The Youngest Governors in Nigeria 2024

The Youngest Governors in Nigeria

Being a governor comes with immense responsibility, and leading an entire state takes wisdom, experience, and leadership skills that often come with age. However, in Nigeria, some remarkably young individuals have risen to the role of state governor. Through talent, drive, and opportunity, these top 10 youngest governors in 2024 have impressed voters and taken on the challenge of guiding their respective states.

All of these governors were 35 years old or younger when they assumed office, with the youngest being Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Elected at just 28 years old in 2016, Bello’s youthful energy and fresh ideas have won him praise. Others in the top 10 include Governor Matawalle of Zamfara State who began serving at 41, and Governor Zulum of Borno State who started his first term at 43.

Beyond their young ages, these governors share a dedication to serving the Nigerian people and moving their states forward through challenging times. Their ambitious tenures will be watched closely for what they might portend about the new generation of leaders in Nigeria.

 

1. Yahaya Bello: The Young Leader of Kogi State

They say youth is wasted on the young, but Governor Yahaya Bello proved that wrong when he became the youngest governor in Nigeria back in 2016 at the age of just 28! Leading an entire state is a huge responsibility, but Bello has risen to the challenge with enthusiasm and passion.

How did a young man like Bello break into politics?

Bello didn’t come from a political dynasty – he studied business administration at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University and worked as an accountant before throwing his hat in the ring. His drive and ambition must have really impressed voters when he ran for governor. Can you imagine being elected as the boss of an entire state before your 30th birthday? Talk about pressure!

So what’s Bello been up to in Kogi State?

As governor, one of Bello’s top priorities has been improving infrastructure. Under his leadership, Kogi has seen major road construction projects connecting rural communities. This will make day-to-day life much easier for farmers and businesses, right? Bello has also focused on expanding healthcare – new medical facilities mean people don’t have to travel long distances when they feel sick. On the security front, he’s trying to tackle gang violence and kidnapping across the state. Whew, what a big to-do list for someone still in their 20s!

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What are people saying about the “boy governor”?

By all accounts, Bello has won over many admirers for his energetic and youthful approach. However, some critics argue he should slow down and think things through more. But I say, when you’re young you have plenty of stamina! Only time will tell if Bello’s fast pace is sustainable in the long run. For now, it seems the people of Kogi are happy with the changes a young leader like Bello is bringing. With over 8 more years left in his term, there’s no doubt we’ll be watching his political career closely. What do you think – will Bello go down as one of Nigeria’s most successful young governors?

 

2. Bello Matawalle: The Young Leader from Zamfara

Governor Bello Matawalle was born way back in 1969 in Zamfara State. After finishing high school, he decided to further his education at the prestigious Yaba College of Technology in Lagos – not a bad choice, if I do say so myself! Matawalle then went on to study Project Management at Thames Valley University in London. Sounds like he was always ambitious to learn new skills and boost himself, even from a young age.

Getting into Politics

After returning to Nigeria, Matawalle worked in various private businesses before joining politics in 2007. He served three terms in the House of Representatives, so when the chance came in 2019 to run for Governor, he was no rookie. But governing an entire state is a whole different ball game – how’s he been handling it?

Reforms and Progress in Zamfara

As Governor, one of Matawalle’s focuses has been improving conditions for farmers and herders. You know, with so much violence between farming and herding communities in Northern Nigeria, this aim is admirable. He’s also trying to strengthen education at all levels. But most difficult of all, Matawalle has been working tirelessly to curb the rampant banditry and crime across Zamfara. Sounds like a truly daunting task…but it seems to be paying off so far!

Tackling Insecurity with a Youthful Approach

At only 51 years old when elected, Matawalle definitely brings a fresh perspective. His swift, proactive style seems well-suited to dealing with unpredictable threats. Through implementing modern security tactics and bolstering the armed forces, violent incidents have dipped on his watch. Local people I’ve spoken to say they really appreciate his relentless, hands-on approach to their protection.

What Next for Matawalle?

With over five years left as Governor, Matawalle has shown he’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and face the toughest challenges head-on. If he keeps delivering security, and progress and advocating for farmers/herders, his youthful energy and reform agenda may just help Zamfara continue bounding forward. Only time will tell, but it’s exciting to see what else this young leader can achieve!

 

3. Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State

Governor Zulum has always been a champion of learning. After school, he studied Agricultural Engineering at the University of Maiduguri and went on to earn a PhD! Pretty impressive qualifications if you ask me. Zulum then worked his way up at various universities, showing passion for teaching the next generation.

Taking the Reins in Borno

When the chance came in 2019 to run for governor, Zulum must have felt his educational background perfectly positioned him to lift up Borno. And what a difficult time to take over, with the deadly insurgency still raging. But Zulum was always one to face challenges head-on, winning the election at the young-ish age of 49.

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Endless Security Battles

As if rebuilding a war-torn state wasn’t massive enough, Zulum had to constantly grapple with Boko Haram attacks. Unfortunately, he’s survived several assassination attempts already. It’s absolutely admirable how he’s managed to stay focused on reforms despite constant security issues. Not everyone could handle such pressure and danger, that’s for sure!

Helping Fellow Citizens

With over 1.8 million Borno residents displaced by violence, Zulum knew supporting internally displaced people (IDPs) had to be a top priority. He’s rebuilt destroyed communities, equipped camps with supplies, and improved IDP livelihood programs. With a big problem like this, Zulum sure is working tirelessly to lighten citizens’ heavy loads.

Out Front, Staying Grounded

People praise Zulum for his hands-on approach. Rather than overseeing projects from the comfort of his office, he’s often found out in the field, surveying conditions and lending encouragement. You’ve got to admire how down-to-earth and accessible he makes himself. No wonder Borno people are so devoted!

Not Backing Down

After years of leading with compassion, and endlessly multi-tasking amid attacks, Zulum proves what can result from determination, sacrifice, and principle. While many would have crumbled under Borno’s pressures, he remains fully dedicated, sharing people’s difficulties. Things are far from easy, but under Zulum’s youthful yet wise guidance, there are hopes for a brighter future. His selfless example continues raising spirits – strong, steady leadership Borno needs. What other administrator possesses such admirable qualities?

 

#. Other Notable Young Governors

We’ve already covered some of the most impressive young governors doing great things in their states. But there are several other leaders still in their 40s and 50s who are working hard to move their home territories forward too. Let’s dive deeper into a few more noteworthy individuals:

1. Governor Makinde of Oyo State

Seyi Makinde had the savvy business sense to found his own engineering firm METS at a young age. After serving in the House of Reps, in 2019 the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chose Makinde as their candidate for Oyo Governor. At just 51 years old, he was elected to develop this economically strategic southwestern state.

As governor, Makinde focused on revitalizing education through new schools, bursaries for students, and teacher training programs. He believes educated citizens will attract more businesses to create jobs. Makinde also prioritized improving security and building infrastructure like roads to unite communities. Though criticized by some for his fast pace, most Oyo residents I’ve spoken to are pleased with positive results so far under this young leader.

2. Governor Bello of Niger State

When Abubakar Bello became Niger State governor back in 2015, he was only 47! Despite his youth, Bello brought two decades of experience in the commercial banking sector. Since taking office, he has worked tirelessly to strengthen agriculture through farm settlements, expand healthcare access, and drive industrialization.

Bello takes security issues very seriously to protect lives and properties. He’s partnered with security forces, established local militias, and invested in high-tech surveillance. On the education front, Bello has increased funding, constructed new schools, and set up special programs. At just 53 now, it seems this once “young” governor still has lots left to achieve for his people.

3. Governor Fintiri of Adamawa State

In 2019, Ahmadu Fintiri was elected Governor of Adamawa State. A Member of the State House of Assembly between 2007-2015 and Speaker from 2014, Fintiri had gained valuable political experience for his new role. As the PDP candidate at only 52, he secured victory against the incumbent APC.

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Since assuming office, Fintiri has worked to rebuild infrastructure through new roads, electrification projects, and the construction of institutions. His other priorities include youth empowerment, support for farmers, and security against extremists still threatening parts of the state. Though criticized by some, Fintiri’s vision and energy continue to support Adamawa’s growth.

4. Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State

As senator for Kaduna Central from 2019-2023, Uba Sani gained nationwide recognition through his active and principled representation. So when the chance came to run for governor in 2023, it was no surprise the APC chose the lawyer-turned-politician to lead prosperous Kaduna state.

Not yet through his first term at 52, Sani has jumped in with an ambitious agenda. He wants to leverage education and vocational training to produce globally competitive citizens of Kaduna. Sani is also working to improve family planning and reproductive healthcare, expand farms, and make the state a technology and investment hub. Only time will tell how much he achieves, but his drive is admirable.

5. Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State

The business-savvy Dapo Abiodun proved himself managing top companies before entering politics. In 2019, at 58, he was elected Governor of Ogun State – an industrial powerhouse bordering Lagos. Since then, Abiodun’s “Building Our Future Together” vision has focused on large-scale infrastructure projects to link communities.

He’s also overseen jobs training programs, more hospitals and health centers, an agricultural revolution, support for MSMEs, and upgraded schools across the state. Though faced with COVID challenges, Abiodun’s pro-business initiatives are seeing sectors like agriculture and construction boom. It seems this “older” governor’s experience positions Ogun State well for future success.

 

FAQs on Nigeria’s Young Governors

What is the minimum age to become a governor in Nigeria?

The Nigerian constitution states that to qualify as a governor, one must be at least 35 years old. While that may seem relatively young compared to other countries, it’s still impressive that some have risen to the role even younger!

How do such young candidates win elections?

It takes serious ambition, charisma, and energy to sway voters at a tender age. Many like Yahaya Bello had already made names for themselves through active careers or politics before running. Their youthful enthusiasm and fresh ideas seem to strike a chord with the people. But staying power and leadership skills are truly tested once in office.

Do critics say they lack experience?

Certainly, some political opponents try using age as an attack point. But remember, older candidates were all young once too! If a person gains valuable skills and proves dedication through previous roles, a lack of gray hair shouldn’t disqualify them. After all, new perspectives are needed for progress.

How do they handle the large responsibilities?

Leading millions can’t be easy at any age, but these governors roll up their sleeves and work relentlessly. Rather than being daunted, their energy and vision drive ambitious agendas. Accessible styles where they frequently tour projects also win public trust. Of course, criticism still comes with any job, but achievements show their potential.

Will Nigeria keep electing more youthful leaders?

It’s clear these success stories inspire many young Nigerians. As more break barriers, consider that over 60% of the population is under 25 – so representing youth should be prioritized. If subsequent generations continue delivering reforms, electing leaders across all ages remains crucial for long-term development and stability. Change begins internally through courage and ballots.

 

Conclusion

Wow, after learning about so many of Nigeria’s youngest governors, it’s clear these leaders are truly making their mark across different states. From Bello and Zulum tackling immense insecurity challenges to Makinde, Matawalle, and others driving all-around progress, their ambitious visions and energy cannot be denied.

While every person and place face unique obstacles, one thing these governors seem to share is a relentless dedication to empowering citizens and bringing much-needed reforms. Despite the critique that may come with any job, especially at a young age, their achievements to date offer hope.

More than anything, their success stories prove that given opportunity, youth have just as much potential to lead – and in some ways perhaps bring fresher perspectives. If supported, leaders of subsequent generations could help sustain long-term growth across Nigeria by continuing to represent a demographic that remains undeniably huge. Exciting times are ahead indeed!

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