families In Nigeria

Posted by on January 15th, 2020


Nigeria is a country where politics is highly attractive and political players build empires that become platforms for their family members to actualise their own political ambitions.

Meet the 4 most influential political families in Nigeria history.

1. The Yar'adua Family, Katsina state

The Yar'adua family tops the list as it is the only family in Nigeria's political history to produce President and Vice President of Nigeria through Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'adua and General Shehu Musa Yar'adua respectively. It is also the only family in Nigeria to produce three ministers through Alhaji Musa Yar'adua (father), General Shehu Musa Yar'adua (son) and Mallam Murtala Yar'adua (grandson).

Alhaji Musa Yar'adua, the family patriarch, was appointed federal minister of Lagos during the first republic between 1960 and 1966.

His son, General Shehu Musa Yar'adua was chief of General Staff (Vice President) during the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo between February 1976 and September 1979. Prior to that office, he held cabinet (ministerial) position as minister of trade (1975-1976).

Umaru Musa Yar'adua, the younger brother of Shehu Yar'adua, was twice elected Governor of Katsina state; a position he held for eight years between 1999 and 2007. He became President of Nigeria in 2007 but couldn't live long enough to complete his four-year tenure; as he demised 3 years into his presidency, specifically, on May 10, 2010.

While Umaru Musa Yar'adua was president, his two daughters, Zainab and Nafisat got married to Governor Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi state and Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi state respectively (both are now ex-governors), and became first ladies of both states respectively.

Mallam Murtala Yar'adua, son of General Shehu Musa Yar'adua, was minister of state for defence during the early days of Dr Goodluck Jonathan's presidency between February 2010 and May 2011.

The Yar'adua's cousin, Aminu, served as secretary to Katsina state government between 2007 and 2010.

2. The Saraki Family, Kwara state

The Saraki family is the only family in Nigeria to produce a Governor, Senate President, Senate Leader and minister of the federal republic and is the only family in Nigeria to produce three senators.

Senator (Dr) Olusola Saraki, the patriarch of this family, was the Senator representing Kwara central and Senate leader between October 1979 and December 1983.

In 1999, his daughter, Gbemisola Saraki was elected a member of the federal house of representatives, and later became Senator representing Kwara central in 2003 until 2011. After the 2019 Presidential election, Gbemisola Saraki was nominated and appointed minister of the federal republic Nigeria, and given the portfolio of minister of state for transport.

Senator (Dr) Bukola Saraki, the son of Olusola Saraki, became Governor of Kwara state in 2003 and served in the capacity until 2011. From 2011 till 2019, he was the senator representing Kwara central senatorial district after succeeding his sister, Senator Gbemisola Saraki. He was also the president of the Senate between 2015 and 2019.

3. The Obasanjo Family, Ogun state

This family is the first and only family to produce a former military Vice President and former Head of State that later became President of Nigeria through Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Chief Obasanjo became Chief of General Staff (Vice President) between 1975 and 1976. He later became military Head of State from 1976 to 1979, and President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007.

His daughter, Iyabo Obasanjo, was appointed Commissioner in Ogun state by Governor Gbenga Daniel from 2003 to 2007, a senator between 2007 and 2011

4. Tinubu Family, Lagos state

The political family of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one that became a force to be reckoned with in Nigeria in the last twenty years. It is the only family in Lagos state to produce a former Governor and two senators.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was elected Senator representing Lagos west senatorial district in 1992 and remained Senator until 1993. He became Governor of Lagos state from 1999 to 2007. Since leaving office as Governor, he has established himself as a political heavyweight in Nigeria and is currently preparing to run for president in 2023.

Remi Tinubu, his wife, was elected Senator representing Lagos central in 2011 and has been holding the position till date.

Tinubu's son-inlaw, Dimeji Oyetunde Ojo was a member of House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015, while is sister-in-law Lola Akande, served as Member of Lagos State House of Assembly between 2007 and 2015. She was succeeded by Tinubu's nephew, Hon. Adedamola Kasumu, who still represents the constituency till date.

Governor Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of Osun state, is said to be a cousin of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (as Tinubu is originally from Osun state).

To cap this, Mrs Folasade Ojo, his daughter, is the Iyaloja of Lagos state (head of all markets in Lagos). She succeeded Tinubu's mother.

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