7 Popular Nigerian Governors Under 60

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Nigeria’s political landscape has seen a shift in recent years with the emergence of young and dynamic leaders taking charge of various states. These governors under the age of 60 have not only brought a fresh perspective to governance but have also implemented innovative policies and initiatives to drive development and progress in their respective regions.

In this article from Naijassador, we will highlight 10 popular Nigerian governors who are under 60 years old and are making a significant impact on their states and the nation as a whole.

1. Ahmed Usman Ododo (Kogi State) – Age: 42

Ahmed Usman Ododo is a name gaining traction in Nigerian politics. Born in 1982, this young and ambitious leader currently serves as the Governor of Kogi State, having assumed office in 2024. Ododo’s background lies in finance. Before entering the political arena, he established himself as a respected accountant, working as the Auditor-General for Local Governments in Kogi State. This experience honed his skills in financial management and transparency, qualities valued by his constituents. Ododo’s rise to Governor reflects a growing trend of young, qualified leaders taking the helm in Nigeria. His focus on financial responsibility and commitment to public service positions him as an interesting figure to watch in the ever-evolving Nigerian political landscape.

2. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos State) – Age: 58

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, born in 1965, is the current Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic powerhouse. Before venturing into politics, he carved a successful career in the banking sector, rising to become a Managing Director. This experience likely informs his focus on infrastructural development and economic growth in Lagos. Elected in 2019, Sanwo-Olu has prioritized infrastructure projects like bridge construction and revamped transportation systems.

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He is also known for his commitment to education and tackling security challenges within the bustling metropolis. While his tenure hasn’t been without controversy, Sanwo-Olu remains a prominent figure in Nigerian politics, shaping the future of Lagos, a city with immense influence on the nation’s trajectory.

3. Seyi Makinde (Oyo State) – Age: 56

Seyi Makinde, born in 1967, is the current governor of Oyo State in Nigeria. An engineer and businessman by training, Makinde brings a unique blend of experience to the role.

Before entering politics, he founded a successful business in the oil and gas sector. This background positions him to understand the economic realities of the state. Elected in 2019, Governor Makinde is known for his focus on innovation and development. He has implemented initiatives to improve education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Oyo State.

Nicknamed “GSM” (derived from his initials), Makinde is a strong advocate for leveraging technology for good governance. His administration prioritizes e-governance solutions and citizen engagement. Despite challenges, Makinde’s commitment to progress and public service has marked him as a prominent figure in Nigerian politics.

4. Babagana Zulum (Borno State) – Age: 54

Professor Babagana Umara Zulum is the current Governor of Borno State, Nigeria, a region deeply affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. A scholar with a Ph.D. in Soil Conservation and Management, he served as Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement before his election in 2019. Governor Zulum has prioritized security and the fight against Boko Haram. He has also focused on rebuilding infrastructure and resettling displaced people.

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His approach emphasizes collaboration with the military, community engagement, and economic development initiatives. Despite facing assassination attempts, Zulum remains committed to leading Borno’s recovery. His dedication and resilience in the face of immense challenges have earned him respect within Nigeria.

5. Alex Otti (Abia State) – Age: 59

Alex Otti, a Nigerian economist and politician, currently serves as the Governor of Abia State. Before entering politics, Otti established a successful career in banking. He began in 1989 and rose to become Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc, a prominent Nigerian financial institution.

Otti leveraged his experience in finance to enter politics. Running on the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) platform, he secured the governorship of Abia State in 2023. His core mission focuses on revitalizing the state after what he considers a period of misrule. Otti prioritizes economic development and shared prosperity for Abia’s citizens. In his short tenure, Otti has already implemented initiatives such as approving bursaries for law students and securing a loan facility from the Islamic Development Bank. These actions highlight his commitment to education and infrastructural development in Abia State.

6. Uba Sani (Kaduna State) – Age: 53 years

Uba Sani, a mechanical engineer by training and politician by experience, is the current governor of Kaduna State, having assumed office in May 2023. Before his governorship, Sani served as a Senator representing Kaduna Central. Sani’s background in engineering and public service positions him well to tackle Kaduna’s infrastructure and development needs. He is known for his advocacy for democratic values and his commitment to public service.

One of Sani’s key focuses is empowering the youth. Through his Uba Sani Foundation, he supports entrepreneurship and skills acquisition programs, aiming to create economic opportunities for young people in the state. As Kaduna navigates its future, Uba Sani brings a blend of technical expertise, political experience, and a focus on social development.

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7. Hyacinth Alia (Benue State) – Age: 57

Hyacinth Alia’s journey is an uncommon one. Ordained a Catholic priest in 1990, he served the church for over three decades before venturing into politics. In May 2022, he was suspended from his priestly duties after declaring his candidacy for Governor of Benue State. Alia’s decision to enter politics was met with controversy.

The Catholic Church prohibits clergy from participating in partisan politics. However, Alia, citing a desire to improve the lives of Benue citizens, pressed on. His political gamble paid off. In March 2023, Alia emerged victorious in the gubernatorial election, becoming the second Catholic priest to be elected governor in Nigeria’s history. Since taking office in May 2023, Alia praised for his administrative skills and social programs, has focused on tackling security concerns and boosting the state’s economy.

Conclusion

The emergence of young and dynamic governors in Nigeria has brought a wave of optimism and progress to various states across the country. From implementing innovative policies to driving economic development and improving social welfare, these governors under 60 have demonstrated a commitment to creating positive change in their respective regions. As they continue to lead with vision and determination, they serve as role models for the next generation of leaders in Nigerian politics.

Written by Sarah Aboje

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